Manuela Cabrera Duran is a Colombian in the UK. After finishing a Bachelor’s degree in Colombia, she decided to move to the UK do her Masters here. She is currently doing a PhD in Civil Engineering.


“I came to the UK 2 years ago as an international master’s student. I felt so lost and lonely! I had no experience traveling, British accent was a nightmare and speaking to people was my biggest fear. Well, it didn’t take that long for me to realise that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. Nottingham welcomed me with lots of events, specially at uni, where people were making fun out of it, constantly pointing out that it’s all part of the experience and many others have survived.

My favourite part: the multicultural experience! that’s what I like the most about this city. Finding people from all over the world in every single corner is amazing and not only that, they’re always willing to talk to you, share a bit of their experiences and getting to know you better. My favourite part comes after saying the magical words: I’m from Colombia. This causes so many reactions “Wow Colombia! So far away!” ”I love Shakira!” “I like Latin American accent” “James Rodriguez is my favourite football player” and so many others… people not only know a bit of my country but also (and most importantly) they want to learn more. Knowing we have all the same struggles creates powerful bonds and friendships! I wouldn’t say you can’t find internationals in Colombia, but generally they’re tourists so I can’t connect as well as I do here. In other words, I can’t feel one of them.

Last but not least, I have to say love walking and biking in this city! Feeling the breeze in my face while I wonder around Wollaton park or stepping on the frosty paths in Highlands park just make me full of joy. People would choose to visit these places in summer when it’s “nice and warm”, but as a person who has only seen snow once, believe me, winter walks are pure joy to me. 

I guess the feeling of experiencing new things all the time, the fact there is always something to see and to learn, the feeling of constant growing as a student and as a person, all these reasons and more have made me fall in love with Nottingham, the city of the eternal student mood 😊. “