IBEX vs. Traditional NYU Study Abroad
This is actually my second semester studying abroad during my time at NYU. Previously, I went to NYU Shanghai my sophomore spring. While I absolutely loved my time in Shanghai (a large part of the reason why I chose to go abroad again was because I adored it so much my first time), I felt I didn’t necessarily get the full cultural experience I wanted since I was very much in an NYU bubble. I didn’t really get as much exposure to the local people and culture as I wanted, which was one thing that I really hoped to gain from my semester away. As a result, IBEX seemed like a fitting choice. At the moment, I’m living in university provided housing and all my flat mates are full time British students who were born and raised in the UK. Truthfully, I was a bit thrown off at first because they are all freshman (only freshman and exchange students live in dorms), but they have taught me so much about British culture and I am impressed by how mature they all are. I’ve definitely observed that teens who grow up from other parts of the world appear to be more mature than their same aged peers in the US.
It has also been such an eye-opening experience interacting with the other exchange students as well. I had definitely expected a lot more Americans to be on exchange but in my program of ~60 business exchange students, I’d estimate there are probably less than 10 Americans present. I know NYU also has an extremely global student body as well, but the experience here has really forced me to put myself outside my comfort zone. There is a surprisingly large number of Europeans from other countries here, which I did not anticipate since I had assumed that they would want to study in other parts of the world. However, this has been great because they are a great resource of travel tips when I visit their respective countries.
Truthfully, I’d say classes here are structured pretty similarly to how they are in the US. Lectures are fairly similar sizes to those at NYU (perhaps a bit larger), and it’s the same general vibe of a handful of students actively participating lecture while the rest take notes. However, students here can only take classes within their course of study. In the US, people generally have the freedom to take classes in other departments, so long as they have the schedule room and meet the pre-reqs. This isn’t so much the case here. Furthermore, it’s a little scary to think about how many of my grades here will be driven by a single essay due at the end of the semester.
I chose the University of Manchester because I haven’t really had much exposure to traveling in Europe and I knew I wanted an English-speaking country. I figured sharing a common language with the students, it would enable me to communicate with them more effectively and enable me to build more than a surface level relationship with them. Ironically, the Mancunian accent is so thick, and some of the slang is so niche, that there have been a fair amount of times here when people will be talking and the conversation will sound entirely foreign to me, although its in English
I really love Manchester as a city as well. It’s a very industrial city and they pride themselves in being a city for the people, so its extremely affordable. Furthermore, there’s such a large student population here that the city gives off so much young energy. The night life is also incredible and people are up and about every single day of the week. While UofM is technically similar to NYU with its buildings woven within the city, it feels much more similar to one of the traditional college campuses. I initially had wanted to do an exchange in London and was a bit disappointed that NYU didn’t have an IBEX partner school there, but I think ending up in Manchester was a blessing in disguise. All in all, I’ve only been here for a few weeks so far but its already starting to feel a lot more like home. I know not everyone can do IBEX due to scheduling conflicts and what not but I highly urge everyone to give the program some heavy consideration.
Love and miss you all, and wishing everyone a great rest of the semester!