Thursday, 30 June 2016

My Masters Dissertation - Masters in Law

While most undergraduate students have now gone back home for the summer, Masters and PhD students are still looming in the libraries to complete their dissertations. I was asked a few times by prospective Masters students on how the Masters course is structured and how I came up with my chosen topic for my dissertation.

I am currently working towards a LLM in Corporate and Commercial Law. Unlike other Masters degrees, a Law Masters require heavy researches and critically engaging arguments. I know some of my friends who are doing projects or experiments for their dissertations; a Law dissertation unfortunately does not have that. However, I am not complaining! I was surprised by the amount of knowledge that I have gained and how my essays have gotten better. After all, a Law student is required to know how to always support his or her point, while also acknowledging the flaw in their own arguments.

My dissertation topic is on the evaluation of the Enlightened Shareholder Value (ESV) in the UK Company Law. For law students, this will sounds familiar to you. Company law is not everyone's favourite because it has been deemed that it is too rigid and boring. I agree to a certain extent because the UK Company Law is codified and it is one of the largest (perhaps the largest too, I can't be sure) statutes in the UK.

For non-law students, my topic of dissertation is about the emphasis that the UK Company Law placed on putting the shareholders' interests first. In a company, there are many interests to look after: the company itself, the directors, the shareholders, the creditors, etc. The UK recognises the shareholders' interest first and this has drew some criticisms, because shareholders may not always understand the current state of a company. In addition, some academics claimed that shareholders often place their profit as their priority and certain actions which may benefit them may not necessarily benefit the company as a whole.

I am still in the midst of researching, so I cannot say which side I am supporting. Furthermore, the ESV is more complex than it sounds. This is because the director of a company is the one who ultimately makes the final decision and it is the director who has the most power. Thus, it is debatable if the ESV is actually enforced. But it is interesting to see how the legal and commercial worlds approach this issue.

I think that people often forget that company law is a man-made law; it is imperfect. While company law is made for companies, the companies are run by people. I found my interest in company law after completing a similar module both in my undergraduate and Masters degrees. I knew that I also enjoyed a more theoretical based approach, as I would be less restricted in how I could approach the topic.

Choosing my Masters dissertation was a bit of struggle, but everyone goes through that - it all comes down to your goal and interest. I knew I wanted something theoretical based, but still within the realms of the business/commercial world, as I am hoping for a career in that sector. And I think that's what most students forget about. I remember sitting in an interview where the interviewer asked me, "So why did you choose to this topic of dissertation?" I was lucky that my topic and the job I applied for were aligned, so I had no problems in showing my interest in both areas.

I understand that some prospective Masters students are worried that they would not be able to find their chosen topic. My advice to you is to take your time, but do not waste it. When picking your modules, try to find pick those which interest you - even just a bit! You might be surprised of how interested you actually are. Alternatively, I have seen a few course mates who combined their areas of interest - while this is still up to your supervisor to approve, it is possible!

But whatever it is that you choose to do, make sure that it is something that you are passionate about. It is cliché, but when you think about the amount of hours, research and 12,000 to 15,000 words that you have to write, being passionate about what you write is important. Only then, can you put your best effort in!

International Office Ambassador for Malaysia
Qamarina Almas

Friday, 24 June 2016

Give it a Go!!

Give it Go sessions in Sheffield are a fantastic opportunity to try something new at University. If you
want to learn new skills and make new friends it is a good place to start. Give it a go sessions cover a
very wide range of fascinating activities starting from day trips and language courses to dancing and sport activities as archery and bouldering.

Sport activities in particular cover everything from scuba diving to trampolining. All sessions are one
off induction testers which give an idea of what the particular sport includes. All sessions run at
beginners level, so everybody no matter what their ability has a chance to find out whether they
enjoy a particular activity or not before committing to it. Before I came to university I played football
and swam a lot, but was not even suspecting how much I would enjoy archery and bouldering. For
example, I also tried playing rugby, but found out that it is too physical for me, so it might take time
to find what you really like to do.

