Differences between UK and international university life

Cool, fresh air with the smell of grass, is the first thing I noticed when I first arrived in this country. After a 10-hour international flight from China, I stood in this foreign city called Sheffield, staring at people with different colour of skin and hair walking pass me; I felt scared, excited and confused.

Everything was so different from home: the men dressed in long coats like Sherlock Holmes, coffee in their hands as they caught the train to work. In China, people drink soybean milk and sit in traffic jams for three hours just to get to an office 50 miles away from home. In England, there are always toilet tissues in the bathroom and you never need to worry about that they are going to run out, and the weather forecast is never reliable.

At the beginning, local students couldn’t even pronounce my name correctly and I always felt left out. However, after attending a wide range of university fairs, I started having fun and making friends from different countries (I couldn’t even dream about that when I was in China!). The university holds such a broad variety of events and I have never seen any universities in my home country with so many societies and clubs. Anything you are able to think of, there is a related student society or event.

The university also provides help for any kinds of problems that a new international student might be facing. For example, if I want to improve my English, I can go to the English Language Teaching Centre. If I need help with study skills, I can go to the 301 Skills and Development Centre or, if I’m feeling blue, I can go to see an adviser from the Student Advice Centre in the Students’ Union.

The biggest concern of lots of university students is whether we can find good jobs after graduation. My friends back home often complain about how much work they will have to do to find a job,  such as searching alone on the internet in order to find job information, and having to work out what to put on their CVs all by themselves. However, at the University of Sheffield, the Careers Service can help me to enhance my CV and the tutors from our department will guide us to make choices about our future careers even when we are first years.

I really enjoy the university life here and I am looking forward to sharing my experiences and helping other international students to enjoy it as well.

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