Since my husband is studying at University of Manchester, I follow and live in Manchester as a dependant. Living in the new place, different culture and contradicted weather is understandable to feel shocked and confused when it comes to “what to do”. Spending time alone doing nothing can be very difficult for people in general, especially for those who love to be busy like me. Also, not everyone has been granted an opportunity to live aboard, so this is your chance to spread your wings. Even I’d only spent almost three weeks here, I’m glad to share information, resulted from my research and little experience, list of what to do for us, the dependant.

Work, work, work, work, work

I hate this song, but I can’t deny that this song has a catchy rhythm and plays frequently in my head.

For you who like the experience of having money (who doesn’t?), you can do a part-time work in Manchester. According to student-dependant visa, we can do a part-time work, but not a professional work like in medical or other practical field. If you want to work full time, you need to apply for work-visa, which is more complicated than just a student-dependant visa.

Part-time work sometimes are tricky (based on people’s experience), some works need a recommendation from insider. But, you can actually apply for some, if you’re interested. Instead of going around the shops and cafes looking for a part-time job (these are actually only ones available for us), you can look at the part-time job website: indeed.co.uk or reed.co.uk (thanks for the recommendation, Cammy!)

Mostly, Indonesian women here are trying to sell some stuff between each other, like souvenir, Indonesian food, etc. There are some who work at restaurant as assistant chef or cleaner too. Poundsterling actually has much higher value compare to Rupiah, so I think some people are willing to work hard physically to gain more money.

As for me, Alhamdulillah I still can do my work in Information Technology field from home. This is a privilege really, for those who are in IT business, you can work from just anywhere. I think this goes same for ones who are interested in writing and journalism field.

Volunteering

This was the first thing came across my mind when I stood in Manchester. The thing is I don’t want to be back to Indonesia with nothing; I want to achieve some things. If we look into “volunteer” meaning itself, there are two possible ways within it: we are giving and taking some. Not only we give our time and effort to, at least, be the change we wish to see the world (thank you for the quote, Gandhi), but also we take the pleasure of helping others and gain new skills by interacting with people (or not, it’s up to you how to put it). At least, I want to practice my English (and turn it to be British English accent), so I apply for it.

You can look for the information about volunteering at this website do-it.org and Volunteer Centre Manchester (VCM). Actually, I have applied for VCM and it is nice. We had an induction meeting which told us what volunteer is and what activities we can do in VCM. My mind was opened widely; because I’ve always thought that volunteering means we go to the suburb and help the poor to become richer. Actually, helping people by cleaning litter from the river is also volunteering work. We also can attend some training (some are free, some are not), apply for volunteering activities based on our interest and maybe apply for some part time job which feels like volunteering (except we get money).

Moreover, the volunteering work can be done anytime and anywhere you want. Even if you have only like one hour a month, you still can do it based on your schedule. However, don’t forget to keep you commitment and don’t quit until it finishes.

Go Around The City

Who doesn’t like to travel? I think everybody does.

You can go around the city by bus or tram here in Manchester. Actually I only use bus, so I can only give you information about it. You can get the day rider ticket for around £4 (you can travel to EVERYWHERE in a day) or a week for £14. There are several bus operators in the city, so be careful to ride because those tickets you bought are for the same operators.

But, if you are in the economical-frugal (frugal okay, not stingy) like I am, you can go around on foot. Or buy a bike to make it more luxurious. It’s healthier by the way, and there are many parks you can visit in here. Make sure you bring water and keep your money closer because you have to prepare for some shoes-breakdown and have to buy a new one.

Also if you have money and time, you can go to other city inside UK by coach or train. You also can do the Europe Tour like the famous backpacker nowadays, but don’t forget about the preparation: visa, living cost, etc.

Learn Skills

There are many options for you to gain some skills in here; Manchester City Council surely provides you with facilities to be used. Adult Learning Centre are certainly the most competent to give you skills. Starting from basic skills which are free, like English and Math, to advance skills which you have to pay for it, including Communication or English for Interview. Actually, most of them are free for those who have JSA (Job Seeker’s Allowance) which by the way are for the real Manchester’s residents. Since we are the virtual ones, so we need to keep living the reality.

Or if you want to have some body workout skill (I don’t know if this is counted as a skill), you can go to Leisure Centre near you house and sign up for fitness, swimming or health club class.

You can also attend some classes provided by private organization. If you choose this way, you need to dig deeper in internet. For me, who is interested in Islam, I looked up many websites of Islam community in Manchester and signed up for some Islam classes.

For you who don’t like to go out because of the cold weather, you also can learn new skills by enrolling online courses. I like to go to this website to study coursera.org or udemy.com. The payment is up to you; you can choose free by only getting the materials or pay and get the certificate.

Moreover, since my husband is a student and he has a lot of facilities from his campus, he often bring home some books. Considering we have the same taste of knowledge (business and IT), I borrow and read some books when he is reading some others. This is also called learning skills, you know.

Join Community

As I was saying that I want to practice more English to more people, I want to be active and at least talk with the real British people. Thus, I am planning to attend some community’s activities based on my interest. There are plenty information out there, you can ask many people who had lived in before or just do some Google research.

You can also have a joy by joining your country’s community (if you don’t have one, please create it). You can share a lot of stories and experience by gathering with people who have the same background as you (in this case, is country). Indonesian’s community is pretty well in here; there are WhatsApp group to keep the communication, also meeting for once in month just to keep in touch. You can play with babies and listen to mom’s stories who live near you. It’s always a pleasure to talk with our mother tongue language and have people with the same experience beside us.

These are information I had for three weeks living in Manchester. And also it’s very subjective regarding to my interest and research. You can get your own ones too by doing more research online and offline to make your day more comfortable. Don’t afraid to try something new, don’t afraid to get lost and looked by confused foreigner. Having a leap of faith and crowding yourself with new people who have different background. It is astonishing and surely new experience out there waiting for you to jump in!

I’ll end this post with a screenshot of my wonderful talks with an amazing woman I just knew here. Hope you enjoy!

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