Hi dear NUTSies,
I was asked a while ago to write something about my experience as an exchange student in Manchester for NUTS. First and foremost, I must say that I am still very happy that I decided to go on an exchange abroad. It is so amazing to have a second home besides Groningen, to meet new people, and to experience what it’s like to study in England. There are some downsides of course, such as missing friends and family, and, in my case, my boyfriend. Luckily there are things such as Whatsapp, Skype, and Facetime, which make life so much easier.
In the first weeks, or even months, it was like starting all over: finding new friends, meeting loads of people, and trying to find your place in this new city. How long this takes depends on your personality (and your luck with regards to flatmates); for me it took a few months. As I’m writing this, I couldn’t be happier with the people I’ve got and the life I’ve built up in Manchester. Even though it can be very strange to have two places to call home, and two places with friends you do not want to miss, it is totally worth it. Right now, I am quite certain that I’m going to return to Manchester quite often to visit both my friends and the city I’ve grown so attached to.
Of course, studying abroad also made me use English language constantly and it made me way more proficient in the colloquial sense. I’ve taken up quite a lot of Northern things, even though I arrived here with the most American accent ever (I haven’t lost that completely, my accent just confuses most people I meet right now). For example, I say typical Northern words, you might even say slang, such as ‘mint’ and ‘proper’. I’ve also gotten used to shopkeepers calling me ‘love’. I’ve learned about the rivalry between the north and the south of England, about football; I’ve seen many places in England and will hopefully visit more before I leave. Most of all, I’ve had the experience of a lifetime.
You do have to be ready to go through all kinds of emotional whirlwinds when going on an exchange abroad. You will have to leave everything and everyone behind in Groningen, in order to start over in a new place, and in either half a year or a year, you will have to leave everything behind in that new place. However, to me it was, and is, totally worth it and I’d recommend the experience to anyone.