An automatic would be good for learning the basic functions of a car... and also to take your test, since it'd be less to deal with. To learn manual, go to a flat parking lot or very low-traffic road and practice shifting between the lower gears. It takes practice to get timing right on the gas and clutch. Once you get the hang of that you can go out into city traffic, or even practice shifting up a hill.
My first three cars were stick-shift although I learned to drive with an automatic. It's way too much when your first learning but once you get driving down start to learn stick shift. it will take 1-3 days to figure it out, then months to actually get good at it but it's a great skill to know early in your driving.