Thursday, 1 September 2016

Applying to the University of Sheffield from Russia and the CIS Countries

Hey everyone! So today I wanted to talk about a very requested topic.

I get a lot of questions asking me how exactly to come and study at The University of Sheffield. Today I will give you the information mainly about applying for the Undergraduate Courses today, but overall the process is not that much more different for the Postgrad students!

The first thing that is worth mentioning is that before coming to the University in England I did a program called International Baccalaureate (IB) in college in Oxford. I left my school in Russia after the 9th grade, did a year of preparation in St. Clare's Oxford - my college and then went on studying IB at the same place. This was an equivalent of the high-school for me and allowed me to apply to the University through the same system that all of the British school-leavers do, without passing any specific English exams.

Even though this made my admission to this university a tiny bit easier (in sense of documentation only), this doesn't mean that you cannot apply straight after finishing school in Russia!

Step 1: Research

The first thing that you should know is what course do you want to study. Therefore the first thing you should do is research, research and some more research! You can find Undergraduate courses you are interested in through this link, Taught Postgraduate courses - here. You should have a good idea about what exactly do you want to study - this is because the entry requirements might vary for different courses.

Make sure you choose a course you are interested in!
Step 2: UCAS

The second thing to know is that the University applications in England must be made through Universities and Colleges Admissions Service or UCAS. This means that to apply to study at the university in England you will need to apply through this website. Important thing to know before applying is that you will be asked to write a Personal Statement - a 4,000 character letter explaining your University what makes you a great student and why should they accept you. You can find more advice about the personal statements through this link

Useful tip: UCAS allows you to apply to 5 universities and most of the time your personal statement must be universal for all of them.

UCAS Application Form
Step 3: Exams

The last thing that you need to know are the IELTS requirements for the course you chose.  IELTS is the test that proves your English language abilities and it contains 4 parts : Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading. Your IELTS requirements might vary with the course you decide to study. IMPORTANT!  Since the regulations changed in 2014 to apply for the British Visa you need to pass IELTS for UKVI in the special centers, and not just a general IELTS. So take this into consideration when choosing your exam. You can find more information about IELTS here.

Overall, those are the main facts you need to know about and consider while applying to the University of Sheffield! Another option you have when applying is to complete a one year course at the International College before coming to study at the University to improve your English and get used to a new education system. I will tell you more about the International Office in the next post!

I hope that this information was useful :)

Take care, 
Polina International Office Ambassador Russia

Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Peak Cave visit, Castleton

                                                The Peak Cave visit, Castleton

The closest adventurous place near Sheffield has always been the Peak District. It’s an amazing place for trekking amidst dense woodlands along the prominent porter valley river and riverine river as it is in the country side but I never knew there is this amazing show cave to discover that was used by the lead miners once. It is also known as the devil’s arse because of the noise of Peakshole water moving in and out of the cave after flooding. It has an interesting layer of rock formation of stalactites of limestone which was naturally formed and thought provoking historical background stories to hear. Though it is a guided tour, it really felt scary to go inside deeper as it was totally pitch black dark.

There are buses that leave from Sheffield to the Peak district Castleton, Derbyshire. It roughly takes an hour to reach. They have tours every hour, and the fees are very nominal. Very close to this mysterious cave lies another underground river cave, called the Speed Well. Tickets, when visiting both are given concessions and costs around £15. This journey particularly thrills you more as you got to sail on a boat into the cave tunnel. All you can see is water and few dim lights suggesting a direction. There is no way out once you have boarded and have started your journey and is one-mile-long tunnel with just sufficient head height after you are seated. But definitely safety is considered first and everyone is instructed by the guides to wear the hard hat to protect themselves from injuries against the rocks. The guides are really cool and entertaining as they have a lot of stories to share of the old times and some of them are haunted. They also give you a live demo of how ropes were made in those days to hang and go deep into the earth. The best part is when you go inside you feel a bit colder, as the inside temperature is 10 degrees naturally and when you return back you suddenly feel the mist inside the cave. It gives you a total different weather feeling because of the natural wind flow inside the tunnel. But having visited other caves, this is totally worth a visit as it lies amidst the picturesque Peak district and the lovely topographical changes just takes you amazed.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Fest Hub: Sheffield City of Festivals

"Fest hub" a phrase i coined following my recent experience in Sheffield from one even to the next Sheffield seems to have the energy and vibe to pull it off. May be this can be attributed to the community that want to see Sheffield remain a vibrant and interactive city that attracts the world to itself.
Shef Doc Fest 
If you are a lover of documentaries Sheffield host the grandest of them all drawing over 1000 documentary producers and hosting numerous events. Well, i recently got an opportunity to have a pick of it and attended two of the many events; Rwanda and Romeo, and the interview with Michael Moore. Sad though i never got the full experience due to other assignments, but glad all the same to have taken a piece of the "pie".

