My Chevening month: a magical December
Happy new year, everyone!
Wow! Time flies really fast. I remember my first Instagram post about arriving in the UK to start my study at Manchester Business School was just like yesterday, but we finished all the lectures and seminars from the first semester already in December. I even submitted two of my five exams before Christmas and explored some beautiful parts of the UK! When I started to contemplate, it seemed like magic happened in December!
I have no more words to describe how grateful I am for this Chevening journey as I am studying Human Resources Management and Industrial Relations in the city where the majority of UK history in employment and industrial relations happened.
I enjoyed learning inside and outside classrooms. During this first semester, aside from classrooms, I managed to attend several Work and Equalities Institute meetings and got involved in the Manchester Industrial Relations Society. The latter brought me the experience to win a student debate in Greater Manchester for industrial relations issues.
I was also chosen as one of the student ambassadors in Manchester Business School for the MSc Human Resources Management and Industrial Relations course. Those activities helped me to expand my networks in both human resources management and industrial relations with academics and professionals in Manchester, and also in the UK. I am excited to start my 2018 with the snowball effects of this networking.
What is #MyCheveningJourney about? Many friends asked me once after they saw my social media posts. I used to answer it in simple ways: to study in the UK and to travel around. So, the ‘to study in UK’ part was over for the first semester at the second week of December 2017.
Time to maximise the ‘to travel around’ side then. I jumped onto the train and headed to London right after I submitted one of my exams on 14 December. This was my second visit to London. The first was for Chevening Orientation in October, yet I couldn’t spend days in the city because of classes. So, I used that opportunity to spend a few days visiting places I have never thought I would visit before, and to meet some friends I haven’t met for years after some international events that I attended before.
I visited some other cities in the UK during my first semester, but London has always been exciting to explore. I started my London trip by visiting Warner Bros. Studios where the phenomenal Harry Potter movie was created. I also happened to watch my favorite musical, Les Misérables, at the Queen’s Theater. Those two were indeed a lovely tour and performance.
I have always been fascinated by things made and done with passion and determination. On the next day, I enjoyed ice skating at the Natural History Museum with a fellow Chevener from Montenegro. While ice skating, we shared various talks about our Chevening journey so far and the plan after graduation this year.
I recalled my very first ice skating experience years ago in my tropical country which only had a few ice rinks at that time. I said to myself that I had to be able to do ice skating, so I could skate in Europe someday. Who knows that I just did ice skating in Europe years after that?
I continued to fly to Northern Ireland, landing in Belfast. The main reason to visit this area was to see with my own eyes some sets from the famous Game of Thrones series. I strolled around Downpatrick to visit the Old Castle Ward as Winterfell, and Inch Abbey as Robb Stark’s camp.
A walk to the Dark Hedge (Bregagh Road) and a visit the Giant’s Causeway were also really nice. After spending three days and two nights in Northern Ireland, I moved to Glasgow from where I continued to explore Scotland to Sterling Castle, the Urquhart Castle in Inverness, and ended my journey for Christmas in Edinburgh.
Some Indonesian Cheveners were also gathered in the University of Edinburgh for Christmas dinner. It was so fun and warm although we were celebrating Christmas far from our home country and family.
Another magic Christmas moment came after our Christmas dinner ended. The snow started to fall in Edinburgh! It’s the white Christmas! I have heard this ‘White Christmas’ song since I was a child and finally I experienced it by myself! Well, there were some days with snow in Manchester in early December, but not that much. Therefore, I ended this nine-day trip to Northern Ireland and Scotland by hiking the snowy Arthur’s Seat a day after Christmas. I enjoyed playing with the snow and seeing the city of Edinburgh from its peak.
December 2017 was magical: full of challenges, joy, gratitude, happiness, and lessons of life. It’s challenging to start and to finish some academic essays for exams, but I finished those. It’s not easy to explore new places in order to understand their culture and history, but it creates moments of joy and happiness. It’s uncomfortable to do reflection and contemplation while studying and traveling, but it gives so many life lessons.
The new year has just begun. I am ready to be a far better person by studying and traveling through the second semester of #MyCheveningJourney! Continue to follow #MyCheveningJourney through my Instagram (@yosea_kurnianto)!