5 Tips before moving to Manchester
After finishing the first semester of my master at the University of Manchester, I would like to give you some useful tips before moving to Manchester so you can better adapt to the city.
• Transport: the available public transport in Manchester are the bus, train and tram. The bus is the most useful to move around in the city and the train and tram go to places that are a little farther away. My tip would be to use google maps where is very easy to get the perfect route to reach your destination. The bus tickets can be bought in the bus by card or cash. In the bus you can also buy a daily or weekly ticket.
If you want to travel to other cities in the UK, I recommend you to buy a rail card that gives you 30% off in every journey and the price is around 20 GBP.
• Groceries: In the city center there are a lot of small and express supermarkets (e.g. Sainsbury’s Local, Tesco Express) that are convenient for small purchases because they are everywhere. However, I would recommend you to go to bigger supermarkets because they are cheaper and have a greater variety of products and brands. For example, Asda is 14 minutes walking distance from the University and there is an Aldi in the city center. You can also buy online, and the cost is low if you make large purchases.
• Accommodation: Finding accommodation in Manchester can be a bit difficult. In my case I decided to rent an apartment on my own. If this is your case, here is some advice I would have liked to know before arriving in Manchester. It is really hard to find an apartment online because sometimes the letting agencies don’t reply to emails or don’t answer the phone. In case you would like to visit the apartment, I would recommend you arrive a few weeks earlier and go to the letting agencies directly to book viewings. Also, it is important to know that some agencies prefer not to show the apartments and rent them without viewings, this option is easier but has some risks. Also, it is essential to know that to rent in the UK as a student you need a UK-based guarantor that earns approx. 30 times the rent or pay the full rent (or a portion) upfront.
• Bank account: this tip is especially for international students that want to pay their tuition fees by Direct Debit. At beginning of September, you will need to register at the university and pay the tuition fees. There is an option to pay in 3 installments, but you need to have a UK bank account. This could be difficult for international students because to open a bank account you need a bank letter from the university that sometimes arrives after the date you have to pay the tuition. What I did was to open a virtual bank account that can be opened as soon as you have your visa, and it takes only some minutes. The virtual bank account that I know of are Revolut and Monzo, and they give you the sort code and account number that you need to set the direct debit payments.
• Clothes: It is well known that Manchester is a rainy city. So I would advise you to bring a good raincoat from home because you never know when it will rain and the weather is very unpredictable.
Hope you find these tips useful and wish you have a great stay at this beautiful city!
Written by current Quantitative Finance MSc student, Daniela