Learning to Kick it Mancunian Style

By: Nathan Whitson, Foster Undergraduate

Studies at the University of Manchester (Manchester, England) have finally begun! My name is Nathan Whitson. I am currently a Senior at UW, my focus being finance. At this point, I have been in Manchester for a little over a week and have genuinely had the time of my life. The people are incredible, the city is gorgeous, and the University is bounds better than what I expected.

It seems appropriate to spend a bit of time highlighting differences I have been slowly adapting to. First off, the fact cars drive on the left side of the road may be the most dangerous thing I will come across during my time here. Every night out and even on casual strolls to the shops, it never fails to confuse me. I’ve continually told my flat mates that I will get hit by a car at some point (though lets hope not!) Another major difference is the bus and transit system. I have never been to a city that is so connected. People say the Oxford Road bus line from Uni to city center is the busiest in all of Europe. Not surprising, there are double deck buses at the stop every 2 minutes! Manchester has also done an exquisite job of altering modern architecture as to not overwhelm the older parts of the city. It really is beautiful. Finally, football; No, not the football we all cherish in the U.S. I am talking about ‘the beautiful game.’ Manchester is known as a Mecca in the football world, and not surprisingly, it is woven into the lives of almost all Mancunians. I was never a fan of ‘soccer’ as a child, though my views on the sport will surely change after attending both Manchester City and Manchester United matches this fall. You should be able to see who I support based off of their order in that sentence!

Another highlight of my time at the University of Manchester has been the people. Even after a week I see stark differences between them and most Americans. They know how to have loads of fun. The first week at Uni is called freshers week and it is absolutely bonkers. There aren’t many places in the U.S. (or any) where you have 4,000 college freshman literally descending into an area’s pubs and clubs. Every night is a massive party, for 8 days straight. Apart from the droves of partying students, it is easy to see Manchester is a boiling pot of different cultures. Just on the way to Uni I have to bus through what students call ‘The Curry Mile’, and Manchester has the largest Chinatown in the UK. The diversity doesn’t end there. The University of Manchester has 8,000 international students. That is 1 out of every 4 students at the University, awesome. This oddball group of students helps to drive the most fashionable culture and city I have ever seen. I really don’t want to imagine the shopping madness in London. Though, I will soon find out since it is only 2 hours away by rail!

Until next time,