So today is my last day in the Orientation office! My 8 week internship has flown by so quickly, and I’ve had so much fun. I just wanted to thank you all for taking the time to read my blog, and for all the kind words you’ve given me. I’ve never blogged properly before, so hearing your words of encouragement has made me determined to improve my writing skills! Who knows, I might even carry on with this blog…
My internship has mainly revolved around assisting in the preparations for Orientation Week – from giving our student ambassadors t-shirts to wear so that you can easily spot them at the airport, to creating posters and tickets for all of the fun events we’ve arranged. Of course, Orientation Week begins on Monday, as does your new beginnings. I know some of you are just hopping over the English Channel, from France, or Ireland, but there are also lots of you coming from the other side of the planet, from New Zealand, or Malaysia. Some of you will just be here for a semester, until December, whilst others will be here for 5 whole years. Some of you will speak English as a second language, whilst for others it will be your native language. However, you will all be going through the exact same experience – the nerves as your plane takes off, bound for Manchester, the jetlag and disorientation – having to get used to the weather, cars driving on a different side of the road to what you may be used to at home, and learning to adapt your ears to the dialects and accents which the people of the UK speak with. In addition to adapting to the culture shock, you will also experience similar things to all of our ‘Home’ students, who are from the UK, such as finding your way around campus, making friends, and getting used to university classes. You’ll never really be alone, then.
There will be times when you’ll get homesick, and times when you wonder if you’re capable of studying abroad. But then there will be so many amazing times, too. I remember a few years ago when I was sat in the library one Sunday, over the Christmas break, revising for my exams. The only other people in the library were about 5 Middle-Eastern students, and suddenly they screamed, and ran to the window. I wondered what they were doing, before realising that it had started snowing outside, and they had never seen snow before. It was pretty lovely seeing how excited they were over something which is so normal, so mundane for me :). In addition to the snow, you’ve got the joy of experiencing the few sunny days Manchester experiences each year. You can sit in the park, with your friends and some food, just sitting and sunbathing and feeling content with things. The sense of accomplishment of finding out that you got a good grade in a piece of work you found really difficult, or finding out that you’ve been selected for an internship, or a place on a study abroad programme to another country. There are so many things to look forward to, and they will outweigh all the niggling doubts or worries you may have in your head about your time studying at Manchester. Seriously though, Manchester is one of the best universities in the entire world, and tens of thousands of people apply to study here each year. However, it was you, who secured a place here, which proves that you are one of the most capable and intelligent people on the planet.
I genuinely hope that you will all make the most of your time here. Make friends, and try new things. There are so many opportunities for you. And there will always be somebody around who is willing to help you, from fellow classmates to your teachers. Of course, you can always reach out to me if you would like, as you have done for the past 8 weeks – I feel like I know some of you quite well by now, as a result of your comments on here and Facebook and it would be lovely to know how you are all getting on!
Don’t forget that I will be one of the ambassadors helping out on our City Bus Tours – we will go all around the city, taking in all of the sights and maybe even a football ground or two! During the first week of Orientation, we will also stop at The Lowry shopping centre for a bit of shopping. If you’d like to come along, pick up a free ticket from the Students Union when you arrive in Manchester. We will be running the tours most days, at 10am and 2pm, but please do check your What’s On Guide for actual times and dates. I’m really excited to help out with this, it’s a nice way to round of my summer of ‘Orienteering’ by seeing all of the work I’ve been involved in over the past few weeks put into action1
I hope to see some of you on the tours, and hope you all arrive in Manchester safely 🙂