Language courses provided by Give it a Go are usually only several weeks long and will not give
extensive language knowledge, but you will have an opportunity to learn commonly used phrases
which would aid you in everyday communication. This might be extremely useful experience if you
plan to visit a country where this language is used.

One day long trips offered by Give it a Go is a perfect opportunity to visit different part of thecountry and learn a bit more about British culture. You may be able to talk to people from different
parts of the world and make a lot of new friends during these trips.

To sum up, this programme is really great for finding out what you enjoy to do and enhance your
university experience, so I strongly advise to Give it a Go!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Things to bring to Sheffield by Regine

Hi, this is Regine; International Office Ambassador for Hong Kong.

Before I came to Sheffield I hadn’t even ever set foot in England, so I literally had no idea what to bring, what to do, what the weather or environment was like. It was a major stress moment, but after experiencing that initial packing trouble I am now able to pack like a pro – and hopefully I can pass this onto you.

1.       Know exactly how much luggage you can actually take!
A lot of airlines have strict luggage weight policies, it is useful to keep in mind exactly how much you can bring, by knowing how much you can bring it cuts down on the chances of over packing and just gives you a guideline on how much you can bring.

2.       Don’t bring all your clothes
I was an idiot and so decided to bring almost all of my clothes, which posed two problems. Firstly, I literally never wore about half of the clothes, which then just sat at the bottom of my closet. Secondly, every time I did want to bring something home during the holidays I would then have the problem of packing it all over again and dragging it back home. Only bring the essentials, and if you look at a shirt and think, ‘oh I might need this’, you probably don’t need it.


           Bring something that reminds you of home
For me, I brought a bunch of photos of my friends and family from home, and a very typical Hong Kong Street sign to stick up on my wall. I also brought food that I liked from home, which was so amazing for the winter nights or for when I was particularly missing home.

            Bring all of your necessities
There might be a particular home remedy that you use, or something you know for a fact that England doesn’t sell. Bringing these will be a life saver when you do actually need it. Documents, medication, prescriptions etc. are all important so don’t forget those!

Don’t worry too much about packing, worst case scenario you can buy it when you’re in England. Good luck and happy packing!

By Regine Cheung
International Office Ambassador for Hong Kong

Packing Again with Regine

Hi, this is Regine; International Office Ambassador for Hong Kong.

For me, it's that dreaded time of the year, when it's finally time to move. Probably one of the most stressful times of the year, especially as an international student. To move out of your house, halls, accommodation into a new house, back home or just to pack to go home for summer can be such a big ordeal. Personally I had no idea how I managed to accumulate so much useless stuff, but at the same time everything had a memorable significance so I didn't want to throw it away. But the question now is, what to do with all this stuff?

When moving houses, there are a few ways to make storage easier since we don't have a UK address to put our things in while we are gone for the summer. Since some housing contracts start very late it can make it almost impossible for us to move in on the actual day the contract starts. Here are a few ways to sort out the storage situation:

1. Send it to a storage company
There are many companies that offer monthly storage facilities, where they will send you the boxes, and then you pack all your things and then get the boxes from you, where they will store it for however long you want, and then send you back your boxes. This is one of the more convenient ways of packing since you know it will be safe and there's no need to worry about getting it there and back. However, this is not the most economical way and might not be the optimum solution for everyone.

2. Leave it at a friends
Maybe some of you friends will be staying longer for the contracted move in date, or maybe they're from the UK, which makes your life a lot easier since all you have to do is pack everything and dump it at their house, making it their problem. However, obviously not everyone will want to help you want to move your things since they will obviously have their own things to worry about.

Packing can be a pain and taking everything down can be a bit sad, but think about the house and fun for next year and it will make it all worth it!

By Regine Cheung
International Office Ambassador for Hong Kong

Regine talks Intro Week!

Hi, this is Regine; International Office Ambassador from Hong Kong.

When you get to Sheffield, there's so much waiting for you - one of the main highlights is the Intro week (19 September - 24 September) , the week when everyone starts to come back and settle in, you get to meet your new flatmates, see your old friends, there's just so much to do. 

