End of Lent Term and Hey! It’s My First Spring!

As a postgraduate student, I really can’t describe how fast the time went by. It feels like yesterday I was excitingly starting my first day of the Masters orientation, but now 6 months has passed and it’s already the end of Lent term. During 6 months of study, I might say that I have learned a lot from the classes that I took. As I have a background in Information Technology and Management, I took the MSc in Information Technology, Management and Organisational Change (ITMOC) at the Organisation, Work and Technology Department.

During my studies, I have learned many things including how IT can help organisations/businesses to reach their optimum competitive advantages and current trends in technology development. One of the most interesting courses that I took is IT and Digital Strategy where I learned about how IT can also bring harm to people if it is not being used properly: this effect is called the dark side of IT. One of the dark sides of IT is the stress which people can get if they get too much information from overflowing information from the internet or what we call technostress. Sometimes we feel that we can’t live without IT and work during the weekend or our leisure time! I can relate to this course a lot because somehow I feel that “yeahhhh, that’s totally happened to me all this time!” 😀 This course made me realise that we still have to use technology wisely even though it helps our life significantly.

After we ended the Lent Term, I believe that many of you will have numerous deadlines and exams after the Easter break. Me as well! It must be super stressful for many of us. To relieve this stress, I recommend that you look around our beautiful campus and see that spring has finally sprung!

As a student who comes from a tropical country with only 2 seasons (rainy season and not-so-rainy season :p), it’s really exciting for me to see how the flowers started to bloom beautifully after a long winter. I took many pictures because it’s also my first time to see cherry blossoms! Around Lancaster, you might see some cherry blossom trees and for me this kind of healed my stress.

During the spring, another difference that I feel is in terms of clothes because finally I can get rid of the fluffy and thick winter coats! The weather is also getting warmer as the sun shines more often, yet we also have to be ready for sudden rain because hey! It’s Lancaster 😀 Make sure to always check the weather forecast app on your phone to prepare for what clothes are suitable that day.

If you have some spare time, you might also try to travel somewhere outside Lancaster to refresh yourself after finishing the term and getting ready for assignments and exams. As for me, I write this post while I am on holiday in Greece. After I get back to the UK, I’ll be ready for all the deadlines! ;D

Don’t forget to relax and, to my fellow Postgraduate students, get ready for your dissertation. This too shall pass! 🙂 Stay healthy and happy during the break!

Things To Do in Lancaster

Have you ever felt tired of all routines, assignments, never ending classes or group work? You feel like you need fresh air, yet you’re too lazy to go outside the city or do not want to spend too much money going out? Then… why don’t you explore our own city, Lancaster! Some of you might not realise that there are so many beautiful places that you can visit only 15 minutes from campus in 1 day!

Before you visit places around Lancaster, it might be good for you to know few facts about Lancaster. Some of you might probably know that Lancaster is the county town of Lancashire, England surrounding the River Lune. Lancaster, is a historic city in England with numerous buildings in Georgian architecture. You might realise when you’re going to the city center that there are many old buildings that you’ll never get tired of seeing!

Now, I will try to give you some ideas on what to do in Lancaster over the weekend. All you need to do is just to take a bus from campus and you’re good to go! 🙂

Lune Millennium Bridge

The first place that I would recommend is Lune Millennium Bridge. It is located near the Bus Station right behind Sainsbury’s. It spans the River Lune, Lancaster. The history of this bridge is that it was built to commemorate the millennium of 2000. It forms a “Y” shape and it is suitable for cyclists and pedestrians. Be ready for a surprise from this bridge as sometimes it will shake a bit when you’re walking on it 😀

Lancaster Castle

After you spend some time on Lune Millennium Bridge, you can take a walk to a hill right next to the bridge. 5-minutes-walk will bring you to one of the icons of our city, Lancaster Castle. You can see the stunning views of Lancaster from above. This castle may have been founded around the 11th century and it used to be a prison! Owned by The Duchy of Lancaster (Her Majesty the Queen is the Duke of Lancaster), the castle has witnessed significant historical and political impact in the thousand years of its existence. Until 2001 it was still functioning as prison, but now it is open for public and tourist activity. If you want to learn more about its history, you can join the guided tour that is available inside the castle. You can also enjoy a cup of tea in the café inside the castle.

Lancaster Canal

Another attraction that you can visit in Lancaster is the peaceful Lancaster Canal. You can walk 10 minutes from Lancaster Castle to this place. You can also grab your lunch in at the White Cross Restaurant by the river. You can enjoy a nice lunch with river and bridge view as well as seeing some cute ducks along the river 🙂

Ashton Memorial Park

This place might be my favorite place in Lancaster! It is reaaaalllllyyyyyyyy beautiful especially on a sunny day. You can take a walk here but it’s quite a distance from the canal or you can just take a bus whereas you still need to climb a bit to reach this place. Many people called Ashton Memorial Park “England’s grandest folly” and the “Taj Mahal of the North” because this iconic building was commissioned by Lord Ashton as a tribute to his late wife.

