My (almost) First Month in Manchester!

by - 01:49:00

Hey friends,

In about a couple of days I'd have been in Manchester for a month, started school for two weeks and basically been trying to survive alone from about a 14 hour flight away from where I would call home.

honestly I have no regrets flying all the way here with support from my family and friends but there are days where I really wish I was home with people that I love and in a place where I grew up with.

I've spent my entire life in Singapore and coming to an entirely new place is scary, very very scary. I've lost count of the number of times I cried from missing home, from reading the letters/videos/pictures that my friends sent me and basically every other lame thing that you can piece together. I'm not a cryer and I didn't know I could cry this much until I came here.

So anyway, that aside, I guess the purpose of this blog post is basically to share some of the things I've been through and for basically anyone who is curious about studying abroad. Disclaimer: These are all my personal thoughts and if there is anyone who is offended by anything, please know that it was unintentional and DO NOT take it to heart thanks :-)

1. Accents
Firstly I know there has been an ongoing fuss/worry/jokes about me having an English accent when I return and I would like to assure you guys - THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

I know there are some people that you might know/met that came back from studying abroad with an accent that sounds rather different from before they flew off into whichever country, it is (mostly) not an act or trying to sound like "oh listen to me i'm around so many cool people with accents now i have one too" let me try and explain.

Because you're in a totally new country like in my case I'm from Singapore and we have this cool singlish thing going on and we have our own "accent" or the way we speak but now that I'm in England, that doesn't exist.

No one will get it when I use words like "walao" or add a singlish word instead of a fullstop at the end of my sentence like "I'm so bored leh." NO ONE here gets it, well how do I know? Because I've tried it - multiple times. Putting my Singaporean/Malaysian friends aside, when I speak like how I usually do in Singapore, nobody gets me.

I've never heard the word "Pardon?" so many times in my entire life because of the way I speak and for the first time, it is not because I talk fast or because I use any Singlish. I have the tendency to talk really fast that I considered being a rapper before but seriously, it is because I have my "Singaporean Accent" and I'll have to tweak the way I speak for the locals here to understand me better.

I wouldn't put it in a way that I have an accent because if you do know me, I can't do accents for nuts - I can't fake an accent to save my life but I just have to enunciate my words slightly better and change certain intonations and all that. In other words, I just have to speak proper, proper English to be understood.

And being the only Asian Chinese in class, I tend to have to have to do that a lot to be able to communicate with my classmates and lecturers. And damn it was totally weird and I'm not going to lie when I tried saying "Cheers" to the bus driver rather than "Thanks" because everyone was using "Cheers" and I wanted to fit in better.

I've given this a lot of thought because I honestly got pretty annoyed at people who shoot down other people saying that they have a fake accent and all that especially back home. I've experienced it personally, witnessed it personally and it was not the prettiest thing. And I want to try and phrase this the best way to let people understand why is it that some people sound different when they come back from studying abroad.

That aside, I do not rule out the possibility that some people may put on an accent so that people will find them impressive/like them better. I mean come on, Ross had an English accent when he taught one of his classes and kept it because the kids liked it. (seriously, if you got my reference, we'd be best buds)

In a nut shell, what I'm saying is that - sometimes some people come back from studying abroad with an "accent" is because they have had to change the way they speak to the locals there because not everyone gets the way they originally speak. And overtime, they get used to that and somehow they just pick up certain accents.

It's just like how we sometimes do not get when someone else from another country speaks to us. It may sound perfectly fine to us because we grew up speaking like that but we've got to understand, the whole world doesn't grow up in our country and this is why we have so many countries, races, religions and what not - it's because we're all different!

And in case you're wondering, I still sound rather Singaporean when I speak to my friends/family back home - seriously just ask them when I call them and I do most definitely still use Singlish when I speak to my Singaporean friend here in Manchester.

So I guess you just have different ways of talking to certain people just like how there are just some people that you have to speak in another language to and it's not that they do not understand English, but you're just so used to it.

I hope that verbal vomit I just did isn't too confusing but again, what I'm trying to say is - whatever "accents" that company us when we come back from studying abroad is mostly because we're trying to get our peers/teachers/lady at the supermarket to understand us better and when we do that so much, we just pick up on it BUT seriously, I switch back to #totalsingaporean with I'm with a a fellow SG person.

