Being a ‘guiri’ in Seville

Bethan Watkins – Universidad de Sevilla

‘¿Oye tío, por qué hay tanto guiri aquí?’ was a phrase I heard that stuck with me for days after. I was in a bar in the centre of Seville with a group of other friends from the UK, when some locals began laughing and chatting about us in Spanish, unaware that we could understand them.

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Mastering Assessments at the University of Melbourne: A Student’s Guide

By Emily Fujii Kyriakidou, University of Melbourne, Australia

Navigating the academic challenges of the University of Melbourne requires a blend of smart planning, consistent effort, and effective study techniques. Unlike the University of Manchester, the University of Melbourne’s assessment structure includes not only quizzes and assignments but also mid-semester tests that can account for 20-30% of your final grade. These mid-semester tests are crucial, as they cover a significant portion of the course content.

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UoM vs. uOttawa

By Rhiann Singh, University of Ottawa, Canada

I am over halfway through my first semester here at uOttawa so I thought I would share some of the differences I noticed between The University of Manchester and the University of Ottawa.

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An idiots guide to living abroad:

By Louis Hazeldine-Cosgrove, Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest.

Going to university in general is a big step for forward for anyone. However, finding out you are going to study abroad can feel like being thrown into the deep end.

No support system; no friends; new language; different culture and many, many nationalities.

It is a lot to get used to and it is not for the faint hearted. But it is an opportunity only a small handful of people will get to do. So, I present my best tips and advice to ensure your time abroad is one that will have a lasting impression on your years at university.

Social Life:

New country, new people, new friends and many opportunities await you. The first couple of weeks will be a blur, no doubt. Interactions with lots of people, it is easy to get carried away! In my experience, everyone you meet is in the same boat. Being confident and sociable is the best way forward, from starting conversations and meeting new nationalities, you will be sure to make many friends throughout your time there!

Read more: An idiots guide to living abroad:

Additionally, it is easy to be pulled toward people who share the same nationality as you. Whilst it is good to know people who speak your native tongue; I have met many interesting people of different nationalities. Being English myself, I rarely meet anyone who is not primarily English back in Manchester. Often it is a breath of fresh air speaking to so many new people, with different native tongues. You will be surprised how much you will learn off them!


After this ‘limbo’ period, where University has not started yet, and it still feels like you’re on holiday. It is beneficial to familiarise yourself with your surroundings; to ensure you manage to settle in.

Knowing where to shop; locations of favourite food items; local transport stations; knowing how to get home.

Little things like this, help a tremendous amount. I was recommended to familiarize myself with your class locations of your university before it starts. My primary building is a maze, and I would have been very late in the first week if I didn’t do this. Aswell as, ensuring you receive your student card and library card as quickly as you can, will make sure everything runs smoothly.

It is an amazing opportunity to learn how to cook new, local meals. Certain products at home will have a totally different equivalent here. For example, in Hungary, there is hardly any fish, and the Hungarians are obsessed with ‘sour cream’ with their cooking! Therefore, make compromises and explore the local dishes of your destination country. Often, trying to cook meals from your home country can turn out to be very expensive!


Whilst it is very fun going out, socializing and partying; it is very easy to find yourself in a ‘rut.’ Weather it’s not eating right, not enough sleep, homesickness or being very ill – it is always important to look after yourself.

Independence, in a new country is very liberating; not much else really compares to the experience. On the contrary, it comes with a new host of responsibilities. One of the most important is being solely responsible for yourself – mind and body.

Therefore, apart from your academic side – Keeping active proves very beneficial for your wellbeing. Weather that is continuing a sport from home; an entirely new one; joining a gym membership or simply exploring some local nature spots. It helps build your routine, keeps a positive mindset and often carries a social aspect to it.

Whilst you will be busy and pre-occupied during your year abroad, it is easy to forget about the friends and family at home. Sometimes all you need is a familiar voice to talk to or a friend to vent to over the phone. In addition, having an apartment in central Europe, north America and so on, is perfect for people to come visit you – if you are feeling homesick.

A Solo Weekend in Montréal!

By Rhiann Singh, University of Ottawa, Canada

It sounds so cliche but if someone told me 9 months ago I would be solo travelling in Canada I actually would’ve laughed in their face! At the start of the year, I really struggled with my mental health, to the point where I couldn’t even leave my uni room. It got so bad, to the point where I was considering not even doing my year abroad. So for me to be sitting here writing about this trip is such an achievement and an example to others that it will eventually get better!

This trip to Montréal was definitely spontaneous! I saw that one of my favourite UK djs (Yung Singh) was coming to Montréal for an event and I basically planned my weekend trip around that.

The easiest and most affordable way to get to Montréal from Ottawa was by train. The train was only a 2 hour journey and it was so nice compared to the trains in the UK! I got to Montréal around 8:30pm so it was already dark. I did have a well deserved McDonalds in the train station because I was starving. I was also putting off leaving as I was a bit apprehensive about being alone in a new city in the dark. I was shocked at how lively it was! Ottawa is more of a government city so it was different being in Montréal. Obviously I was weary walking 20 minutes to the hostel but I realised how safe this city was, especially for a female alone!

Staying in a hostel was also completely new to me because the hotels were so expensive. My first impression of the hostel was really good, everyone was so welcoming. I was in an all-female room with 9 other people. It was strange at first but I got used to it pretty fast. I decided to just have a chill Friday night in the hostel because I was super tired from travelling and uni.

