The social skills I have developed at The University of Manchester

by | Jun 16, 2023 | Geography and Global Development, Postgraduate | 0 comments

When I look at the calendar, sometimes I wonder how time flies so fast. It seems like only yesterday I was packing my things, bidding a watershed farewell to family and friends in India, and flying, seemingly not just for my Master’s degree, but to a new world. Now that I am halfway through my journey, is a good time to reflect on the social skills I have developed since being here.

Ashwin at the stadium

Ashwin at the stadium

It goes without saying, but I think a diverse environment truly helps in becoming more outgoing. Manchester really feels like a very non-judgmental place where you can be whoever you want, and that has given me the confidence I did not know I had! I have attended events I never thought I would, gone on beautiful trips, and met people from all corners of the world!

Another crucial skill I have developed is being able to collaborate with others. In Manchester, I think this is clearly visible in the public space with the number of movements and social groups who are constantly pushing for change, but also within the university it is amazing how much we all rely on each other. My closest friends here have helped me so much and given such great advice, and I feel like it’s that bonded spirit which keeps me motivated every day!

Another positive aspect of diversity is the increased self-awareness you have. Through meeting people from various backgrounds, I recognise that people are innately different, and I become sub-consciously sensitive to different religions, nationalities, cultures and life choices. I would not have had the same opportunity back at home!

I do not know if it is a good thing or not, but I have been taking things more lightly because I feel like I can manage my commitments with the correct planning. Previously, if I had issues with my own insecurities or even just multiple deadlines, I would panic quite easily (I’m not saying I don’t now!) but now I have more self-confidence. This has allowed me to be a more relaxed and calmer person, which has reflected in my interaction with others as well.

One thing that surprised me not just about Manchester but the UK, is the politeness that random people show to me every day! The friendly smiles, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, and small compliments have just become so normalised. I believe I have taken away a lot from these experiences, and I try to apply these manners more often as well.

I genuinely believe that I have developed so much as a person. I hope for those of you yet to come to Manchester, that you will find the city and the university as welcoming as I have!

Written by Ashwin, current MSc Development, Economics, and Policy student