You will first be welcomed by Williamson Park, a pretty park with some small ponds and various kind of plants. After that, you will get this view.

When you are walking up to the building, you can see the city of Lancaster from above. It is breathtaking! This spot is also the highest point in Lancaster where you can see the whole city. There is a pretty dome that is also open to the public. Please note that the interior will be on renovation from November 21 2016 to April 2017 so you might not be able to go inside. But do not worry because the outdoor view of Ashton Memorial is already amazing!

So yeah, there are many things that we can do in Lancaster right? An important thing that you should note before going around the city is: CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST! It won’t be as fun if the rain is pouring hard. In my case, I tend to go out when the sun is up with a clear and bright sky.

Now… Are you ready to go? 🙂

P.S photos are from writer’s personal collection

A Weekend in Sheffield

At the beginning of the term, assignments that I (and we?) have might not be as much as when the end of the term is coming. For me, when I have some spare time to travel during the weekend to refresh my mind, I sometimes  travel to cities around Lancaster. Last week (1st week of February), I went to Sheffield! This city can be reached in 2 hours by train and you only need to pay around 20 pounds for return tickets if you buy it in advance. You need to change in Manchester as there is no direct train from Lancaster to Sheffield.

I have been wanting to visit this city since last term and my goal is to visit 2 places: Bamford Edge and Edensor! They are sooo beautiful and I didn’t regret my decision to visit them during my weekend.

Saturday – 4 February 2017

I arrived in Sheffield on Friday night and I started my trip on Saturday around 10 am because I have to wait for the bus which directly goes to Bamford Edge. I took Bus No. 273 from University of Sheffield Bus Stop and I alighted at Lydgate Lane. The journey took around 40 minutes and you can also take bus No. 272, 274 and 275. After I arrived, I followed the maps which directed me to Bamford Edge.

The sky was soooo bright and the weather was perfect. From the bus stop to the hill, I need 60 minutes to walk.  After that I have to walk to reach the Edge for another 30 minutes. It was quite tiring! I got exhausted but it was all gone when I see this magnificent view!

It was soooooo beautiful that I feel like crying! It was colorful eventhough it was windy up there. I can’t stop taking pictures from one side to another. I spent around 1.5 hour there and finished my trip with a delish sandwich at the restaurant near the bus stop.

Please note that you should be really aware of bus schedule as they don’t come that often 🙂

Sunday – 5 February 2017

I started my journey early in the morning this day. I went from my friend’s house at 8 am and took bus No. 251 to Edensor for about 1 hour. Some of you might wonder, what is Edensor?

Actually, Edensor is a small village from my favorite book. It is a book from an Indonesian writer, Andrea Hirata, titled “Edensor”. The book taught me about the meaning of family, friendship and dream.  One of my favorite part of the book is: “I wanted to go to faraway places and meet with endless varieties of foreign languages and peoples. I wished to rove, finding my direction through reading the stars of constellations. I wanted to cross fields and deserts, to be burned by the sun until I blistered, to be shook by the assaulting wind, and shrink from being gripped by cold. I wanted a life that was thrilling, filled with conquest. I wanted to live! To feel the essence of being!”. I can say that Edensor from Andrea Hirata is one of the reason why I chose to study in UK, to experience the world and be a better person.

In his book, Andrea Hirate described Edensor beautifully. It is a quite, peaceful and breathtaking small village… And I can be more agree to this. Edensor is a very small village with only 1 church and some little houses, yet you will find some peacefulness here as everyone is super friendly and always greet and smile to each other. After spent around 1.5 hours walking around the village (and took many pictures of course :p), I visited Edensor Tea Cottage with warm and homey feels.

For me, Edensor has special meaning but for those of you who haven’t read the book; I would still recommend Edensor for you! It is a beautiful village with beautiful and you won’t regret your decision to visit this tiny village.

I spent 2 amazing days in Sheffield. It is a very nice city and bigger than Lancaster with lots of food options. Living cost is cheaper as accommodation, food and transportation costs are slightly cheaper than here in Lancaster. I highly recommend Sheffield for those who want to experience a bit of city and countryside experience at the same time.

May be I’ll be back there again, someday! 🙂

Cultural Food Night, What’s There Other Than Food?

“Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.”

