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

Making awesome international friends without teaching them your language

Lately I realised that none of my best international friends were met during language exchange. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy taking part in “tandems”, and I have a great time in conversation clubs such as One World Café (every Thursday 4-6pm in Foundry).

Although one of my best friends was my tandem partner at first, within two exchange sessions we had both reverted to English (which is not our native language). Here is the catch: good language exchange is about being focused on learning, but I have found it impossible to force myself to study grammar when I could discuss world food or the condition of women in different countries instead! So my friend and I just started to get coffee & chat while I found another person to study Mandarin on the side. Continue reading

Bank holidays

Going through the e-mails that we are being bombed with every day (yes, I actually open all of them), I noticed one that said Sport Sheffield Bank Holiday opening hours. If I actually went to the gym, I would have been genuinely interested to know when I would be able to use it over Easter. Since I don’t, I don’t really care, but another thing caught my eye in that e-mail. So, it seems that all their facilities are closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday because they are bank holidays, but on Saturday and Easter Sunday, they are open as normal. So wait, let me get this straight, you are open on Easter Sunday, which is the biggest Christian holiday in the whole year, but you are closed on Easter Monday? Remind me again, what was the big thing that happened on Easter Monday according to the Bible? Exactly, not that much. Everybody was still excited by the Resurrection from the day before. How does that makes sense? Mind you, this is not aimed against Sport Sheffield per se; most things in Britain will work like that this weekend. At least Christmas still counts as a bank holiday…Doesn’t it? Continue reading