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Find out what shocked my flatmate most about life in the UK (you might be surprised!)

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One of the best part of university is the wonderful mix of people you get to meet. I sat down and talked to my lovely flatmate & friend, Min-Hui about her experience as an international student in Manchester. Min-Hui is from Singapore and studies Business.

Why did you choose Manchester?

‘I chose Manchester because my sister actually studied at The University of Manchester, a year ago, and after seeing the amount of experience she gained from being an international student here, I decided to follow suit.’

What have you enjoyed most so far?

‘I enjoy, honestly, the weather. Even though it’s not that good, we don’t have much rain in Singapore so I thoroughly enjoy it. I also enjoy going to Chinatown because it reminds me a bit of home, and it’s great that I’m able to buy ingredients that I find familiar.’

‘Another thing that I enjoy about Manchester is just being able to meet people from different parts of the world, including my flatmates, and exchanging different cultures and ideas. It’s very refreshing.’

Where is your favourite place to go in Manchester?

‘My favourite places to go in Manchester would, firstly, be the city centre because it allows me to relax and I’m able to escape from the work I have at home. I also like to go to Chinatown, especially to eat at a few restaurants that I love: Pearl City and Try Thai. I also like [laughs] going to the new AMBS  building, because I get to make use of the facilities there and it’s very modern and the landscape relaxes you. I just like everything about the new building. I also like going to Alan Gilbert. Similar to AMBS, it has a nice setting and it’s a conducive environment to study in.’

What do you miss most about home?

‘I definitely miss the friends and family I have back at home. I also miss, DEFINTIELY, the food back at home because even though, thankfully, Manchester has a variety of food options, it’s definitely not as good as back home. I guess just the familiarity of being at home – I think that’s also what I miss the most because when you’re in a different environment you tend to feel homesick.’

What’s the biggest culture shock?

‘[Screams] BEANS. ON. TOAST. That is really one of the biggest culture shocks.’ I interject – ‘Beans on toast is the best… I will not take beans on toast slander!’-  ‘It’s not something that I would ever think about, it’s just really shocking. Something else, I wasn’t use to is the fact that they [Mancunions] call you “love” and all that, and then when they see someone, they’ll ask “Hey you okay?” and I’m not sure as to whether I should actually reply them by saying “Yeah I’m okay” or whether I should just go on about my day. In Singapore, we never say hi.We don’t do that – that’s why it took me quite a while to get used to it.’

What are some of the pieces of advice you’d give to international students starting in September?

‘I think my first advice to international students would be to bring something that reminds you of home when you’re in your accommodation. The second advice would be to really get out there and meet people from not just your country, try to interact with other international or UK students, and I think another advice I have is definitely to go to Lidl! Shop for your groceries there because it’s cheaper. Another thing would be to try and initiate conversations with your flatmates because you’re going to be staying with them at least a year and it will be really nice to have a friend or something to come home to.’

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