The summer season booms with life and festival from barbecues in the park, house parties to street carnivals that are a marvel. If you are a lover of street rock dance and party. Sheffield takes it to another level. The tramlines an inner city music festive makes partying part of a day to day living, a good thing if you ask me. As life is made up of music. With DJs mixing and dancing happening in the middle of the city streets life can not be so filling if you don't have a part of this experience. Well, I just had to say it Sheffield draws all to the city.
For the time I have been here I have not seen such a lively city that has no cultural boundaries and everyone feels at home in the streets, at home and in every social life. It true Sheffield is not only the Greenest City in Europe but if you asked me I would add "It is the City that defines Life and Living in Full".

Sheffield Food Festival
Writing about this still makes my mouth salivate. Will I never took photos to capture the moment the month of May ushered a great festival and those of us who love trying new cuisines from Asian, African, American and British Iconic cuisines you have food party at your disposal. Its said the way to a mans heart is through the stomach, but this misses the point and I dare add the way to a happy lady heart too is through a satisfying and well presented meal. From its restaurants to its food carnival Sheffield to me touches my soul this as the heart of unity can only be expressed when we share and enjoy food together. 

While there are many events that you could attend in Sheffield that would make your time in the city an adventure of a life time. The three events have made me discover the beauty of Sheffield as multicultural, diverse community, that has made me feel home away from home. From its landscape, the hills and its people, as a student you desire nothing short of a fulfilled experience, and Sheffield University and city crowns it.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Emily’s Mini European Tour

This May I was fortunate to have 2 friends make the trip across the pond to visit me in Sheffield.  Wanting to take advantage of the time they had in Europe, I organized 3 mini trips over 2 weeks.  Using airbnb and hostelworld for accommodation and Ryanair and EasyJet for travel, we managed to keep the trip affordable for 3 recent graduates. 

Starting off in London, I met my friends at Kings Cross Station after they arrived.  Getting straight into the must do tourist activities, we headed for platform 9 ¾ for a quick photo op. Over the next two days we managed to visit all of the top sites on our list including: Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, The London Eye, The Globe Theatre, Camden Market, and Piccadilly Circus among others.

Society Ball with great friends

After a wonderful few days in London, my friends and I traveled to Sheffield to attend the Public Health Society Ball.  Although jet lag was definitely hitting hard by this time, the three-course meal and live music definitely gave us an extra boost. 

Copenhagen- the city of bikes!

The morning after the ball, we departed for Copenhagen, Denmark for a weekend of bike riding and exploration of the colorful city.  From the Little Mermaid to Tivoli to the colorful canals, Copenhagen definitely makes it to the top of my list of must-sees. 

Chatsworth House

Leaving Copenhagen, with a newfound desire to become Danish, we returned to Sheffield.  Over the next two days we visited some of my favorite restaurants, including the Prince of Wales, and traveled to the Peak District to visit the quaint village of Bakewell, as well as Chatsworth House. 
Greeted by Guinness in Ireland!

The final leg of our journey led us to the popular city of Dublin, Ireland.  With 2 nights left on the whirlwind trip, we managed to visit the Guinness Museum, Temple Bar, St. Stephen’s Green, and several other attractions. 

Exhausted after 13 days of travel and fun, and I was sad to say goodbye, but happy to be returning to Sheffield, the city I now call home!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Sheffield: The Holistic Experience

There are many things that make the University of Sheffield a unique and outstanding premier institution. It’s diversity, wealth of culture, and harmonic community notwithstanding.   Simply put it is a fulfilling studying experience.
In my one year as Master students I have gained and learnt to appreciate the efficiency and reliability of systems that recognize and reward effort. Recently, I was privileged to have been part of a team that attended the REDD (Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradations) plus Oslo Exchange Conference in Norway. An international platform and instrument of global policing on climate change.

As a social science student the desire to interact and develop your policy skills remains a critical aspect of your studies both knowledge and practice whether as an undergraduate or as a postgraduate student. In recognizing this need, the university as an accredited institution of social research endeavours to facilitate this initiative through Global Leadership Initiative taking students on board as policy analyst. These global defining conference opportunities aim at nurturing students ‘global perspective on policy, and therefore present unique opportunities for learning, interacting with experts, aid in enabling career network, and witness defining moments of history. 
GLOSS stands for Global Learning Opportunities in the Social Sciences (GLOSS) and aims to promote student engagement in global learning. The scheme provides students with unique opportunities to understand their courses in an international context, actively engage with international policy makers, stakeholders and partners, and be involved in international research undertaken within the Faculty of Social Sciences. Gloss in 2016 alone has supported students to attend six international conference, with two lined up to happen in the beginning of fall.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Emily’s List of Confusing British Words

Although English is supposedly the first language of both Brits and Americans, in your time in Sheffield, you may start to think you aren’t speaking the same language at all. As an American in Sheffield, the first few weeks, and really the first year of stay, you are definitely going to encounter quite a few British words and phrases, but luckily, after 9 months or confusion, I have developed a short list of highly used words and what they mean. 

