Adulting: the balancing act

University is a whole new ballgame which requires any new player to learn the rules. However, there are no written rules and it’s all trial and error. I mean, what’s the fun in rules anyway? Well, let me tell you what isn’t very fun for most people – adulting. Obviously, not everyone will have the same experience and will have different living situations, but people living whether a two-hour train ride or a 12-hour plane ride away from home will know what I mean. From my experience so far, living alone is the never-ending balancing act between adulting and university work.

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A breath of fresh air in the Steel City

Having lived here for nearly two months now, the Sheffield lifestyle is definitely a fresh breathe of air from the loud, hectic and boisterous lifestyle of Nairobi. With incredible architecture all over the city, it’s definitely a place I love getting lost in during my lazy Sundays. Walking down cobblestone foot paths with a Costa cup, bundled up in my parka and possibly looking like an Eskimo, I enjoy the quirky streets splashed with graffiti and lots of weird and historic structures strewn all over the place.

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Top 5 tips for international postgraduate students: make the most out of your time at university

I came to Sheffield from Malaysia in 2012 as an international student, studying LLB Law. I completed my undergraduate degree in 2015. I then decided after three years of employment (also here in Sheffield), that Sheffield is the city I would like to do my Masters too (that proves to you how much I love Sheffield!) In comparison to most international postgraduate students who only just started their first year in Sheffield, I’m in a better position as I have already known the city inside-out as well as university life.

A lot of international postgraduate students found it difficult to make the most out of their time at university as postgraduate course could be really intense, and usually by the time they start to get a grip on everything, it’s time for them to say goodbye. So as someone who has been here long enough, here are my top 5 tips to make the most out of your time at university:

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My history of settling into new places all around the world

Settling in a new place can be a daunting experience indeed, especially when you’re facing this prospect for the first time. Trust me – I know what I’m talking about. Raised in an average German city as the only child of loving parents, the event of my graduation from secondary school and my thus forthcoming departure from the life I knew so far gave me more than just one restless night. Not only did I have no idea what to expect from the coming months, but I also enrolled at a university that happened to be situated at the opposite side of the country. I was leaving my family, friends and even my beloved guitar behind, which had accompanied me for the best part of my life. I was frightened of pretty much everything from bureaucratic duties to how I would perform in class.

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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