Life as an Exchange Student

Hello from lovely Manchester. Currently lovely because it does not look like it’s going to rain today – the definition of a good day in Manchester. I am a 3L student at UBC but at the moment I am on exchange to the University of Manchester for first semester and I thought I would share how the experience has been thus far.

In a word, amazing. To be fair, classes started on September 26th, so I have only been in school for about three weeks…but on the bright side, classes started on September 26th, so I have only been in school for about three weeks. The great thing about doing an exchange through Go Global, whether you’re a law student or any other student at UBC is that you have the privilege of experiencing an international education without paying the international fees. So far, the professors have been great, the classes are interesting and I am studying with a large international class, I was told in orientation that approximately 1 out of 4 students are international. My flatmates (roommates) are also international students, one from Nigeria and the other from Indonesia, I am therefore constantly learning something new about places I have yet to travel to.

Speaking of travel, Manchester has one of the main airports in the UK and is central enough to facilitate easy travel. I have already been to Italy and Edinburgh and have booked trips to Prague, Barcelona and Dublin. Jealous? You should be.

Back to the educational part of this trip, the reason I am here, of course. A full course load is three classes and I only spend about 7 hours a week in lecture. The rest of the time is in seminars or the library, a seminar here would be similar to a tutorial session back home. There is a fair amount of independent study and a heavy load of reading. Manchester is one of the few universities in the UK which allows for fall assessment instead of requiring exchange students to return in January to write the exams. Therefore, I am writing major term papers for all three of my classes which will be based on a question assigned by the professors.

The most interesting class that I am taking would be Counter Terrorism. We have weekly seminars which are essentially hour long debates on the readings and we are pre-assigned which side to take. It definitely forces the students to come up with arguments that might be against their personal beliefs and so far the debates have been extremely interesting. There are no marks allocated to the seminar and so the environment is relaxed but students still take the time to come prepared with arguments.

Manchester itself is a great city, very vibrant and young because of the University and always has something going on. But if you think you can handle the rain just because you’re from Vancouver, think again. There are days of rain here where the rain pours down in buckets and the wind whips it at you from all angles, making an umbrella utterly useless and this is a normal rainy day. I have also heard predictions of snow for the end of October…so that should be fun. Although, my flatmate from Indonesia has never seen snow before and is ridiculously excited for the first snow fall, seeing it from her point of view will be a pretty amazing thing.

Till next time, cheers love!

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