By Jack Post, Foster Undergraduate who participated in an exchange with the University of Manchester in Manchester, England
My experience in Manchester, England was largely categorized by amazing new friends, travel, and football (soccer). From the moment I moved into the two story flat with eight other male roommates I knew I was in for an experience. My flat mates were from all over the world, including Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and of course, England. The rowdy bunch of football loving jokesters ended up being some of the closest friends I have ever made. Of course, living in close proximity to someone always helps, but I found the people I met in Manchester were generally extremely friendly and enjoyable. This set the perfect base for enjoying my time in Europe to the fullest.
Not to say I didn’t love England, but I wanted to take every advantage of travel I could while being in Europe. For this reason, I did my best to see as much as possible. Somehow I managed to miss London, but I did get to see Dublin, Vienna, Porto, Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Copenhagen. This was in the 10 weeks I was there, so it sure felt busy. While my weekends were very busy traveling, I loved this experience. I got to see many cities I had heard talk of my whole life, but never really expected to see for myself. When I left for Europe, I never expected to travel much, in fact the only two places I was planning on visiting were London and Iceland. Guess neither of those panned out, but I didn’t mind; I have an excuse to go back!
I did not know much about Manchester, but I did know they loved football. Who doesn’t know about Manchester United? Even Manchester City has been performing while in the last couple years. I have played “soccer” my whole life, but I never really followed the any of the European Leagues. One of my goals for my time in England was to get a better sense of the league and the players in the English Premier League. Fortunately, my flat mates were slightly obsessed with the EPL, so it was easy to pick up on things. I learned all about the EPL and even got to go to a Man U game (I went to a Barcelona game while traveling Spain as well)! In addition to becoming more knowledgeable, I wanted to play more football while I was there and found
this to be an awesome way to bond with current friends and make new friends.
This brief little summary of my time in England and Europe only touches on a couple things that made the experience incredibly unique and rewarding, but I really did not have any complaints about anything while I was there. The entire experiencing was life-changing and I would recommend this program for anyone looking to be surrounded by great people, while also being in Europe.
My major advice: take advantage of every opportunity provided to you. Say “no” as little as possible and don’t be afraid of trying something new. While it may be a little nerve-wrecking to travel internationally, it will be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.