What to expect of Manchester and the UK

Part 1 – Shopping

Many of you guys reading this have probably never been to the UK or have been here only for a short amount of time; it is likely that you wouldn’t know what it’s really like to live here. For the next few posts, I will be talking about life in the UK and in particular Manchester.

Moving to a new country can be exciting, but at the same time, it can be incredibly daunting. I hope by writing this blog, I can fully prepare you for your student life in a strange country. When I first moved to Manchester two years ago, my first impression was that the city is big. Not London big, but BIG none the less. There are lots you can do here, I am sure you will not be disappointed when you arrive.

The first place you want to get used to is, of course, the campus. There will be campus tours given by our student ambassadors during welcome week. For more information, you can ask our student ambassadors when you arrive on campus during Welcome Week. If you are not keen on spending an hour walking around campus, then my advice is to have Google map (or whatever map app you like to use) ready and search for where your lecture rooms are for the first week or two. Slowly you will get used to it and can walk around campus blindfolded🙂.

You can read my previous post on our campus if you haven’t already!

Once you have settled in at your accommodation, you should start exploring Manchester and buy all the necessities you need for your new place.

What you should expect shopping in the UK? There are two main shopping districts in Manchester; both places will have everything you’d need and more. They are perfect for dates, meet up with friends and just hanging out in general as there are many entertainment options available in both places.

  • Trafford centre
    • This place is quite far away from our campus. You can reach here at the final stop of the “250” bus from Oxford road or the City centre takes about 30 minutes.
    • It is the third biggest shopping mall in the UK. This means you name it, you’ll find it here somewhere … eventually … if you don’t get lost.
    • The best gaming arcade in Manchester, Odeon cinema, and Sealife (aquarium) are all located here!
  • City centre
    • This is closer to our campus as it takes only 20 minutes of walk and 10 minutes on the bus(less if traffic is smooth) to get to.
    • Same as Trafford centre, everything you want can be found here.
    • Personally, I prefer the city centre over Trafford centre as it is closer to campus and the shops are more compacted.
    • Any bus on Oxford road towards the town centre direction will take you here.
    • China town is 5 minutes walk away where many of the Asian restaurants are located; this includes Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Korean, etc.
    • There are multiple Asian supermarkets where you can buy most of the things you can get back home (if you are from Asia of course).
    • There is this store on the upper floor of Arndale called “Clas Ohlson” (my favourite shop for reasons I do not know 😐), this place is where you can get all your necessities for your accommodation. They will have most of the things you need. Everything for your kitchen, your room and your bathroom can be found here so make sure to check it out!

The University and Manchester City Shoppers on Manchester's Market Street

Manchester City Centre

The last thing I want to touch on is grocery shopping. This is where I think most new students will struggle. Budgeting how much you can spend a week and following it through is surprisingly difficult (from an experienced budgeter with 90% fail rate 😐). I am not the best person to give you advice on how to budget and follow it through, but I do know all the good places you should shop at to get the most out of your money so here is a list(yes, More lists!)

  • Tesco
    • BThe biggest supermarket chain in the UK by market share and surprisingly, you will only see their small to medium-sized stores in Manchester.
    • One of its’ stores is conveniently located on Oxford road
    • The store is quite small (more like a convenient store) so you only have limited choices on what you can buy.
    • This place is also quite expensive compared to other options on this list so I’d suggest you try to buy your groceries elsewhere and only shop here when you are lazy to reach for the other stores.
  • Sainsbury’s
    • The second largest supermarket chain in the UK by market share.
    • They have one store located on Oxford road, and very close to all the major building on campus.
    • You are more likely to shop here as its’ location is too convenient.
    • Prices are similar to those of Tesco’s so I’d advise you to shop here only for your lunch when you are on campus.
  • Morrison’s
    • The fourth largest supermarket chain with a medium sized store located a few minutes walk from campus (next to a Sainsbury’s).
    • They have the best lunch meal deal here (it is my favourite!). If you want a quick and cheap lunch then come here! Downside it most of the food that is worth getting is cold. If you prefer hot food then there are plenty of places around campus for that too!
    • Morrison’s tops both of our two previous choices as it has a bigger store and cheaper price tags on many things. Shop here, guys!
  • Lidl
    • The seventh largest supermarket chain in the UK by market share.
    • A fairly large store is located at the end of Oxford Road
    • The style and layout of the store is a bit different to the traditional supermarkets like the 3 listed above
    • Has almost all you need at the lowest prize red all the other options on this list (I do most of my grocery shopping here).
    • A bakery with freshly baked bread, baguettes, pastries, etc.
    • Closer to most accommodations than the others
  • Aldi
    • Their store is located in the city centre so it is not as convenient compared to the other options listed above.
    • The style of Aldi is similar to Lidl’s with the small difference in prices for a few items.
    • if you shop here without looking at the sigh before you walk in, you’d think you are shopping at Lidl.

