1) Instant friends
I found the first few days, okay the first few weeks, of being in Manchester a little intimidating. It was a new city, I could barely understand the accent and I wasn’t quite sure what I had gotten myself into. Having a house full of fellow international students to explore with allowed me to relax and make the most of my induction week.
2) Great opportunity to learn about other cultures
In my housing arrangement I’m living in a house with 10 other international students from all over Europe. Everyone is pretty eager to talk about their home country and even eight months into my stay I’m still learning a lot about all my housemates and their cultures. Every couple months we try and get all 11 of us together and have an international dinner. Everyone makes a dish from his or her home country and it’s a chance to try something you might not have otherwise had a chance to.
3) New Skills
Being able to budget myself was something I had to learn once I came to England. Traveling while doing my studies abroad has been important to me from the start of my time here so learning to scope out good deals on flights and having to pay my own rent has taught me how to prioritize my spending habits. Having never lived away from home I was in for a bit of a reality check when I came over. I got tired of pasta real quick and so learning at least some basic cooking skills was necessary. I’m sure the ability to stack my spot in the fridge with a weeks worth of groceries will come in handy in the future as well.
4) Never Boring
In my student village there are over 1000 other students. So whether your friends live in the house next door or just down the hall there is always something going on. From movie nights to cards games, everyone is just looking to meet new people and make the most out of their experience.
5) You learn how to cooperate….Whether you want to or not.
With 11 people and two showers life isn’t always easy. We all have our favourite shower and when we all want to get ready for our modules patience is key, and sometimes so is a tuque (to cover up the fact you didn’t have time to wash your hair). Our kitchen isn’t quite what one would imagine for 11 people but we make it work – survival of the fittest -as in if you can get to the cooker during peak hours congratulations! You’ve earned the opportunity to cook your meal at a decent hour.
6) Travel Guides
Manchester has a great airport and so I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel a bit while I’m on my stay. Having friends and housemates from all over Europe has given me the opportunity to get travel advice by some of the locals who also happen to be my housemates.
7) A Chance to Test New Things
Everyone in my house has pretty different taste and so when supper time comes around it’s pretty interesting to see what each other has made. Before coming to the UK I had never heard of anyone having ketchup on their pasta, but then my housemates had never tried PB&J sandwiches.
I’ve also been dragged by some of my housemates to gigs by bands I’d never even heard of. Although it took some time, my taste in music has expanded and some of my best stories have come from going to gigs by bands I didn’t know of until now!
8) You’re close to the University
The more obvious point in living in student housing is that it’s pretty convenient to live so close to your university. There’s a lot of perks in living in student housing as in a discount or free access to the sports centre and Salford University has a free bus for students, that goes to the grocery store and all around the campus.
9) Everyone’s Together
My student village made an effort to place most of the international students among each other. Living with and around so many people going through the same highs and lows is incredibly comforting. We are there for each other when one of us, or all of us, are feeling homesick and we are there when someone wants to do the cheesy tourist traps that are way overpriced but you’d kick yourself later for missing out on. Most importantly we all understand that this is a once in a lifetime experience and we want to make the most of it.
Written by: Sarah Bingham-Hall, a TRU student who studied abroad at The University of Salford in Manchester, England.