As an international student from China, I completed my undergraduate years back home and made this bold decision to pursue my study in a different country. So on a drizzling, gloomy morning in early September, I was standing in front of the railway station of Sheffield with two large suitcases, struggling to find my way back to university accommodation. Having never lived or studied in another country before, I was completely overwhelmed by the new life I was about to live when I first got here.
Now having been at university for a whole month, I was amazed to find out so many differences between the school here and in China. The campus is scattered all around the city, with so many buildings and facilities for us to explore whereas, in China, we have a fixed area where all the accommodations, shops and facilities are in one place. Before I came here, I also didn’t expect the school accommodation to be so far away from the main campus, because back at home the school accommodation is just five-minutes walking distance away from the teaching buildings. Now it always takes me over 20 minutes to get to class, but I am getting used to it.
The accommodation too is very different. In my old university, four students share one small room, along with a shared bathroom and a balcony. Each student has a studying desk, and the bed is set up above the desk. But here students can have more privacy with a single room of their own. I can now play music or watch videos without having to wear headphones and worry about disturbing others. And now I can even cook my own comfort meals after coming back from a long, tiring day at school. In China, all universities have several canteens for students to have meals between classes. But here we have a more various choices of where to have our lunch. Small cafes are all around campus, and there are also many cozy fancy restaurants which offer a good deal for students.
Classes can be very different too. Back in my undergraduate years, lectures were the only way of teaching. I simply just went to attend the lectures, listening to what the teachers have to say and taking notes. But for my classes now, we not only have big lectures, but also group seminars where students can exchange ideas, and workshops where we can do practical work. I am now doing a course in Journalism, and I usually either spend the entire afternoon editing photos or videos, or wandering around the city with a camera, trying to find some good stories to write about. I feel that I am learning so many practical skills now which will be very helpful for my future career.
Indeed my life has completely changed ever since I started my life here in Sheffield. I have seen beautiful scenery I had never seen before, I have tried food which looked weird to me, I have made friends from all over the world, and most of all, I am living and enjoying a brand new school life that is totally worth living for.