2. School 1.0
I only have three days of classes and I wish I could say that it has made my life pretty chill but honestly it hasn't. Uni is definitely a lot more independent than when I was in Poly and I thought back then was already pretty independent. And because I'm taking a similar course to what I was doing back at Poly, I know some of the concepts and thought it'd be easier but to be honest, not really.

It's like learning similar things but about 3-4 levels harder than it was before? I mean yes obviously because I'm now in Uni and of course I'm expected to learn things of a higher difficulty level but I guess I'm just beyond thankful that I took up two internships before this.

Most of my classmates did not have a compulsory internship like I did when I was in Singapore and because I took on an extra one I kind of had more work experience and understood some concepts better (even though it has only been two weeks.)

But I still find it rather manageable aside from having to use pen and paper to write down notes because of that one lecture that I thought I didn't need my laptop - boy that was horrible.

Otherwise, I find work now still doable and somehow exciting because as much as I miss working, I miss school projects and all that.

3. Friends and School 1.1
To add up to the previous point, what I found most difficult since coming to Manchester was making friends. I guess I've suffered a bit because back in Singapore I had a couple of friends who were up for anything - late night suppers, impromptu meet ups, travelling an hour to look for a cafe, people to get drunk and basically just different groups of friends I know I can call out to arrange something fun.

However, here it's like starting with a clean slate. Something I was looking forward to initially but hating it so much right now. I wouldn't call myself an extrovert but I love being around people, I love having friends, I love being sarcastic to people and joking like crazy and I love fun with people who get me. But now that I have to start up from ground zero, it's the worst thing.

In case you didn't know, I'm studying PR & Marketing, second year in MMU. Which means I'm entering a class full of people who already know one another and have their own group of people they hang out with because well, they had a year to get to know each other. And we all know what happens to that new kid that comes in and tries to fit in and it doesn't help that I'm the only asian Chinese in my class and basically the only one that looks "different" and all that stuff that's not cool.

It's hard to believe but I'm ridiculously quiet at first because I don't know how to approach someone, like do I tell you jokes, can I insult you and let you insult me back, can we do coffee and let me whine about how I'm lactose intolerant and my infinite love for chai and pugs. Can I tell you how excited I am for the new Starbucks drink or talk about my shoe collection and basically - how do I know that you can accept me for who I am?

And seriously, it has been going on for SO LONG, it's like that with every one that I meet in school so far and I hate it. I hate that I can do fun shit and have crazy laughs or get shit drunk and laugh about it the next day. I've given myself shit for not having that many friends here and threw a pity party for one but I've gotten over it (for now.) I'm getting used to hanging around alone, going to town alone to get errands done or reward myself with some nice loots because damn the student discounts are crazy here!

But yes, I do have a couple of friends and I guess they are honestly enough? I have my primary school friend who has been bringing me around, meeting new people (who are asians yay because I'm the only asian person in my course/class) and basically being my friend. I also have a really nice friend whom I met during my "enrolment" while we were queuing for the printer and we've hung out so all has been pretty well with her!

And since I'm already spilling shit out here, might as well verbal vomit all the way right? Back in school, whether in primary school, secondary school or even poly, I never had to worry about doing lunch alone, not having any friends during group work or having to walk anywhere in school alone because I've had a couple of friends who will be there with me but here, it's just plain shit. I honestly thought I'll find only amazing people here and yes true my current friends here are GREAT but damn racism is a very real thing here, some of my friends heard of it and all but damn it's real.

And I've met shit people who can't way to "dump" me and cling onto new people the moment they meet anyone new and all that crappy nonsense which I shall not talk about here.

Also, I don't have a group for one of the major projects for and honestly I'm freaking out and it's not the nicest thing to feel blahblahblah. I'm genuinely worried for this not because I'm worried that I have no friends but I really don't want my grades to be affected just because I have no friends you know?

Like I like to think that I work pretty hard when it comes to school in the recent years and having a dumb thing like no friends to affect my grades is just a really sad thing isn't it.

Ugh. Guess it's safe to say that I'm not enjoying school because I don't have much friends and perhaps it's why I LOVE lectures because no one talks during them and you are not weird if you sit alone LOL.

I tried joining the photography society at school and honestly I don't think its my "thing" and since I'm getting along well with my current friends and being alone, I guess I'm good..? But I did meet some really cool and amazing people on my first day there!

