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Liverpool people really want you to love their city; First-year Liverpool University student, Jane Ford, 19,gives her first impressions of her new home after a week in the city.

Byline: Jane Ford

LEAVING home for the first time is a traumatic change, a key event that marks your transition into the adult world.

And this is my second attempt. Having gone to the University of Birmingham this time last year -and withdrawn from the course just before the end of the first term -I feel under additional pressure to get things right.

Being new to Liverpool my feelings are very mixed: at once excited at the prospect of studying in a city voted Capital of Culture 2008,but also anxious about the reputation and safety of a city considerably larger than my home town of Stoke.

At Derby and Rathbone Hall on Sunday,September 21, the sun was shining and it was uncharacteristically hot for a day so late in the year. What struck me was that the staff and everyone I talked to were incredibly friendly and willing to help.

People in Liverpool really seem to want you to love their city. Talking to a local couple,Brad and Jenny,at the Brookhouse pub on my first night,I seemed to get a sense of how passionate people are about this place. Whether enthusing about the best clubs and bars or telling me about the attractions of the city, third-year students and locals alike all have the same affection for the place.

The town centre has a lively buzz, with buskers and Big Issue sellers giving the streets a sense of character that you dont find in Stoke.

Being new to the area,I got lost on more than one occasion,finding the layout difficult to familiarise myself with. This wasn't a problem though as, unlike in many larger towns, people are willing to give their time to help you find your way.

Obviously Liverpool, like other cities has its problems, though the people seem to deal with them with a sense of humour: One beggar asked for petrol money for his Ferrari!

I'm not really religious but I went to visit the Anglican Cathedral which was very impressive.

On Monday evening we went to some of the bars around the city centre. The sheer concentration of people and queues for the bar initially seemed a little intimidating, though I soon warmed to the lively music and good mix of people. Starting off in Baa Bar, progressing to Modo and eventually landing in Walkabout near Concert Square,I sampled three very different scenes: the cheap drinks and loud music, the sophisticated set-up and the apparent lack of taste or style respectively.

I was advised that Liverpool is mainly dance music-orientated and, with the annual Cream dance festival being held here,I was anxious that there wouldn't be many alternatives. However on Thursday night I went to the Krazyhouse. The cheap drink and a mix of in die and rock music soon dispelled any doubts I had.

There seems to be a wide choice of music venues around the city. On Friday, Wheatus played the Liverpool Academy, supported by two talented support bands, Fin and The North. I liked the venue itself,being quite intimate but yet not too small to accommodate a good number of fans.

Being a big music fan, it was important for me to study in a place that has a lot to offer musically and with the next few weeks set to see the likes of Capdown, British Sea Power and Damien Rice play, I don't think I'll be disappointed.

The university precinct is quite concentrated and finding my way around it doesn't present too much of a problem -though registration and the general administrative tasks of the first few days could have gone a little more smoothly.

Having only been here for such a short amount of time there are still so many things to do and places to go. I have merely scratched the surface.

But my first impression is that I find Liverpool exceptionally friendly and with so much going on,I know that I'vemade the right decision in coming here.


A PLUS: English literature student Jane Ford who is making herself at home in Liverpool
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 29, 2003
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