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Andreas Basler studied on the Bachelor programme in Applied Languages with specialisation in Multilingual Communication, and spent a semester abroad at the University of Salford. He writes about his experience as a student at a UK university and the memories that he will cherish from this experience. Andreas’ enthusiasm for Manchester is infectious and, after reading his blog, you are likely to want to visit the city yourself.

Cake.

My time in Manchester summed up in one word.

It would, however, be wrong to think that this was the only memorable thing about my stay abroad. After all, the best pizza in the world should not go unmentioned (preferably taken at 3 am after a heavy workout, a.k.a dancing the night away to the best pop tunes ever made.) And who could forget the scrumptious scones with a sinful dash of clotted cream and ever such delicious preserves? Hint: my scales won’t.

All food aside, I have fallen head over heels in love with this city. I love the dirty and sometimes creepy yet unbelievably charming canal, the fabulous Gay Village, my gorgeous apartment, my host and his cynical wit, the ever-changing architecture (you could do the groceries and pass through industrial, Roman and almost futuristic eras), bustling Market Street, the northern quarter with all its hipsters, the smell of fish and chips, looking the wrong way when crossing the street, the adorable cafés and the fact that I have developed a major Mancunian crush (how cliché).

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I’m glad that the rather rocky start – with a cancelled apartment one week before departure and a cancelled flight due to a so very uncalled-for infection – was not an indicator of the whole stay. However, I did have a similarly rocky start at university, where a confused flock of German ladies and a Swiss guy (i.e. me) tried to find its way through the seemingly weekly-changing timetable. Things improved eventually and procrastination kicked in. The workload was manageable though, so there was enough time for other things. Said things included concerts, drag shows, having friends from Switzerland visiting, Game of Thrones actors doing a DJ set, shopping in the hugest mall I’ve ever seen, wandering through nine Christmas markets, exploring London, Chester, Liverpool and Edinburgh and making friends from a lot of different places.

Another highlight were the outings with my LGBT society. Whether it was Bonfire Night, Halloween or a pub-crawl in the Village, we always had fun and definitely lost each other within the first hour. Every Tuesday we met in the University House and carved pumpkins, learned how to do Scottish folk dancing (yes, really) or were educated in different aspects of LGBT life. In short, we had a gay old time, pun intended.

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I wish it could have lasted longer, but before I realised it, my semester abroad was over. What stays with me are the countless memories, even more photographs, long moments of nostalgia to drown in, the latest Taylor Swift album as the perfect soundtrack and about six additional pounds (thank you, Teacup Kitchen). I did not expect to have such an awesome time in Manchester, but thanks to many great people I did. I am beyond thankful to have had this experience and while I am (actually quite) sad that it is over, I hope to see this place again soon. Until then, I guess I’ll have some cake…

Andreas Basler’s post is one of six prize-winning student blog entries about the semester abroad. Along with many of his fellow students, Andreas spent the fifth semester abroad and will soon graduate from the Bachelor’s programme in Applied Languages. You can find out more about the semester abroad here.