Geography student Andrei on the flexibility of his course
Andrei, a second-year BA Geography with Professional Placement student from Romania, shares his experience of studying and living in Manchester, what he enjoys most about his course and what makes Geography at Manchester so flexible.
On why I chose to study Geography at Manchester
Exploring the course and the university online from home, I was impressed by the flexibility Manchester offered Geography students. Given that in high school I did humanistic studies, I thought that science-related topics are not for me. However, Geography at The University of Manchester combines human and physical themes in very complex and interesting ways. This made me curious to find out more – not only about geography, but also about myself and my interests.
About my course
The number of hours spent in classes and for private study depends on many variables – module choices, preferences for specific topics and others. As such, there is no specific answer or perfect mix of hours to be spent for study, but I definitely spend more time for private research and readings. I usually do core readings and then allocate more time for materials on topics that really spark my interest. Every week comes with new possibilities in geography, and it is impossible to not want to explore more. This includes, in my case, articles, YouTube videos or events on climate change in Manchester that I read about.
On my highlight so far
Being introduced to ArcGIS! I could not believe the maps I learnt to create on my own laptop, in my own time. To me, producing something so visual and practical like a map felt incredibly satisfying and it made me realise the endless possibilities that come with mapping with a purpose.
On my fieldwork experience
I have been in the fieldtrip to Keswick designed for first years, which I attended in second year because of COVID-19. Despite glacial processes not being my interest, I was taken on a trip where academics presented us different types of landforms and underlined their evolution over millennia. This was an opportunity to learn aspects of geography I was not very comfortable with, and ultimately to connect to students on the course. What I loved most was our encounter with these very cute llamas on the country roads. Fieldwork is also about getting some fresh air in the places we go to, and I am enjoying this to the fullest especially in the pandemic context.
On finding a work placement
As a geography with professional placement student in second year, I am only in the process of applications to different companies and organisations, so I do not have any work experience related to this so far. However, I am happy to have produced a report about HOME gallery’s activity and efforts to enhance carbon literacy and support the city with their zero carbon plans by 2038. Depending on my grade for this, my report might actually be submitted and hopefully acknowledged by HOME. I am eager to see where the combination of art and environment can take me, and how innovative thinking can support my employability for the future.
On living in Manchester
The industrial vibe of the city combined with the fresh feel of skyscrapers and other new buildings. I cannot name another city with such a fantastic architectural contrast, which makes living here so unique.
I currently live in a shared student house. Some of the pluses of this type of accommodation include the feeling of home and closeness to my housemates, who I became life-long friends with. It is definitely an once-in-a-lifetime experience which I am happy to have as a student in the UK.
On being an EU student in the UK
As an EU student not accustomed to the British lifestyle, I was very nervous before arriving in Manchester. Little did I know that I was not the only one in this position. It is so much easier when you have someone to relate on different life aspects, which is why I encourage you to join online events with EU/international students and be active on social media groups with them. I cannot stress enough how helpful it has been to communicate with people like me, both mentally and practically.
Try to not over-pack. Seriously, you can find anything in Manchester, from kitchen items to self-care products. There will also be many student deals at the beginning of each academic year that you can benefit from.
When it comes to studying here, I recommend the not so frequented libraries (e.g. Central Library, Joule Library) or cafes like Chapter One Books (good quality-price products and lovely spaces to get some work done!).