Lily’s experience at UCLan – Blog 1: Travelling to UCLan
We are now in May and I thought I would drop a quick blog since you are all preparing to come and study at our campus in Preston. First I’d like to say to all pre-sessional students, you are very lucky as the weather is currently very pleasant with temperatures up to 25 degrees Celsius J I really do hope it will stay like this all summer!
As I was an international student who arrived in the UK 7 years ago, I thought it would be nice to tell you about my experience and give you a little bit of insight on the experience that is in store for you. I do not have very many pictures but I have one from graduation (which probably is the nicest!)
I initially came to UCLan as an exchange student from France with a few other friends from my city called Metz. We were all very excited although I can’t say we had thought much about the logistics of the trip.
Flying into Manchester was so easy, it only took us an hour. We then had to get on the train from Manchester to Preston. Speaking English was not as daunting as I thought it would be but I was definitely not used to the Manchester accent or the colloquial expressions with taxi drivers and most people calling me “love” or “darling”. My advice to you would be: don’t be shy as most people are very friendly. I quickly realised my “textbook English” was far off from the way English people actually speak! The journey to Preston was very easy and once we arrived we all got into a taxi to the security lodge to collect keys to our temporary accommodation. The campus seemed really big and I could not wait to discover which my school, places to eat, shop and of course study! We were all allocated temporary rooms in Whitendale hall which is very near the Lancashire business school and the library. The idea of sharing accommodation was quite frightening as I had never done that before. I had already booked university owned accommodation before arriving and although I was unsure about the area and who I would be living with, I was very excited at the opportunity of making new friends, whether English or international. Although I loved my friends, I really did not want to live with them as I was very focused on improving my English and had a very strict rule of speaking as little French as possible during my stay in England. Looking back now, I think it definitely worked!
My accommodation was a 4 bedroom terraced house which belonged to the University. It was located in Plungington, a student area approximately 10 minutes walk from the campus. My bedroom was on the first floor and I felt very lucky as it was the biggest one! At the time (2005), it was not possible to view the room before arriving, therefore I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Now the accommodation office offers virtual tours: http://www.uclan.ac.uk/study/accommodation/halls_of_residence.php and most private halls have good pictures of the rooms too. Sharing accommodation at university is very common in the UK as going to the university is considered an opportunity to get a degree but it is also considered a social experience.
In Preston most areas are student friendly and located close to campus and to the city centre, which is really convenient for shopping and entertainment. I used to shop at Aldi which has an outlet near the campus and offers a great range of products at a very low price. I also found out Preston (and England) has a great range of very student friendly/ budget conscious shops called Poundshop, Pound World, etc… Any item will cost you a pound only and they are a great place for things such as cutlery, plates, household items etc.. Another one which you will love is Primark, which sells clothes and home items at very affordable prices. As it was my first time having my own bedroom (in France I used to share with my sister), I was very excited about decorating it and making it feel cosy so I really loved the first week of moving in and getting items for my room. I would advise you to bring the very minimum in your suitcase as most things can be bought here at very affordable prices. I would suggest to wait until you meet your housemates to decide what to buy for communal areas, for instance, you might all agree to share crockery and cutlery, set up a fund for cleaning products and bills if they are not included and so on. A lot depends on people’s preferences, how much space you have, personal standards you have for the place where you live. I will suggest ways to cope with co-habiting in another blog, until then……… Make sure you don’t forget your passport before going to the airport!