Once again thank you for reading and stay tuned for the next part😉😉. If you have any questions please leave a comment and they will be answered as quickly as possible!

Planning your trip to UoM

Hi everyone! Before you start reading today’s exciting post of planning your trip, please take note of this new WeChat mini program “Discover Manchester 探索曼城”. This page has all kinds of useful travel tips in Manchester and the UK, it is very useful and could potentially be your lifesaver when you arrive in Manchester(sorry for our non-Chinese readers as this page is only in Chinese😞).

Wechat

There are only 40 odd days left until you start your student life in Manchester. This means it is now time to start planning for your journey here. Some of you may be still waiting for your exam results to confirm your place with us, but that shouldn’t stop you from planning ahead (I hope to hear good news from you soon)!

Booking your flight and arriving

  • Manchester Airport is the third busiest airport in the UK serving around 100 airlines to over 200 destinations(so wherever you may be living in right now, you will be able to get here with ease!).
  • If you are arriving at the Manchester Airport between the 11 and 16 September 2018 (7am to 9pm), we will have plenty of student ambassadors at the airport to help and guide you to your destination (here is a link for more info).
  • We will also have airport pick up services between the 12 and 14 September. We will drop you off at you accommodation free of charge. This service is only available if you are living in university student halls. Sign up for airport pick up service here!
  • If you plan to arrive somewhere else in the UK (somewhere that is not Manchester airport), then click here for more information.

Packing up

With limited space provided by the airlines(here, I’ll assume you are given one large check-in bag and one small carry-on bag), you’d have to think carefully on what are the things you will actually need to put in your suitcase. I have put together a list of things you should consider bringing, use this list as a starting point and work out what you need to bring. As usual, if you have any questions or can’t decide whether to bring something or not, please leave a comment and I will try my best to help you.

For Twitter users, please take a picture of 5 things you are bringing to Manchester and post it with “#hellouom” to share it with your fellow students coming to Manchester.