Intro week is full of activities hosted by the Union, a few highlights are: 
1. Activities Fair
Every single society from the Photography club to Art society will be putting up a stall during this day, there will be an activity that you might be interested about since there are about fourty different societies that will be there. There will be music, flyers, enthusiastic students advertising their society, its a very fun day. 

2. Sports Fair
Every sports club will make an appearance trying to recruit potential new athletes that will represent the University. However, the clubs aren't only for students that want to play competitive sport but also for those who are interested in playing the sport for recreational purposes. It's always fun to see the Judo and Karate Clubs practicing on the stage, the American football Club wearing all their kit, the cheerleaders walking around in their cheer kit, the swimmers wearing speedos and giving out flyers. 

3. Job Fair
Come armed with a bunch of your CVs to this fair, everyone will be looking for part time jobs that ca be done over the school year, something that you may be interested in. Employers will be taking down names and emails to update you on their potential jobs and future positions. It is always good to go to that since there usually are some big companies (KPMG, RBS etc) there to offer jobs, something that could look very good on your CV! 

4. Nights out
The Union will organise nights out for every night of the week, something that happens every year. It is very common for new students to go out a few times that week since it is a very easy way to meet new people and make friends. However, if drinking is not for you there are also other activities held by the union such as trips and outings! 

By Regine Cheung
International Office Ambassador for Hong Kong

Let's talk money! TIPS and TRICKS

Hey guys!

Today I want to talk to you about how much money you will need if you come to study in Sheffield and some tips about saving money when you're here! One of the many nice things about Sheffield is the fact that it's the city with one of the lowest living costs in UK! And to be honest after I lived in Oxford and London I can tell you that it's true! Just to throw some numbers in there: it costs average of £3,700 less per year ‭to live in Sheffield as a student than it does in London. This makes Sheffield a perfect place for Students.
British Pounds
So let's look at the breakdown of costs:

1) Accommodation fees

Probably the biggest spending you will encounter whilst you're studying in Sheffield. The rent in the accommodation provided by University varies between £120 and £155 per week. This includes all of the bills as well as the internet. I would recommend living in student accommodation for the first year since it makes in easier to make friends and socialise.

TIP: But if you want to save some money, go for the private accommodation - on average it comes out to be cheaper then University accommodation (for example I pay £76 a week but this doesn't include bills).

Endcliffe Village

2) Food

Personally I spend around £25 a week for food that I buy for home. Sometimes I would get a takeaway or go to the restaurant - on average it would cost me around £10 (less for a fast-food place and more for a fancy place). This cost however can grow significantly if you are a party-animal and you go to the clubs a lot.

TIP: To avoid spending a lot of money in the clubs pre-drink at home with your friends - a lot of British people do it.

3) Textbooks

Textbooks are pretty expensive here in UK. The price of textbooks might vary depending on the subject you are going to be doing. The cheapest textbook I ever got was £40 (new) and the most expensive one was £120 (new). On average you will need 1 book for each of your modules, it might be more though!

TIP: Buying new books is not the only option though! There are a lot of student selling second hand books on Facebook so look out for those (last time I bought 2 books that would have cost me £100 together for £25). You should also check the Library before buying any books - we have a great variety there.

4) Sports and Societies

Most of the societies and sport teams would have a membership fees. Sports usually have a higher charge (Ice Hockey players pay £150 a term + the cost of the kit). National and academic societies charge around £3 for a year membership. Special interest societies might charge more though (Pole Fitness Society charges £6 a year). The peak membership in the University Gym will cost you around £28 a month.

TIP: You don't have to pay for the membership straight away! Most of the sports and societies will have Give it a Go sessions where you could try an activity you are interested in.

5) Travel

The cost of the Student Bus ticket is £1 in Sheffield (you will have to show your student card though). In order to get to the Ice Rink, Valley Centertainment or Meadowhall take a tram, it would cost you £3 for a day ticket. In order to save money while travelling through UK I would recommend you to take a Bus (MEGABUS fares start from only £1!). If you value your time though you might be better off taking the train - normally the ride between Sheffield and London would be around £20 if you book it in advance.

TIP: If you are planning on doing a lot of travelling around UK get a RailCard! For £30 it will cut 30% off your train fare for the whole year.

