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Exploring different cultures as an international student

The world can either be a great big wonderful place waiting to be explored or a scary labyrinth with strange things around every corner; the difference lies in how you want to view it. This situation presents two options, either stay in your comfort zone of the known or immerse yourself in your new surroundings and learn about the different people around you. I reckon the latter is far more interesting. Being a student in Manchester presents a wonderful opportunity to learn about other cultures, whether the UK is your home or whether you’re an international student. This is due to two main reasons.

Firstly, a lot of international students come to study in Manchester. This makes mingling with people from different backgrounds all the easier. It all begins with a hello. On some level we all really want to interact with one another but are not always sure how best to initiate conversation. I’ve come to find that a simple hello often does the trick, but if you feel like more tips and tricks are needed, this TedTalk is a good start. An added bonus to studying in Manchester is there being societies and clubs (University societies) that make it easier to learn more about other cultures by being more…hands on. Another great way to explore other cultures is to learn a new language, which just so happens to be on offer at the University.

International Society, Oxford rd.   UoM Students’ Union, Oxford rd.

Manchester is a melting pot of cultures, views, perspectives, etc. Speaking of pots, food is one of the best ways to explore different cultures and Manchester happens to have a diverse gastronomic scheme – the second reason for it being a good city to learn about other cultures. You can find anything from Jamaican to Japanese food, Turkish to Thai food and almost everything in between. What better way to learn about a culture than enjoying some delicious food, preferably with new found friends?

Some of my favourites include Jaffa, which offer Middle Eastern food. It being on the Curry Mile means you are really spoilt for choice when it comes to cuisines. Another favourite of mine, also on the Curry Mile, is Sultanahment Grill which serves delicious Turkish food. If you are after something more eastern, Red Hot Chilli in China Town is a good bet for some good Chinese food. Plus, there are some bakeries in the area that have deliciousness on offer.

Going to university, moving to a new country, or anything in between those two spectrums can be an anxious time; but it also presents the opportunity of learning about other cultures you might not have had the chance to interact with. So, go on and explore. One last caveat, don’t be afraid to ask questions; it opens conversations and gives people ‘permission’ to open up.