  • Underwear – you’d want to bring two or three weeks’ worth. Ideally, you’d want to do your laundry once a week (twice at max), so the more you bring the less often you’ll have to do your laundry.
  • Socks – again, bring two weeks’ worth just in case you need more. They don’t take up much space anyway so bring them!
  • Bed Sheets/linens – one set only and you can buy another set when you arrive so you can switch around. Duvets are provided by the halls so you don’t need to bring it. If the ones provided by the halls aren’t what you want, then you can buy them as they aren’t expensive.
  • Toiletries
    • Toothbrush/toothpaste – they are small so bring them!
    • Makeup – try keeping it reasonable if you have a whole set.
    • Towel – I would suggest bringing one only and then buy another one when you arrive, you can bring two if you want of course but NO more than two, please.
    • Shampoo/body wash/conditioner – bring travel size packs only for your first day or two and then buy normal sized ones here. They are not expensive so don’t waste your luggage space on them!
    • Feminine products – one month’s worth.
    • Razors –  again, it’s small so squeeze it in somewhere
    • Nail clippers – many people often forget about this, bring it’s small!
    • Brush/comb – bring it, it’s small.
    • Deodorant –  you can bring it if you don’t it’s no big deal because you can find them at most places here
  • Coats/jackets – bring two or one if you are running out of space. Make sure it’s a thick one as it gets COLD here in the winter (and rains a lot so bring your waterproof ones!).
  • Flip flops – this is essential! If you live in halls, you’ll have a shared kitchen and/or shared bathrooms. The floors at public areas aren’t always clean so yeah, bring a pair. You can buy them here as well but I’d say bring a pair just in case you will be too busy during your first few days here.
  • Umbrella(it rains a lot here during the winter) – if you have space then squeeze it in, it is OK if you don’t, you can just buy it here. Make sure you get one before winter because you will need it!
  • Clothes – this is the last thing on the list because you’d want to pack your clothes at the end because this is probably going to take up all your spaces
    • Jumper (sweater) – This is essential as it’ll be cold even with heating on indoor so this thicker layer of clothing will keep you warm indoors.
    • Short sleeve/long sleeve shirts – this really depends on how much space you have and how much you want to bring to make your mind up!
    • Pants/skirts – again, it’s up to you.
    • Scarves and gloves – this will come in handy (hehe😉😉) in winter. You can also buy it here for cheap of course.
  • Shoes – bring a pair of good walking shoes because you will be doing lots of walking on campus
  • Extras – this is a sub-list of things you might have already thought about bringing, but I’ll include it just in case.
    • Adaptor – make sure you get a UK adaptor so you can charge your phone and laptop
    • Reusable water bottle – This is ESSENTIAL! Keeps you hydrated and use less plastic to save our world, one stone many birds.
    • Stationary – on average, a pen costs £0.30-£0.60 in the UK and a notebook will cost you 2 to 3 pound. If they are cheaper in your home country then stock up!

Once again, thank you for reading and please leave a comment below if you have any enquiries (ANY!).

 

Your beautiful campus

Hello everyone, I am back again with another post! Hope everyone had a great weekend.

I understand some of you may have never been to Manchester(thus have never seen our campus) before, so today we are going to get familiar with the buildings on our beautiful campus. As you are reading this, the campus is undergoing a heavy development with 1 billion(wow emoji) investment over the next ten years(click here if you want to learn more😃)

The University place

This is where you will need to go to collect your student ID, so I advise you to come here first and get your ID. The unique “Tin can” look will be very hard for you to miss.

TUOM, UNDER GRADUATE PROSPECTUS

Alan Gilbert Learning Common

Commonly known as the “The LC” or “Ali G”, you can study here, sleep here(no, am not joking), eat here, make friends here,… this place will consume you and eventually you will call this your second home. opens 24/7 too!

ali g.jpg

University of Manchester Library

The university has two libraries, one is in city centre which is about 30min walk away from campus, and the other is on campus by the LC.

Below is the campus library(it’s really big inside but it does run out of spaces during busy weeks such as the weeks before midterms and finals)

Campus winter - Library

Simon Building

You will likely have lectures here at some point so make sure you know what it looks like and where it is. The canteen in this building is one of the largest of any buildings on campus and also houses a PC cluster on the top floor of this building(This should be your go to place if both the library and LC is full as it’s just across the road from the LC).

IMG_3620.jpg

The Student Union Building (the S.U.)

This is the student union building, and the biggest students’ union in the UK, it will provide you with the space, resources and support to make the most of your time at University. Many societies will have their stands in this building to promote during welcome week so please make sure you come to this place(again, this is next to our glorious LC)!!

68_studentunion

This will be all the places I am introducing to you on this post, you will eventually get to know all the buildings by heart so don’t worry about the ones I didn’t mention here. If you want to learn more about all the different buildings on campus, there will be campus tours given by our student ambassadors during welcome week.

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions please leave a comment and I will try my best to help.

 

 

 

What to do when you have been accepted into your course?

So you have received your confirmation email saying that you have been accepted into the UoM (CONGRATULATIONS!!). There are still a few steps you need to take to finalise your spot here.

