Most of you have probably heard of Manchester in the UK. Most likely it’s because of the football team (ROONEEEEY), or you science folk might know it as the place where Rutherford split the atom; one girl even said she knew it as the bed linen store? That one was new to me. Well, putting my current admiration for Canberra on hold, why not escape the quiet life of the town (I mean city!) and try out Manchester for size? No matter who you are I can promise you it will fit, and here’s why.
It’s big. Very big. The biggest University in the UK! And very much like ANU it has a huge number of international students – 8,000 to be precise. This means there’s something on for everyone, whether you like markets, drinking tea, eating Pot Noodle on a bus… you name it. It’s a young, vibrant and affordable city, also “very much like Canberra”. I joke. Canberra is genuinely great, but speaking as a current exchange student there’s nothing more exciting than doing a semester abroad and getting a change of scene for a bit. Manchester offers semester or year-long options, depending on how adventurous you’re feeling.
If you’re into sports there’s the Old Trafford and SportCity, which has crazy good facilities. If you’re into music there’s big gigs on all the time, loads of really cool bars and other venues with smaller up and coming bands, or if you’re into the rave scene there’s the Warehouse Project or Albert Hall (a quick google will tell you more about these events). If you’re into food there’s many a café, pub, restaurant with some of my favourites in Fallowfield (the cheap student area), the Northern Quarter (for all the edgy kids) and Didsbury (if you have a bit of extra cash left over). There’s also the Curry Mile for when you’re peckish at 4 in the morning after one too many at one of the million clubs Manchester has – there’s literally one for every music taste imaginable. There’s also Canal street with all the Queer* clubs, and you’re guaranteed to just have the best night there. I myself am a theatre geek and, although we can’t offer the Sydney Opera House, we do have the Palace Theatre, Royal Exchange and Contact Theatre.
It’s also just great for studying. It has the largest University library in the country, great facilities, a society for just about everything and is associated with 25 Nobel prize winners. This gives us great ammo to slate Man Met students who rank lower than us in the University rankings (all in good humour of course!). So in keeping with this edition’s theme of exploration I urge you to apply for the exchange programme, and I highly recommend you to pick the University of Manchester as your first choice – it’s fun, it’s academic and it’s just a really great place. Do it!