4. Getting around
I haven't really been around much so basically I've been to places where buses can take me and I haven't been on a train in almost a month! To get to school from my place its about a 20minutes bus ride on a good day and 40minutes on a shitty one. The city centre (town) is about 5-10minutes bus ride from school or a 20minutes walk that I have yet to attempt but my friend killed me for saying that it's insane to walk to town from school. And all these places can be reached with the same bus so basically I've just been on buses all the time.

Oh, fun fact, there isn't a back/middle door on their buses here so basically you get down where you get up and even if there is a door, it's mainly for the handicapped if I'm not wrong.

The fare is still not too bad if you get the weekly pass £7.50 which I've been doing because I haven't got around to buying my student card which entitles me for unlimited bus rides for a year which cost about £220.

I know I'm pretty close to London and all the cool places that I want to visit so bad but I haven't had a chance to (refer to point 3) but I'm sure I'll work something out because I'll be the worst ass to not head out and see/do all the cool England stuff now that I'm all the way here right?

5. Manners
English people are just so polite? Well, for the most of it to say the least because I met some really unfriendly ones who even though say nice stuff but their expressions and tones are off the charts. Everyone here is always saying "thank you"/"sorry" and it's just so nice.

And my favourite thing by far here is everyone thanks the bus driver and it's so nice even though most of the time he just ignores it or we just move way too fast to see him acknowledging it.

6. Prices
I guess a lot of people think that England is crazy expensive to live in and to be honest, it's not the cheapest and Manchester is still not that bad when you compare it with London.

It's not the cheapest here but it doesn't kill you to have a meal outside or when you get your groceries. Some of the things if not most of the things are of the same price as it was at home and of course there are some exceptions here and there.

For example, there are some places where I saw that Ben & Jerries were selling £2.50 for a tub and avocados were like a pound each and £1.50 for two ripe ones. A slab of steak for £3 and a giant box of meat for prices between £3-£8. Which are all pretty decent if I were to convert the prices back to Sing dollars.

However, there are of course things like tissues? I think tissue boxes here are way overpriced, like one box of tissues can cost up to £2 for ONE BOX and it's around 4 bucks back in SG price.

Here though, the high street make up products are pretty affordable, for example the collections lasting perfection concealer is £3.99 whereas in SG it's 18 bucks.

I can go on and on about the comparisons but I guess the key is to spend moderately and get only what you need or desperately want else you can't fall asleep at peace.

8. Weather
It's perfect, except when it rains. I found out that Manchester is one of the places where it rains the most in England and damn I did not know that. It sucks when it rains but otherwise, it's amazing. It's MOSTLY like being in an air-conditioned place 24/7 and you don't need a fan or air con here if you leave the windows open and all that. BUT but, the weather can get a little pissy sometimes - there was a particular day where it was chucking down rain in the morning, like crazy heavy and I rushed back home for shelter and about an hour later, it was crazy sunny. The kind where I had to wear my shades out and I don't do that often and an hour or two later it was freezing.

--

Wow eight points and a ton of elaboration for each point and if I keep these lengthy posts coming, I wouldn't have a problem hitting my word counts for my reports?

Anyway, I'm still enjoying my time here in England, trying to live my dream of living in the UK. It's not as easy as people put it out to, there're a lot of things to get used to, a lot of new things to learn and a lot of learning how to be independent.

I know I'm going to sound like a spoilt brat when I say this - I've never had to do any house work back home except for washing dishes and very very rarely take out the trash and now I have to do everything from changing my bed sheets to doing laundry to vacuuming my room with my hand held vacuum, doing the dishes and cleaning the toilet - gosh house chores are a pain in the ass.

But yes, I'm going around less sad than when it was the second week here and getting more comfortable with being by myself and telling myself it's okay to not have a lot of friends because I'm pretty happy with the ones that I have now.

I'm still crazy thankful for my family and friends who text me everyday, video call me as and when they can and all that and incase you're curious, I'm doing okay.

I'm well, I'm healthy and hopefully not pass out from climbing up stairs every single day because where I live there are no lifts and I climb 3 flights of stairs everyday and I've gotten so lazy that I'm cooking from the microwave most of the time. Also because I live in a tiny studio as you probably seen, I don't want to stink up my room so I don't do frying and all that stuff here.

I see that you guys have been enjoying these lengthy post and let me assure you, these rants won't just and here and do look forward to more of such posts!

Till next time,
Cheers! (I'm okay with doing it online but when you get me to say cheers IRL I cringe so badly that my intestines turn into a ball of puke inside)

http://ask.fm/cherylwonggg (say hello or ask me anything!) 





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