6) Clothing

Here everything depends on you and your tasted really. Sheffield has a variety of shops both high end and low-cost. So the spending on clothes can really vary.

TIP: Look out for the seasonal sales, Black Friday and Student Shopping nights to get some good discounts!
7) Additional spending

Other things you will have to spend your money on are toiletries, entertainment like cinema and £34 for the police registration. Find out more about police registration here.

TIP: Follow your favourite places on social media and look out for special offers.

I hope that this post will help you to get a better idea about how much money you are likely to spend while living here in Sheffield!

So those are the costs that I faced while being a student at Sheffield Uni and my ways of cutting those costs :) What ways of saving money do you have? Let me know in the comments below.

Take care,

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

5 Things You Need to Know About Packing to Leave to Another Country

It's that time of the year now when you probably already accepted your offer and now thinking: "Hmm.. What should I bring to Sheffield with me?" Well, let me tell you 5 things you need to know about packing.

1)  Bring something that will make you feel home.
Moving away from home can be a big challenge and you will feel homesick from time to time. And to feel better in those moments bring something that will make you feel like you are home! For me it was a toy my little brother gave me, but it can be anything from your baby pillow to your mom's scarf that smells like her perfume.

2) You won't need all that!
Trust me, you won't wear everything you are trying to bring. I mean, come on, you have a limited weight for your luggage. Just bring your favourite things, things you know you wore over the last few month and not the things that will just lie in your storage. Just trust the person who came to Sheffield with 5 suitcases, YOU WONT NEED ALL THAT (oh, I wish I could tell this to myself!)

3) Bring warm stuff!
Instead of that cute summer dress that you didn't wear yet but you think that you definitely will, bring a warm jacket! It can become really cold, windy and rainy here in Sheffield. And when one of those days come you will thank me!

4) You will find it in England
If you think that you really need something that you won't be able to find in England, you are probably wrong! If you won't be able to find it in the shops then I'm pretty sure you will find it online. However if it's something super-rare and you are not ready to give up this specific product - research it first. And if you're not able to find it for sale online then you should probably bring it! For me it was always some kind of food :)

5) Be careful with food!
Find out about the customs in UK because you are not allowed to bring in certain things, so if your mom also gave you some home-made food for the road make sure you'll be able to bring it to UK with you!

I hope those tips will help you to avoid bringing useless things and help you with packing!
Hope to see you in Sheffield.

Take care,
Polina International Office Ambassador Russia

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The time I visited the Lake District

Summer is finally here! Well, that's what I hope to be at least. Once you live in England, you realized that the English weather has its own rules about the weather. I completed my second semester exams and thought that it would be a great idea to explore another part of the UK that I have been wanting to visit for ages.

I decided to go on a short trip to the Lake District. Now, before you get confused, Lake District and the Peak District are totally different things. Both are national parks in England but what differentiates them is that the type of nature and scenery they offer. I have never been a hiker or an outdoor climber, so I found myself pretty limited in exploring the Peak District. On the other hand, if you are a walker - likes walking up mountains and hills to see beautiful sceneries, then Lake District is definitely the place to go.

However, the Lake District is a really famous tourist area and it can be expensive to stay at hotels. I stayed at a host's place using Airbnb. I highly recommend this (if you're comfortable in living at someone's house) because it saves cost and you can get personal tips from your host on where is the cheapest place to eat! It was great not falling into those tourist traps.

Before I go into more details, let me tell you from my experience what you should and should not bring or do.

These are a few tips if you are deciding to visit the Lake District:

1. The weather is unpredictable.

Mother nature can unleash her wrath any moment and then, showing its glorious rays a minute later. I made the foolish mistake of not packing a poncho or a rain jacket because I took the weather for granted. While I was high up in the mountain, it began to rain heavily!! The very next day, I purchased a poncho from a local store even though the weather forecast stated it would not rain. Guess what? Yep, it rained.

2. Budget, budget.

Lake District is an expensive area due to its high popularity amongst tourists. Everyone has their own preference and style when it comes to travel. But if your style is like mine: budget and student friendly travel, then hear me out. Don't stay at hotels or cottages; these will cost you far too much. Instead, search for local b&bs or try the Airbnb websites.