– Wendell Berry

Hi! My name is Nila Sukmawati, and I am a postgraduate student at LUMS, studying MSc Information Technology, Management and Organisational change (ITMOC). As an International student who is going abroad for the first time to study, everything about Lancaster, UK and any places that I have visited are all exciting for me. I had so many firsts during my 4 months experience of living abroad. First long-haul flight (yeah, I took 18 hours flight from Indonesia to Manchester, and another 1.5 train ride to Lancaster), first time being away from home for such a long time, first time visiting Europe and my most fascinating “first” would be my first time of having 21 classmates from 15 different Nationalities!

As I have classmates who is coming from different culture and background, it is really interesting to see how we speak in different English accent, how we talk and share to each other about how we missed home or about how much we are craving for foods from our hometown. Fun fact about my class is that we regularly held social events so that we get to know each other better and of course to get away for a while from tons of reading lists and assignments 😀 . One of the most exciting and unforgettable event for me (and maybe for the rest of the class) would be…. CULTURAL FOOD NIGHT!

Can you imagine when 22 people from 15 Nationalities had to bring foods from their country to be shared together? Food overload! 😀 I tried various kind of foods that I have never tasted or seen before. Blinis from Russia, Special pancake from The Netherlands, beef meatball and potato salad from Germany, egg frittata from Italy… and these were all yummy. Our friend from Taiwan also made delicious sushi and I made corn fritter, Indonesia special noodle and… fire noodles from Korea (it is not from Indonesia, but it is still from Asia though hehe). I was thinking about cooking fire noodles because I know that my classmates from Western countries might not be able to handle its spiciness. It is super spicy that your whole mouth would feel like it is burning. So, I want to challenge them!

Without any bias, I might say that this fire noodle was the “most wanted” food during our food night. Some of us can handle it, some can’t handle it and some did not have any courage to try it. But at least, I was really happy to get to introduce this food to my lovely classmates.

After filling in our tummy with various kind of foods, we started to play games and shared the story about our life. My friend from Russia brought a special drink from his country and introducing the way to drink with “Russian Style”. We also played “Guess the Movie” game together where someone had to describe a movie title with body gestures or drawing some pictures and the rest of us will guess the movie title. We can’t stop laughing and we felt happy together even though we are all far far away from our home.

Throughout this event, I really feel like I can get closer to my classmates. Sometimes, we are too busy working on our assignments or doing something else outside class that we forgot to socialise with people whom we met every day in class. For me, homesick attack is coming to me quite often and I can’t help myself to not complain about life. But on event like this where you can play, share and listen to the stories from your classmates, you will somehow feel like “Hey, chill! You are not alone here. You are here to discover yourselves and get to know others better. Be strong and you will be a better YOU!”.

I highly recommend this cultural food night event to be held in another class in Lancaster University. Not only we get the experience of tasting the whole new savory from another part of the world, but we would also be able to get to know about interesting culture and stories about another country. Additionally, this kind of event makes us realise that we are struggling here in Lancaster together and you don’t have to feel alone, because you are not! 🙂

 

Come, get yourself a taste of Lancaster!

Come around here, and experience all the tastes LUMS has to offer!

LumsCupcakes Ipshitha

Hola! I am Ipshita and currently pursuing a MSc in Human Resources and Knowledge Management. This is not my first time in the UK, nor is it my first time in Lancaster, but it is the first time I have been here for more than just a summer school or a holiday. I have travelled quite a bit, almost to 13 countries and a few times alone as well. I flew alone for the first time when I was 6, but this is the first time I have ever lived by myself for a whole year! As life is, there have been ups and downs, but the best things are so worthy that I would never trade them for anything else.

I am fond of travelling, meeting new people and experiencing cultures. I remember a new module we started in the second term, the professor decided to ask everyone to introduce themselves, as he wrote down all their native countries on the board. He started with the last row, there were 10 students and all 10 of them were from 10 different countries! Could you believe that? In total, there were 37 students from 18 different countries! Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, France, Greece, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and the United Kingdom. It was the first time that it really hit me that I am actually studying in a truly global environment. Not to mention the friends I have made from many other countries.

Apart from academics, this experience is also enriching because of how I have grown internally. Stepping away from your comfort zone can really do wonders! (those quotes you see on Instagram or tumbler are true!) The magic actually happens outside your comfort zone.

There were all sorts of things I was worried about before coming. I have always been the younger kid in the class. When the course was about to begin, I thought to myself “A 20-year-old kid doing masters? Nah, they will for sure treat me like a baby”. I was pretty wrong. I have gotten to know people from all walks of life and I have learnt a great deal from every single one of them.
Also, before the course began, I wanted a self-sufficient studio because I did not know what kind of people I might have to share my flat with. I am glad I chose an en-suite room with a sharing kitchen,  I have made some of the best friends I could on my flat. Moreover, I have actually learnt to cook a few good meals from scratch! [mind that, ramen noodle is not cooking].

The experience is not just the academics, being here at Lancaster University is a package of an experience!