I pretty much began this year by studying in Manchester for little over three months. Sometimes it feels like it never happened, as if that was another lifetime haha. But it did happen, and with the school year being around the corner (rip) I thought I’d share some wisdom in case you’re going to study abroad this year!
why do I look dead on the inside
✈️ Think carefully about what clothes to bring ✈️
If you’re going to a warmer country, or just during a warmer time, this is already so much easier because all your clothes are a lot thinner. Since I went at the start of January, I had to bring thick clothes, meaning I couldn’t bring too many clothes, or I wouldn’t have enough space left for all the other essentials. I chose clothes that I could easily match with each other and turn into different outfits so that I still had variety. I also brought lots of tights because they take up less space and are easy to wash on hand if necessary. Plus you don’t have to iron them! In the end I didn’t have to iron any of the clothes I brought, actually. The only thing I regretted was only bringing one jumper, so I ended up buying one because one really wasn’t enough! It’s okay though, I really love that jumper :P
✈️ Look at what your accommodation already has to offer ✈️
I honestly have no idea why I brought a travel iron when I knew my accommodation had one? In the end I didn’t even need to use it because none of my clothes were wrinkled after washing them lol
✈️ Bring old towels, bedding etc. so you can throw them away when you leave ✈️
This stuff took up so much of my suitcases’ space, and after some shopping over those three months… Well, they weren’t going to fit again lol. So thankfully I hadn’t gotten rid of my very old bedding yet and my mom still had some old towels, so I could just leave them behind. I wanted to give them to Goodwill and not just throw them away like that, but unfortunately they don’t take these things. Of course you can buy this stuff when you get there, but this way you can save money
✈️ Get vacuum bags! ✈️
You can get these for very low prices (at least I did) and they’re a blessing, honestly. I wouldn’t have been able to bring all my stuff with me if it weren’t for these. This way I could bring a pillow, my quilt, clothes and towels.
✈️ Look into bus passes and the like ✈️
I decided to get a bus pass for the entire Spring term, which covered most of the period I was in Manchester (minus the last two weeks) and it saved a lot of money, since I tended to take the bus a lot. I could easily walk into the city center from my accommodation, but it did take about half an hour and when you’re tired/not feeling well/the weather sucks well… That’s an obstacle lol. Plus I later found a great supermarket (Asda) which was kind of close to my accommodation, but walking there was a little bit too far and it wasn’t a nice route to walk, so considering I went there twice a week it was nice to be able to take the bus there. In the end it was cheaper for me to get a bus pass instead of buying a single ticket each time I got on the bus.
✈️ Make a bucket list! ✈️
Of course you don’t have to do this, but I was really happy I had already looked into all the things I wanted to see and do before I left and had an entire document ready, which included the opening times, prices etc. Of course you’ll always discover things you didn’t know about beforehand, which is great, but this way I was less likely to come back and find out I had missed something I would’ve loved to see. Of course you can make your bucket list while there as well, but I would recommend to do it at the start of your period abroad, because some things might be a bit time sensitive (for example Chinese New Year in Manchester – you can only see that once!) Similarly: look into what you can do for free! In the UK museums are free to enter, so I definitely took advantage of that.
✈️ Find a pound shop or something similar✈️
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been at the pound shop haha. Of course not everything is literally 1 pound (but a lot of things are! Or even cheaper than that) but it saved me a lot of money.
✈️ Can’t cook? ✈️
I was learning how to cook before I left, and one of my resolutions was to get better at it. Unfortunately, when I got there it turned out my housemates were… not the cleanest. At all. The kitchen was very gross and in my last week I found out it was even worse than I thought. Let’s just say I’m glad I gave up on cleaning the entire fridge because I got nauseous. My shelf was clean and all of my food was packaged, so it was safe.
So, the kitchen was gross and even though I tried to clean it, there wasn’t much of a point because I’d be gone for what felt like a few seconds and it already felt like I had never cleaned it. I hadn’t brought my own cooking utensils because that would’ve taken up too much space and weight, but seeing the state of that kitchen I really didn’t want to borrow any. I also didn’t buy any because I was too scared to actually cook in that kitchen. My best friend who stayed with me for a week in the beginning also told me not to cook, so I didn’t. Asda had great meals you could just put in the oven (I actually miss their enchiladas lol), I ate lots of fruit and Oxford Street was right around the corner of my accommodation, filled with lots of small, cheap restaurants (pizza for three euros for example). I survived that way for three months, but I am glad that I wasn’t there for much longer, because towards the end I was really getting sick of it haha
That’s all I can think of for now, but I might do a part two! I’m also planning to write a post about studying abroad when suffering from anxiety, so that will include some tips as well.
Are you going to study abroad this year or maybe at some point in the future? Where are you going? Have you already studied abroad, if so where and how was your experience? Let me know in the comments!