And like all budget holidays, you need to plan ahead and book in advance. I got a fairly reasonable place because I booked a month before I travelled. I'm pretty sure I missed out on more budget places because I did not book in advance enough. So do your research carefully, know which area is the cheapest to live and book in advance. Sometimes it pays to stay a bit further than staying right in the heart of the city.

3. Research and Plan.

Great! Now you have a place to stay, what next? Plan at least for the first two days of your trip. This will give you a rough idea of what you want to do and to do the appropriate planning.

In the Lake District, the best way to travel is by bus - and it is not exactly cheap but it is the cheapest mode of transport. If you are going to do a lot of travelling and sightseeing on that day, your best value would be to purchase an Explorer Zone Ticket which cost £10.80 or a Central Zone Ticket which cost £8.50 (I think)? Don't take my word for it, as prices can change! And depending on which zone you are in, you can only purchase or use a certain ticket. So please keep this in mind.

4. Make the most out of it.

Whenever I travel, my goal is to make the most out of the trip because I may not visit that place again. This does not mean tiring yourself out, but rather, having the motivation and excitement to try and see new things.

The company you choose to go with matters a lot. I was lucky to have a really great company who understood my whininess from time to time and kept up with my pace, when I felt I needed break from climbing. And that made all the difference.

That's me. Hi.

An interesting fact: It got so foggy that we could not see where we were heading at first. Thank god for this sign post that climbers and guides put up!

It was a magnificent view.

It was about to rain, but I was prepared this time!

This was one of my favourite views. The view of the lake was just breathtaking.

And this too.

I hope this gives you an encouragement to visit the Lake District. The best way to explore is by foot. You can't imagine the amount of trails I walked and discovered, and it was honestly one of the best travel experiences I had. The beauty of the nature gave this sense of serendipity; I am definitely returning back here to conquer more mountains and hills!

Qamarina Almas
International Office Ambassador for Malaysia

Monday, 20 June 2016

University Accommodation

If it is the first time you are coming to university in a foreign country and you are worried
about integration to the community and finding new friends, university accommodation
might be the best option available as most students coming will be in a similar situation.

There are three main areas of university accommodation: Endcliffe, Ranmoor and City
Campus. Endcliffe and Ranmoor comprise the main part of the accommodation where most
1-st year students live. People generally live in shared flats in either en-suite (own
bathroom) or shared bathroom rooms with a big shared living room and kitchen where
there is enough space for everyone in both cases.

Endcliffe and Ranmoor are both about 20-25 minutes away from the main University
buildings and Students Union, but there is a bus station nearby if you prefer using buses
rather than travelling by foot. The best thing about these accommodation areas is lots of
different activities going on especially when you just arrive there, so there will always be an
opportunity to socialize and make new friends. It is also a very green place which is
extremely near to Endcliffe Park and Peak District.

City Campus is only 5 minutes walk the newly built engineering building- the Diamond. City
Campus has studio apartments as well which are often chosen by postgraduate students
who do not want to be involved in social life that much. Great thing about City Campus is
that it is very close to main University buildings (except for some, better check the map first)
and has lots of shops and cafes on the West Street just 7-8 minutes from the
accommodation, so you will be able to save a lot of travel time.

No matter whether you are undergraduate or postgraduate students, university
accommodation will have something suitable for you, but if you find it to be too expensive
you will be able to try to find something suitable in private sector which website may help you with.

Eldar - International Office Ambassador Azerbaijan 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

How to get a part-time job whilst studying

One of the most common questions I get asked by potential students is: "Is it easy to find part-time job?" This is followed up by another question: "Is it possible to cope with your studies?"

Before I had this International Ambassador job, my main part-time job was working as a waitress in a restaurant. Was it easy? No. Like all jobs, it's just like your studies. It requires effort, time and commitment. The employer is paying you after all! Part-time job really does help to ease a tight student's budget and most importantly, it's your hard earned money! It makes you think twice before spending and of course, potentially saving up for a summer trip around Europe :)

So how did I get this part-time job?

