Caóimhe Scholes, 18, from Northern Ireland and living in Peel Park Quarter, Salford.

As an 18-year-old moving from Northern Ireland, leaving my friends and family, knowing that I won’t see them again until Christmas was difficult. It was a decision that took a lot of mulling over but ultimately, knowing the opportunities Salford provides, as an aspiring Journalist, I couldn’t say no. There is so much culture and diversity in Salford providing a never-ending amount of story opportunities and with studying at Media City there are endless job opportunities too!
However, moving from a small town surrounded by fields and mountains to a city full of busy people and high-rise buildings is daunting. You suddenly feel very small, minuscule. And with the current pandemic my opportunities to meet new people have been limited. With no fresher’s week and no face-to-face classes, the possibility to make new friends has been more difficult than previously anticipated. Luckily, I share an apartment with interesting people. We have found ourselves playing card games every night and I firmly believe that I will be an UNO master by the end of the month.
From the day I received the email saying I got accepted into the University of Salford, I was excited; Excited to meet new people, excited to start working towards my future and mostly, excited to have complete independence. It’s widely known that in Irish culture mothers will do anything and everything for their children. Even statistics show that, on average, Irish children move out of their parent’s house at the age of 27 compared to England’s 22. So, since my mum didn’t want to push me to be an adult just yet, I wanted to do it myself. Although, maybe it was a bit premature as I may have forgotten to put washing detergent into my darks wash (please don’t tell my mum).
One side effect of studying away from home that I found difficult to deal with was leaving my sister. Throughout lockdown we became quite close as we only really had each other to annoy. So, living away from Leah I miss out on all her ‘quirks’. Like the crude jokes she spues out every minute of the day; the bursting into my room and tackling me; the intense FIFA matches where we would get so loud it would result in our mum getting a headache; and the speaking ‘in code’ as my parents liked to call it as we had made our own series of inside jokes that would make us bust out into tears laughing at the dinner table. Without this, I felt like I was missing out but thankfully social media exists so we can still bombard each other on every platform available.
From what I have experienced so far, university life is certainly different to the life I had back in Rostrevor. Although, with the changes made due to the pandemic, the life that was once ‘normal’ to us all was going to change. So far, I’m enjoying my new life here in Salford and I can’t wait to discover more about the city and about the people and communities within it.

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