Manchester Living – by Nara Garcia Boveda

Nara shares her experiences living in Manchester, as an international student at the RNCM

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Outside the National Football Museum in Manchester

When you hear Manchester, as a person that isn’t from the UK, I guess the first thing that comes to mind is football. That’s been my experience – and every time I mention I live there, people start talking about football players I’ve never heard of!

What a lot of people don’t know about, though, are the hidden gems of Manchester and the very special vibe this city has surrounding its art scene.

There are many subcultures in this metropolitan city. There are skateparks if you’re interested in skating (which became very popular during lockdown); or parks where you can go for a walk, like Alexandra Park; or taking a stroll around the Northern Quarter, where the essence of the city is completely different. Manchester has different vibes according to what you may be feeling.

We have started our second term of the year which, for me, went past so quickly yet so slowly. In term one, I was in the UK doing my studies part remotely and partly one-on-one where possible.

Now I’m back home – my heart’s home is Paraguay as I’m from there, but my home right now is Morocco, as my mother is here. I’m doing my studies 100% remotely and slowly approaching the end – meeting deadlines, doing formative assessments, and preparing for my final recital.

Organisational skills have been a focus of this year for me, as time seems to be a concept that gets blurry the more we are in front of our computers! I found it very helpful to start journaling everything I do at the end of each day; that way I keep myself mindful of my day-to-day routine.

I’ve also been giving myself credit for how much I have accomplished so far, as well as chilling and having downtime when needed. Keeping ourselves active and finding people to keep accountable with is also very important. If we support each other it all becomes a little more bearable.

For the past four years of my studies at the RNCM, I’m most grateful for the memories I’ve made with the talented people I’ve been lucky enough to meet here.

Nights out with RNCM friends

Equally, studying here gives you room to collaborate and share different interests and ideas regarding art and music – with students on both the classical and pop courses, or with international and home students.

It’s fascinating to talk to people that come from different backgrounds and what you learn from talking with your peers is sometimes what can inspire your own practices and studies. Moreover, Zoom calls have become a great source of communication, so don’t be afraid to ask people to make a Zoom call with you, you can still share a cuppa or coffee over the cam.

Exploring Manchester pre-Covid

Right now, I miss Manchester because of my friends – and for the past three and a half years I’ve called that city home – but I’m positive I’ll be back soon and I’m looking forward to when the time comes for us to share a cup of coffee in the refectory between classes, or inviting friends over and listening to new artists with each other.

Until then, just a few pieces of advice from me on getting through lockdown:

  1. Be flexible with yourself. Things take time and patience.
  2. Enjoy the journey before you arrive at the destination.
  3. Breathe in and out if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Thanks for reading!



Nara is a fourth year student on our Popular Music course. For more information about studying at the RNCM, check out our Study Here section.


26 January 2021