1. Build up your CV

Just because it's a part-time job does not mean that you should not focus on the quality of your CV. Notice that spelling error? Did you place the margins of the paper properly before printing? Employers notice these things because your CV is a reflection of you and is a trigger if they would want to call you up for an interview.

2. Limited Working Hours (Visa Requirement)

Another important thing for international students is to always be aware of the amount of hours you can work during term time. Some part-time jobs may require longer hours, so it's important to keep this in mind when applying. Most international students have a 20 hours per week during term time limitation and to be honest, that's more than enough! Don't sacrifice your studies for work. You are here to study after all.

3. Look out for vacancies....or be bold!

Shops, cafes, and restaurants often advertise vacancies on their front door but on the same hand, they often do not advertise at all!

I got my part-time job at the restaurant by taking the initiative and handing in my CVs in every café and restaurant, even though they were not advertising any vacancies. The restaurant, which rang me up for an interview did not advertise at all. Thus, be bold :) There is no harm walking in asking for vacancy and handing in your CV.

As for my current International Ambassador job, I kept an eye out on the University of Sheffield's career page. There are loads of on-campus job opportunities, especially in the beginning of each new term. Places are competitive because the University pays higher than the minimum wage. However, most University's jobs often require an online application form to be submitted, rather than handing in your CV.

The most important thing in any job hunting is to cater your skills and experiences for the role you're applying for. By knowing how to sell yourself well, you will be invited to more interviews.

4. Work and Study Balance

If you have found a part-time job, congratulations! Every job has its own working hours. You may be required to work on night shifts or during weekends. Whatever it is, bear in mind of the importance of your studies. Do not take in more shifts knowing that you are well behind your studies.

I worked twice a week when I felt my workload was piling up and only took up an extra shift, when I was free or felt I could cope. Know that balance.

5. Commitment and Responsibility

Just because it's a part-time job does not mean you should take it lightly. You should not be calling in sick an hour before work and you should not be performing at work half-heartedly. You would be risking your own job!

But most importantly, you never know when you need a professional reference for your future career. A good performance at work means a good reference by your employer. A part-time job is just as good as a graduate job. So be committed when you start working and treat it as a responsibility. You will find that it makes working there easier and improve your relationships with your employer and colleagues.

I hope this post sheds some light into getting a part-time job! There are many opportunities in Sheffield; it is a student city after all :) So, good luck!

Friday, 10 June 2016

Culture shock averted! Orientation Week 2015

Traveling to a new country can be overwhelming, let alone moving there for a single term or a whole year. However, the University of Sheffield holds an Orientation Week to help new students settle in, meet new people, and start your wonderful time here in Sheffield. Throughout the week students can drop in to a variety of activities and the schedule is extremely flexible.

When I arrived on the Tuesday of the Orientation Week I was much more jet lagged than expected and waited until Wednesday to join in the fun. Normally I would have felt left out for not participating right away, but the university has set up the activities so that while there is something new each day, they also repeat different programs to ensure students can attend as many activities or talks as needed.

Some of the awesome activities I attended were Postgraduate Icebreakers, a campus tour, a talk on banking in the U.K., afternoon tea, and so much more! Studying abroad can be a daunting task, but the organizers and student volunteers during Orientation Week were extremely helpful and inviting for the international students. Orientation Week is just another one of the amazing ways the University of Sheffield is here to help you and have loads of fun along the way!

Here is a fantastic video about the most recent Orientation Week held September 14-18, 2015.

World Parade

One of the most exciting things about University of Sheffield is its unique international atmosphere. 

The University puts a lot of effort to continue developing a trademark of culturally diverse and tolerant community.

Recently I participated in a fantastic event called World Parade. Every year all national and cultural student societies wear their traditional dresses and walk from Student Union to City Hall, waving national flags, following the rhythms of drums (thanks to Samba society)!

This year me and my friend Zhanibek Bakin represented Kazakhstan. 

