Whether you’ve spent the summer celebrating your A Level results or you’re returning to education after a relaxing gap year, Freshers’ Week will definitely be a memorable and exciting time for you! Starting a new degree, making new friends, moving cities or maybe even moving countries, you’ll have a lot of new things to get going with right away. However, all this can seem a little daunting if you’re also trying to make halal choices and looking for Muslim friendly alternatives whilst settling into student life…but there’s no need to despair! ISoc presents to you the ‘Freshers’ Survival Guide for Muslim Students’, your very own guide packed with useful information and tips on making the most of your time at Manchester as a Muslim student. We hope it helps as you start your exciting new life as a uni student!
As you are about to find out, keeping your finances in order is very important, especially at university. Handling your personal savings as well as your student loan wisely is a must!…because there are a lots of necessary purchases you will have to make as a student. For example, some course units require you to purchase a compulsory book, which can be costly. To avoid paying too much for books, keep a look-out for second hand book sales and also try getting your books online at sites such as Amazon. Whilst budgeting, you’ll also need to open a student bank account. Though there are lots of halal banking options out there, you do need to be careful. For example, most banks charge interest if you go over a certain limit on your overdraft, so make sure you ask these important questions before opening your student account. Here are a few links you may find helpful:
Making your way around uni can be difficult at the best of times, so if you haven’t already done so, you should definitely get hold of a campus map from the Visitor’s Centre in University Place. The Visitor’s Centre is full of all sorts of info that a Fresher may want to know about, so do check it out. If you are looking for places to pray whilst you’re at uni then you’re in luck, because the Manchester campus has great facilities available to Muslim students.
There are two main prayer halls available that cater to the student body, South Campus Prayer Hall (McDougalls) and North Campus Prayer Hall (Sackville Street). The McDougal’s prayer centre is located on Burlington St behind John Rylands library and is a purpose built facility looked after and run by the Islamic Society on behalf of the university. The North Campus prayer room (also known as UMIST Mosque) is located in the basement of the Sackville St building (enter via buildings back entrance on Granby Row and go down stairs on the left). The term prayer hall really doesn’t do either of them justice because there’s always plenty going on, so they’re well worth a visit at prayer time and otherwise, especially if you’re looking to socialise with members of the Isoc or other Muslim students on campus.
North Campus Prayer Hall is marked number 1 on the Manchester University Campus Map, where as the South Campus Prayer Halls is marked 91. There is also a multi-faith prayer room called the Walkway Prayer Room. This is a small facility available above the St Peters House and Chaplaincy, it is used by many but without wudhu facilities. The entrance is opposite the Precinct library, upstairs in the Precinct. It is number 32 on the campus map. There is also a nearby mosque on Upper Brook Street (parallel to Oxford Road) called Manchester Islamic Academy. It is next to the Ferrari and BMW showrooms. The address can be found in the Prayer Rooms section of this guide.
If you’re off campus in the city centre, there are places to pray there too. The Muslim Youth Foundation is a mosque located just a few minutes walk from The Arndale Shopping Centre.
If you’re in the Arndale Centre itself, you can pray in Arndale Prayer Room situated on the ground floor next to Phones 4 U. Though the room is modest and without wudu facilities, its really comes in handy if you’re on a shopping spree and don’t want to leave the Arndale Centre!
The Students’ Union is a democratic body, set up to accommodate and represent YOU the student. It is independent from the university which means it exists not to favour lecturers or staff, but to stand purely for students and their needs. And not only do students vote in annual Union elections as part of a democratic process, they actually run in them too! Which means us students have the power to run the Union how we want it to be run, and hopefully influence student life for the better.
The Islamic Society encourages its members to get involved in the Students Union, vote in general meetings, form societies, hold council members to account and run for elections. As conscious Muslim members of the student body, it is our responsibility to play an active role in how decisions are made in the university and to represent our fellow Muslim students at Manchester.
If you would like to know more about getting involved in the Students’ Union or running for elections to become part of the student council, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to get involved in activities outside your degree course, as most students do, now is the perfect time because Manchester University has one of the largest Student Unions in Europe!- you literally have dozens and dozens of societies, groups, campaigns, charities to choose from! The best way to get to know more about the various societies on offer is by visiting their stalls in the Freshers’ Fair, where you can ask questions, sign up and get involved. You could perhaps sign up for the International Society and learn a new language…or why not go bouldering with the Rock Climbing society! The range of stuff available is huge so make sure you set aside a few hours for the Freshers Fair. Though the Fair is ridiculously busy and stuffy, its well worth a visit if you plan to be an active student outside of your degree. For a full list of societies catered by the Student Union, visit:
The Islamic Society aims to invite and welcome more Freshers than ever before this year inshAllah. Our aim is to unite Muslim students from all backgrounds and walks of life under one society, where we can come together, connect, share our knowledge and grow as Muslims. We also aim to give dawah to non-Muslim students on campus and spread Islam awareness throughout the student body. The Islamic Society aims to provide socials and events of all varieties, from spiritual retreat camps to quizzes to dinners to talks and everything in between! So do make the Isoc Freshers Fair stall your first stop at Freshers Fair and please stay involved with us throughout the year.