This will be a brief guide on what you need to do, but a more detailed guide is provided on our “get ready” and “arrival guide” booklet (please have a look, they are very useful!). Physical copies would have been sent to you as well.

If you are an EU based student (Germany, Italy, etc.), then this is your to-do list (non-EU students please scroll down!)

  • Activate your IT account(for more detail please refer to “get ready”, pg2)
    • you can do this when you receive your activation email from UoM(you should receive it around late August)
  • Register online(for more detail please refer to “arrival guide“, pg44 or “get ready”, pg3-5)
    • you can do this anytime between 1 Sept to 30 Sept
    • this will lead you to a fee payment page where you will pay your fee
    • late registration after 30 Sept will incur a £200 charge(put a reminder of this on your phone now!)
    • this is where you will pay your tuition fees.
  • Lookup student accommodations if you have not already applied.
    • you need to be quick as the spaces on popular halls go really quick. So Go Go Go!!
    • click here to do it!😉
    • the deadline is 31st August(You can still apply for accommodations after this date, but it will be unlikely for you to get your desired options)
    • there are many private student accommodations, these are accommodations owned by private companies.
    • anyone could be living with you in private halls, it could even be students from another university
    • private halls may be more expensive
    • you can apply for private accommodations here
    • when applying for private halls or private accommodation, please be aware that there are people out there that will post rooms/houses that don’t exist
    • so please make sure what you are applying is real and legit before making any payments

The to-do list for non-EU students consist an extra step, here it is

  • Activate your IT account(for more detail please refer to “get ready” pg2
    • you can do this when you receive your activation email from UoM(you should receive it around late August)
  • Register online(for more detail please refer to “arrival guide“, pg44 or “get ready”, pg3-5)
    • you can do this anytime between 1 Sept to 30 Sept
    • this will lead you to a fee payment page where you will pay your fee
    • late registration after 30 Sept will incur a £200 charge(put a reminder of this on your phone now!)
    • this is where you will pay your tuition fees.
  • If you have not started applying for your Tier 4 student visa, please start doing it as soon as possible
  • Lookup student accommodations if you have not already applied.
    • you need to be quick as the spaces on popular halls go really quick. So Go Go Go!!
    • click here to do it!😉
    • the deadline is 31st August(You can still apply for accommodations after this date, but it will be unlikely for you to get your desired options)
    • there are many private student accommodations, these are accommodations owned by private companies. 
    • anyone could be living with you in private halls, it could even be students from another university
    • private halls may be more expensive
    • you can apply for private accommodations here
    • when applying for private halls or private accommodation, please be aware that there are people out there that will post rooms/houses that don’t exist
    • so please make sure what you are applying is real and legit before making any payments

This is just a brief guide on what you need to do, so if you want to know more you can leave a comment below and I will try my best to help you or read the booklets I referenced above. Also, if you have yet to receive your exam results, I wish you good luck and I hope to see you soon in September!!

A small introduction

Hello!

My name is Jun, and I am the new summer intern for the Orientation Programme. Don’t know what the Orientation programme is about??? Well… if you are going to be a student of the University of Manchester (I will type UoM for short from now on🙂) and you don’t already live in the UK, then this is the right place for you! The goal of our programme is to give you the kick start you need for you upcoming and exciting student life at UoM.

The aim of this blog is to help you with any enquiries (Yes, ANYTHING!!!) you may have before coming to the UK. So please feel free to leave a comment with your questions and I will try my best to answer help you. By commenting, you are also helping those who might have the same questions as you  but are too afraid to ask. so you are also helping by asking!😉😉 There will also be regular updates here where I will talk about all the fun activities available in the UK and important information that you will need to know. So stay tuned.

If you have found this blog through the official university website, then please follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates of this blog and this programme. This will be extremely useful during Welcome Week as we will post live updates on what we are doing from the 13th Sept to 16th Sept(this is when the Orientation events will be held)!! Also, if you have a friend who is coming to study at UoM from abroad, then be the good friend you are and guide them right here.