A&E- The Emergency Room- not the TV channel
Boot- trunk of a car
Cheeky- flippant, still can’t quite explain this one
Cheers- Thanks, or when drinking, “cheers”
College- the last 2 years of high school
Cuppa/brew- cup of tea
Dinner- this could sometimes actually mean dinner, but other times, depending on the mood, it could also mean lunch
Duck/chicken/love- a term of endearment, like “dear”
Eh-up- Hello
Fancy Dress- costume clothes for a party, not a ball gown
Hob- burner on a stove
Homely- “homey”
Mooch- casually use time, usually walking around somewhere “mooch around the shops”
Pants- underwear, American “pants” are trousers
Peckish- slightly hungry
Pudding- any dessert, not just Jell-o pudding
Quid- pound (like “dollar” and “buck”)
Revision/ to revise- to study for exams, not to revise a paper like we would say
Tea- this could actually mean tea, the drink, but it also can mean dinner, the meal
The/your local- the closest pub to where you live
To Let- for rent
Trolley- shopping cart, not a tram
Uni/ university- college
Wally- silly/stupid person
You alright/ Y’alright- a greeting that everyone says, although it makes you feel like you might have something wrong with you, they don’t mean it that way- basically it means “hello/ how are you”

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Tiffany's Final Blog Part 2: My three years in University of Sheffield

Hi everyone! I am Tiffany, International Office Ambassador from Hong Kong!

This is going to be my ultimate final post as I am graduating from University of Sheffield this summer. I am going to tell you what I love most about University of Sheffield and what I have learnt here at a place I proudly called home for three years.

1. People are the reason why Sheffield is the BEST! 

I am so grateful to meet so many AMAZING people in Sheffield. People that I know from Sheffield is a big reason why I fall in love with this place. I have met many friends and people who have the best quality & character; friendly, smart, courageous etc. I can always learn from people around me because in University of Sheffield you will be constantly surrounded by role models. I have also met many people that bring out the good in me and taught me how to be more caring and attentive by their action.

2. How I changed the way I study 

Academically, I have develop a whole new study habit. I was never the type of person who would raise their hands to answer questions during any lessons. Three years later, it has became an usual thing for me to join in discussions in class. I also find myself always going to office hour. The open door office hour sessions is very valuable resources, it helped me to keep up with school work and motivated me to start doing all my coursework early.

Now I would even find readings or articles to learn from outside of my course! I am very glad that I am even more keen to learn and study with a very different but positive attitude.

3. What I have learnt and some personal tips 

Living and studying in a foreign country for three years, I have matured a lot. I have learnt how to live a life on my own on top of all my sports team training and seminar readings. I am proud to say I can do all the cooking and washing up after an exhausted training session as well as finish all readings before my seminar. With the advantage of a city based student city, you will be living with your friends and have the best memories while skilled with household knowledge!

Another important lesson I have learnt is that it is always important to be yourself. During my time in university I have been trying to improve myself (not only academically) but I always make sure I am still being myself. Bare in mind you don't have to try to change yourself to fit in! There is a different between wanting to learn and be better as a person and forcing yourself to be someone else. University of Sheffield is very international with recognition of its diversity, there is always a place here in uni for everyone. All of you is unique and fabulous in their own way so keep being yourself!

Also, trust me there is no such thing as a comfort zone. Go and try out everything you want to try and you will surprise yourself.
*Don't just say it but take actual action*

It is a privilege to be able to study in Sheffield, take up every opportunities that you have in your university years as those are the moments that you learn and try out what you like and who you really want to be!

4. Being an International Office Ambassador 

I am so lucky to be able to become one of the international office ambassador. I loved every moment of it; from talking to applicants at work to having a chance to write this blog. Writing this last post ever has make me feeling emotional, it has been my pleasure to be able to share my stories and experiences to every single one of you!

Looking back at my three years at University of Sheffield, I can't help but smile because there have been too many great memories. I hope that all of you will look forward to university life in Sheffield reading this, as very soon you are going to create your very own Sheffield story. Sheffield has prepared me and made me better, now I am ready to take on my next adventure. Thank you very much University of Sheffield, I am already missing you!

By Tiffany Hiu Lam Kwong
Hong Kong Ambassador