One of the best things about starting uni is that you get to do a big shop for all the stuff you’ll need for the coming year! If you’re living away from home, there’s probably loads of stuff you’ll need now that you’ve flown the nest, especially if you want to keep growing and learning as a Muslim student. Conveniently, Wilmslow Road has two main Islamic stores from which you can get hold of anything from adhaan clocks to help you get up for fajr to hijabs and jilbabs for sisters wanting to kit their wardrobes out. And of course, both stores offer a wide range of Islamic Books on every topic imaginable. Products are reasonably priced and both stores are easy to reach since there are plenty of buses running through Wilmslow Road so why not pay them a visit. Addresses follow below.
The World of Islam
211 Wilmslow Road
Rolex Books (don’t be fooled by the name, they stock books and much more!)
81-83 Wilmslow Road
Though on a budget, even students want to do a bit of retail therapy! Manchester provides you with both budget basting places for student living to high end shops for splashing out.
Right at the centre of city, the Arndale Shopping Centre and Market Street have all the high street shops, ranging for student-loving Primark right up to Selfridges. Find out more on:
If you want to make it into a whole-day affair, why not grab the bus to Trafford Centre, where you’ll find tonnes of shops all under one roof.
You can find halal food in abundance in and around campus. Places like Babylon, Pizza Co., Abduls and Poppilonos are conveniently situated on Oxford road giving you a chance to grab a quick halal bite to eat between lectures. Even in north campus there is a Dixy nearby and the city centre is walking distance away. If you have more time on your hands, you can try the famous Curry Mile, situated on Wilmslow Road where you can find all varieties of halal take-aways and restaurants.
If you want to eat in, you’re in luck too, as Worldwide Cash & Carry on Wilmslow Road provides all the groceries you could want, or you could travel to Stockport Road in Longsight with a few more Halal Cash & Carries. If it’s a supermarket you’re after there’s a big Asda in Hulme, just a bus ride away.
Mid-way Meat Store
42-44 Wilmslow Road
Other accommodation you may want to check out, offered by Manchester Uni:
St Gabriels Hall (Victoria Park) – female only
Saint Anselm Hall (Victoria Park) – male only
Visit University of Manchester Accommodation for more info.
Sport is really big at Manchester Uni but if you’re not into joining a uni team, there are other options out there! Sugden Sports Centre is located on campus and includes a fitness suite, workout studio, squash courts, 5-a-side pitch and much more and since the centre is funded by The University of Manchester, you’re can also entitled to a rather handy student discount.
Further out from campus in Fallowfield you’ll find the Armitage Centre. Much like Sugden, this is a site affiliated with Manchester University wtih badminton courts, table tennis, aerobics classes and much more. For prices and more details, have a look at: Armitage Centre
For a more comprehensive list of leisure centres in Manchester and more info on anything sports related in Manchester, visit the Manchester City Council website:
Sisters might be interested to know that the Aquatics Centre (which is just a short walk from the uni campus) offers Ladies only swimming on Friday nights from 7pm. Provided you present your uni card, its only £2.80 per session and access to the gym is also available for use. And if you’re not a great swimmer or are interested in gym classes instead, they offer those too. Best thing to do for more info is to visit the Aquatics Centre and speak to a rep about what’s on offer and bring your student card along for a discount!
Alternatively, brothers will be glad to know that male only swimming sessions are held on Wednesdays from 9 till 10pm and Sundays from 2.30 till 3.30pm. Entry fee is £1.90 (or free with gym membership card) at the Aquatics Centre and the service is open to the public, not just students.
The Manchester Aquatics Centre
2 Booth Street (off Oxford Road)
Manchester, M13 9SS
Travel in and around campus couldn’t be easier! There’s a free bus service (Bus Number 147) dedicated for students & staff, starting at Bus Stop C on Fairfield Street, near Piccadilly Rail Station and calls at Sackville Street, MMU, Royal Northern College of Music, The Dental Hospital, Oxford Road (South Campus), Manchester Eye Hospital, Saint Mary’s Hospital and A+E & Manchester Royal Infirmary. Your journey will be free provided you can show your uni card, or 50p without it. For more information about travel, check out University of Manchester Travel by Bus and Coach
If you’re gonna be using the bus services a lot, it might be an idea to purchase a Unirider. A Unirider buspass only requires you to make a one-off payment; a term pass will allow you unlimited travel on any Stagecoach or Magic Bus, whereas an annual pass lasts from September at the start of your academic year to right to the end of June. More details and prices can be found at: Stagecoach Unirider
If you’re going to be regularly travelling on buses other than Stagecoach or Magic bus, then a Systems One Travel Card may be more suited to you. Visit their website to find out more: System One Travel Cards
For a one-off trip, you can buy day tickets & weekly tickets from the bus drivers. Ask your bus driver for more info!
A good website to add to your ‘Favourites’ is Public Transport Information for Greater Manchester. It contains further information about tickets, passes, bus timetables, journey planning and much more!