Keep calm and go to University. Tips from international graduate Renesa.

keep calm blogMy name is Renesa and I am an alumni of the University of Manchester. I graduated in 2013 with a MSc in Poverty & Development and now I am working part-time in a civic organization in Rome, Italy. I spent one year in Manchester and here my tips to ease your way into university life.


…get to know your university, even if you live at the other side of the world.

How do you do it?

You can order brochures/leaflets/guides, read the University’s webpage or connect through social media. UoM has various social media pages, so join them and ask questions. It’s the best way to know more, calm your fears and start getting excited about the future! If you have more specific questions on your degree, get in contact with your department. Even before being accepted by UoM, I had been pestering my department with the silliest questions, but it helped to understand the kind of people you will be dealing with: patient, kind and very friendly.


…and have settled down, start exploring! It’s the best way to beat homesickness. Get as busy as you can by meeting new people, jumping into different experiences and studying a lot! Even if you miss orientation, you can join groups through the Student Union’s page. There will be lots of events both hosted by the University and the City of Manchester. Exploring the city you’re staying in will make it less unfamiliar and less scary, especially at night. Who knows what you will discover (cupcakes in Piccadilly Garden at £1, anyone?)!


..where art thou when I need you? As a student, we all know how tight our budget is, so here are some places where you can get freebies:

And don’t forget that with your student ID, some places will give discounts!


..but where do you start? The first place to visit is the Career Service. It is through them that I got to know about the various job websites in the UK and they’ve got some useful materials, especially when you don’t know what to do after you graduate! Moreover, they have an updated list of vacancies on CareersLink, so you can start job hunting as soon as you get to university.

The second place to visit are the Career Fairs mentioned above. Some jobs do require specific degrees, but I have discovered that many only require a 2:1 in any subject.  The reason is because they look for specific qualities which are measured through the psychometric tests and assessment centres. It’s really important to practice for these tests as most are timed and you need to work quickly through the questions, especially if your mathematical knowledge has become rusty.

Fairs are also a  good opportunity to meet the HR of the company and to get their business cards. Unfortunately you cannot leave your CV with them, but you will receive all the information you need to leave a digital copy of your CV, especially if you want to apply for a graduate programme (with deadlines before Christmas, so you’d better start applying asap!). And don’t forget to ask a lot of questions, as it is an opportunity to understand the company and their application process better.

The third place to visit is the job centre in Manchester, which have jobs in the public sector, such as in the City Council, public schools, NGOs and apprenticeships.

The last place to visit would be the various social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) as a lot of companies advertise job vacancies through their social media pages.

In then end, remember that even with all the ups-and-downs, it will be worth it! And don’t forget to enjoy your time at the University!


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