Although there were only two of us from our country, the advantage was that we had all the requisite for our own use! So we put on Kazakh society’s best traditional dresses, took  two huge Kazakh flags and it was amazing! Wearing a historic dress, I felt like an ancient Kazakh khan or batyr (hero)! 

We still had two smaller flags and did not know what to do with them, so we gave them to our Chinese friends. Hope they enjoyed being Kazakhs for an hour while walking down the streets with our flags (haha!). 

World Parade attracted a lot of attention, it went in a very friendly and nice atmosphere and I recommend everyone to take part in it next year! 

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

How's studying in British uni different to the University in Russia?

Hey guys! So today I wanted to talk a bit more about how different the university education in UK is compared to my home country universities. As I left school after 9th grade, I didn't have a chance to witness the whole university application process, however all of my school friends successfully went to a variety of universities in Russia. So with their help and with the help of my Russian friends here in UK, I've made this list of things :)

1) You get to actually apply your knowledge to practice. 

Education in Russia is very theory-based. You get to learn a lot of complicated theory without getting a chance to see how this theory applies to the real world. The things are dramatically different here in UK - everything you learn will be supported with the real life examples, case studies and application exercises. This applies to all of the subject areas - management, economics, mathematics, architecture, engineering, medicine, education... Everything! I think that this is one of the best advantages that English university education offers.

2) You get to do a lot of self-learning. 

The education here is based on the assumption that you are interested in what you are doing and that you would enjoy learning more about it. You are expected to go home or to the library and read around the topics you learnt and discussed on your lectures and seminars. The ratio of teaching and self studying is around 3/8.

3) It's impossible to cheat or get away with not studying for your subject

The system here is build to actually assess your knowledge as well as the understanding of the subject. All of the exams are marked anonymously so your assessors or lecturers can never judge you by their personal preference, you will be judged on your work. And unlike in Russian universities where you can get away with learning only half of your topics by pulling "the lucky ticket", here you will most likely have a written assignment or an exam that would assess all of the topics you've studied. 

4) You are allowed to use your calculator even on your exams and for the assignments!

For me, as a Russian, this was a huge surprise because in our education systems calculators are prohibited and you have to calculate everything on paper. However here you are allowed to use your calculator even for the simplest of the question. This point is not my favourite though, my maths skills deteriorated significantly after I moved to UK :) 

5) The concept of the library is very different here.

Here in UK, library (especially university library) is the place with an enormous amount of resources that would assist your studies: books, magazines, articles, maps.. Anything! You can get all of those for free and you don't need a subscription or anything like that. Another thing is that the library here is a perfect working place. You get group rooms, study spaces, silent study areas and computers all over the place. A couple of libraries here in Sheffield Uni also work 24/7, they have 24/7 working cafeterias in them as well as the showers and soft sofas ;)  meaning that you could actually have an all-nighters there when you really need to concentrate of working. That's why all of the libraries become super-busy around the exam times!

The Diamond 
Information Commons
The Diamond

So yeah, those are the main differences that I noticed :) 

Let me know if you've noticed any others in the comments below!

Take care, 
Polina - International Office Ambassador Russia

Kimberly's Day Trips: York

Hello everybody, Kimberly here. I am planning on making a Day Trip series around UK. I love planning day trips around the UK because it is low-cost and convenient. It is easy to travel around the country because UK's public transportation is very efficient. York is about 1-2 hours away by train from Sheffield. 

York is a popular tourist destination because of its rich heritage and historical attractions. As soon as I exited York’s train station, I spotted the medieval walls enclosing the city. I took the opportunity to walk on the medieval wall walk path, in which I got to see the city from a different perspective. 

The first stop was the York Minster. Even from afar, I could spot the York Minster, as it is one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe. 

I was awed because of the stunning architecture. There was a statue of Constantine the Great in front of the York Minster. 

Besides that, I went to visit Clifford’s Tower, which was part of York castle. The funny thing was that the tower is located in the middle of a carpark! 

I also visited the National Railway Museum. The museum is free to the public and it showed some historical trains and how railways developed. 

During the trip, I got to try Yorkshire pudding. The meat and gravy was really tasty. York is a really beautiful place to visit and I would recommend people to visit.