Lessons learnt from the first semester

The first semester was anything but easy for me. I am a first year international student so most of the first semester was spent settling in into Sheffield. Additionally, I had to study, participate in extra-curricular activities, make friends and settle into university life at the same time. It was super overwhelming and I feel like if I had known earlier that this would be the case, I would have been more prepared and would have handled the situation better. But I did not and these are the some of the lessons I learnt from the first semester as an international student. Continue reading

Why did I choose Sheffield again?

It’s that time of the year, end of February, almost going onto March, when students start wondering: should I apply for a Masters or not? Or, at least, this was me last year, so time for reminiscing with a oldie goldie question: why did I choose Sheffield again?

When I was a fresher, I used to be asked all the time why I chose to study in Sheffield. And I used to invoke all the “prospectus” type reasons: Russell Group University, top league for my Department, number one Students’ Union, green city, safe city, cheap city, not too North, not too South, a friendly place, had friends here. Sometimes I would raise my shoulders and say: just had a hunch? Continue reading

Chinese New Year at Sheffield

I have a love-hate relationship on how Sheffield semester dates always, always coincide with Chinese New Year.

I remember my first year here at Sheffield celebrating Chinese New Year. It is customary for family members to gather and have dinner together on Chinese New Year’s Eve. Since I’m so far away from home, my mum had suggested me to ‘have dinner’ with them via FaceTime (this was really a brilliant idea). What replaces me on my house’s dining table is an iPad and what replaces my mum’s delicious cooking is some Chinese takeout left from the night before. Continue reading

My first holiday in Sheffield

The end of the year is fast approaching and everyone is looking forward to the one month holiday break and the start of a new year. This is on one of my favourite times of the year and I really like Sheffield during this season. It’s cheerful, vibrant and festive. Oh and the lights! I don’t know about you but I love the lights. One of the highlights of the season this year, at least for me, is the Christmas market. I really enjoyed walking through the market and seeing what each stall had to offer; from the beautiful jewellery pieces to the delicious sweets that were on display. Continue reading

On being a first year International Student

“Have I made the right decision?” , “What exactly am I doing?”, “How will I cope?” , “What if I don’t fit in?” , “What if I don’t make any friends?”.

These were some of the questions that were running through my mind on the day I started my journey to Sheffield.

Many of us feel scared from time to time, which is normal. I just never thought that I’d be feeling this way on my way to Sheffield from Nairobi, Kenya. You see, this is my first time in England and the longest time I’ve been away from home so I did not know what to expect once I arrived. Before the day of the much anticipated flight, I had felt happy, excited, anxious and even sad. However, I was not scared so I was shocked when I was overwhelmed by this feeling as I was just about to board the plane. Continue reading

Let’s talk about friends

Years ago, when I was still a teenager dreaming about a fairy tale future, I decided I could never go and live abroad. It would be too hard to leave my friends behind, and I would not have the heart to do it.

Last November, after I’d been living abroad for about two months, I wrote the following after a desperately needed walk;

“…while I was out on my walk I was overcome with a feeling of deep love for this city and how it has welcomed me with many wonderful new experiences, opportunities and friends. At the same time I felt completely heartbroken that I wasn’t able to share this newfound love with my best friends from home. And that’s what being homesick is like for me.” Continue reading

A brand new start in Sheffield

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. Continue reading