On Saturday morning I had breakfast in the hostel and then decided to go explore around the city! The weather was also beautiful, which made the trip even better. I went to the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal and I was honestly speechless at how beautiful it was! I had seen pics online but nothing prepared me for seeing it in person. I stayed in there for a good hour just taking it all in and walking around. I lit a candle too for good vibes and I felt so at peace. Afterwards, I walked around the Old Town and it was so cute! Everyone was out and about walking, which was fun. I then went around the Old Port of Montréal and it was so fun seeing La Grande Roue de Montréal! I definitely would’ve gone on it but I am scared of heights. All the trees around the ferris wheel were turning brown, meaning fall wasn’t far away. I then stopped for lunch at this cute cafe and had a grilled cheese sandwich, not knowing it had pickles! By the late afternoon I was feeling pretty tired so went back to the hostel and had a quick nap.

I found a group for people staying in hostels in Montréal and decided to see if anyone else was going to see Yung Singh on Saturday night too. Luckily two girls from Germany were going so we planned to meet up for dinner beforehand. I was so nervous to meet up with strangers, as this was something I had never done before! Thankfully, they were both so lovely and we spent the full dinner and night chatting away. Yung Singh was absolutely amazing! I had so much fun being there! I also met some other girls who were also doing an exchange year in Canada which was so nice – I missed hearing a British accent so much!

After having a super late night, I decided it would be nice to have a bit of a lie-in. On Sunday I decided to go thrift shopping – I heard the shops in Canada were a lot better than the UK. After a lot of walking, I finally got to the main street for thrift shopping and literally spent hours there. The thrift shops are definitely better! Later on in the evening I wanted to go watch the sunset from Kondiaronk Belvedere. No one warned me how many stairs there would be – I actually thought I was going to throw up at one point lol! When I reached the top I was speechless. The view was so beautiful. I felt really overwhelmed and emotional when I got to the top. I just felt so proud of myself and I was just coming to terms with how far I have came these past few years. I Facetimed my friend to show her the view and it was such a lovely moment. After walking down hundreds of steps later, I was so ready for bed.

I had an early morning too because I had to catch the train back to Ottawa and make it back for class!

This trip was honestly the best thing I could’ve done for myself. Even though it was short, I felt like I learned so much about myself. It’s given me so much confidence and pushed me out of my comfort zone in such a good way. I want to travel around Canada even more now! I’ve already got a trip planned to Vancouver, Calgary and Banff in reading week which I can’t wait for!

Life in Brisbane

By Ffion Davies, University of Queensland, Australia

It’s been almost 3 months since I arrived in Australia and I can’t believe how quick the time has gone!! I can safely say that these 3 months have been some of the best of my life. Since my last blog, I have been on a trip to Byron Bay with QUEST (International exchange society) and it happened to be my birthday this weekend too! I had the best time. I’ve also been camping in North Stradbroke Island, where we saw loads of kangaroos and a koala, Moreton Island, as well as a trip to Noosa with the society.

QUEST has given me the chance to meet some amazing, like-minded people who will be friends for life! I also watched one of the Women’s World Cup games as the stadium was only a 10-minute train journey from my flat. As well as watching my first Australian football game. Both were great experiences!

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Aussie Adventures: Prepping You for Down Under!

By Honor Cessford, Australian National University

Things I wish I knew before moving to Australia

If you are considering studying down under, here are several things I wish I had known before I moved to Australia:

Australia is Vast and Diverse: Covering over three million square miles, Australia’s size rivals that of the entire European continent. This significant size has implications for travel and transportation so is necessary to keep it in mind when planning trips & transportation.

Australia’s Varied Climate: Contrary to the assumption that Australia is always warm, there are distinct seasons. Winters can be quite cold, especially in places like Canberra where temperatures can drop significantly – when I landed in July it was -5 degrees! If you are after a warmer climate, Brisbane enjoys a tropical climate, while Melbourne is infamous for its “four seasons in one day.”

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Navigating the Skies: A Guide to Handling Long-Distance Flights

By Honor Cessford, Australian National University

Due to its gorgeous beaches, buzzing cities, and tropical climate, Australia was my dream study-abroad destination. However, this meant traveling to the other side of the world, which can be a bit of a challenge. Here are my top tips (learning from experience) to help make the lengthy journey as peaceful and enjoyable as possible.

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Coffee Crawl: Uncovering Melbourne’s Hidden Gems

by Emily Fujii Kyriakidou, The University of Melbourne, Australia.

Hey fellow caffeine lovers! If you’re on a quest for the perfect pastry to go with your latte or just a cozy corner to chill between classes, you’re in for a treat. Here’s my roundup of Melbourne’s comfy cafes that won’t break your bank.

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Travelling around Central Europe✈️

By Isabelle Lydon, Eötvös Lorànd University, Budapest

To end our year abroad my friend and I decided to do a bit of travelling around Europe. We thought what a better way to end such a fantastic year. Let me tell you we were right. In this post, I will be telling you about how I saved for, planned and what I did for just under four weeks travelling around Central Europe. These are all my own experiences, and this may differ from person to person so please do bear this in mind. 

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The French Road Trip

My journey home from Toulouse to Newcastle!

By Sarah Cross, Sciences Po Toulouse, Toulouse, France.

After almost ten months living in Toulouse, it was finally time to depart for my journey home! I was lucky enough to be able to do this journey by car, despite flying on the way there. Whilst it was a long 3 day trip, I got the opportunity to visit even more little towns in France, and see the beautiful countryside on the way!

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