Settling into Sheffield Was A Piece of Cake

Sheffield student

What was it like to settle into your university?

Settling into Sheffield was a piece of cake. The university provides loads of activities to help you meet people, and the people living here are very friendly and helpful. It's also pretty easy to navigate around the city.

What is the town/city like?

Sheffield is definitely a city, but it's also super green and very close to the gorgeous Peak District! It was a perfect balance of city/country life.

Why did you choose your university?

I decided to go to Sheffield because of the course they offer, but I ended up really settling into the city and I am more than happy with the choice.

What is the cost of living like compared to your home country?

It's definitely more expensive to live in England than it is to live in California, but I don't regret a pound that I've spent. This has been the best year of my life so far! I've learned so much from my course, my flatmates and friends, and from exploring this beautiful country.

Do you live in university accommodation or private housing?

University Accommodation - no complaints, but it is more expensive than private housing and a good half-hour walk from the uni.

What do you do in your spare time?

When I wasn't studying or working, I traveled throughout the UK and also explored Sheffield and the Peak District.

Have you traveled to other parts of the UK (or other countries) during your studies?

Yes - England, Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

What advice would you give to a new student at your university?

You'll love Sheffield! There's a club/activity for everyone, and northerners are super friendly. The city center is neat and it has everything you'll need to buy throughout the year. The surrounding Peak District is a hiker's dream! Ecclesall Road also has fun pubs and shops worth checking out!

What was your experience like with Across the Pond? 

Across the Pond was so helpful! My advisor answered my many questions and eased any worries that I had. Across the Pond gave me the confidence to commit to a year abroad and I will always be grateful for that!


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Supportive and Welcoming

University of Sheffield

California has been my home for 25 years, and I wanted to be able to broaden my horizons and get out of my comfort zone by pursuing a master's in a new country.

I was able to learn more about another country's culture while continuing to learn about myself and in doing so grow as a person. The community of Sheffield and the university were so supportive and welcoming.


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The Faculty Have Shown Interest in My Success

Sheffield student

Why did you decide to study this degree program?

I am very passionate about Archaeology, and in order to continue pursuing my research interests I decided to get a postgraduate degree.


What do you enjoy most about your course and the subject you are studying?

I love how hands-on the coursework is and the fact that we don’t just read and talk about methods.  We actually learn how to execute them properly.


What attracted you to the University of Sheffield?

The diverse research interests of the professors, especially those of my advisor, and the city itself.


What made you want to study in the UK?

The culture of graduate/postgraduate study outside of the US is very different, and I’ve found the change to be very positive.


Which scholarship have you been awarded?

The International Merit Postgraduate Scholarship


What is it like to be a postgraduate student in the Department of Archaeology?

It’s fantastic! My professors are all very engaged and excited to teach; plus being a postgraduate student makes everything more personal, and you really get to know everyone. I’ve also made a lot of great friends!


What do you plan to do when you finish your degree at Sheffield?

I plan to pursue work in the field for a year or two while I decide what specific subject I would like to study for my PhD.


How has the department and/or university helped you to work towards reaching your goals after graduation?

I’ve been given so much advice and encouragement, and the faculty here has shown a great interest in my future success.


What do you like most about living in Sheffield?

I love the city itself, especially because it’s so pedestrian-friendly. I also love how dedicated Sheffield is to the arts. The accessibility to local history is very exciting.


What has been the most difficult thing to get used to whilst living in a different country?

Missing friends and family back home.


Do you have any advice for students from your home country thinking about studying a postgraduate course in archaeology at Sheffield?

Don’t be afraid! While things may take time to become accustomed to, there will always be people to help, and you’ll make amazing friends here. Additionally, this is a world-renowned department with friendly and engaged faculty.  Studying here will be very advantageous to your future career.

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I was drawn in by the variety

Sheffield student

Why did you decide to study in the UK?

One of the things that drew me to UK education was the opportunity to focus only on my chosen course. In the US, there are a lot of general courses required in various subjects, but I was interested in a more focused university structure. In addition, I was drawn in by the variety of courses and modules available. I ended up being able to study Philosophy and Politics in equal weight rather than having to choose just one. The deciding factor, however, ended up being the price and time. University in the US is not only a year longer than university here in the UK, but it can also be much more expensive. I was able to get an international student scholarship here at Sheffield which made university much more affordable than anywhere I could've gone (besides my local state school) in the US.


How did you find the application process? What was the biggest difference from applying to a US college?

I applied to thirteen universities in the US and I can say that the UK application process was SO MUCH easier than it is in the US. I ended up using UCAS to apply to five universities here and there were a few noteworthy (positive) differences:

  • I only had to write one essay for all five schools
  • I paid 25 pounds to apply as opposed to the $20-60 per application in the US
  • Information on courses/classes was easily available for me to view, which made it much easier to choose which programs to apply to

I would say the biggest difference, besides it being a much simpler process, is that there's a bigger focus on academics and drive in the application process here. The universities don't care too much about your life story and/or activities; they'd rather hear about why you're choosing your course and what you want to do with it, which for me was a relief, but is something to keep in mind when writing your UCAS essay. 


What did you find the hardest thing to leave behind when you moved to the UK? What has been the biggest challenge for you? 

Most definitely my family and friends (but I think that's something everyone experiences when going to college, it's just amplified here because you're further away). The biggest challenge was meeting people and adjusting to cultural differences. Luckily, most universities have activities and clubs to join, which can help with making friends and feeling at home in a new country, and a lot of the cultural differences include fun things like going to chip shops + dancing at the clubs. It gets easier as you go on, and it's most definitely rewarding.


If you were a counselor advising yourself, what do you know now that you would want to share with the younger you? How can you best prepare for student life in the UK?

I would tell myself not to go in with crazy expectations, not because they can't/won't be fulfilled, but because it's just better to allow things to happen however they are going to happen.  I've found I'm a lot happier when I just live without worrying about or comparing my experience to the experiences of others. I'd also tell myself to join more societies and go participate in group activities because I ended up doing more of that second semester and while it did still help me make friends, if I'd done it sooner I may have met more people at the beginning. Last but not least, enjoy every moment and don't be scared to put yourself out there. It will be a little hard at first but you'll be glad you did, it's a lot better than sitting around and wondering what you're missing out on back at home.


What have you learned about yourself? 

I've learned that I'm a lot stronger and more capable than I thought I was. I feel more self-assured and confident in my independence because if I can go to university 5,000 miles away from everything I know, I can do anything. I've also learned a lot about my academic interests. The wide variety of courses has allowed me to explore what I enjoy doing and may want to pursue in the future.


What are your plans post-study and have they changed?

I've actually recently started thinking about going to law school after uni, which is definitely not what I had planned when I first got here, partially because I didn't really have a plan. Lots of people told me studying Humanities wasn't worth it or that it wouldn't lead directly to a job. However, my classes have really helped me explore all my interests and build on what I already knew I enjoyed, and the curriculum really focuses on how different areas of study and work intersect which is why I feel capable of going on to do law with my degree. What's most important, is that I chose to study something I was passionate about despite the uncertainty of what it could lead to, and I wouldn't have done it any other way.


Share your top memory for your time thus far? 

Last year (before the pandemic started), I went to an Arctic Monkeys night at a local club with one of my flatmates who was also an international student. This was incredible because it was an entire night dedicated to dancing to Arctic Monkeys music. We stayed out all night and had an amazing time, and it was completely different from anything I'd ever experienced in the US. Afterward, we went and got chips at a chip shop nearby (we really immersed ourselves in the culture), and then we went home and crashed. It was definitely a stereotypical British night out, but I really felt like part of the community.  It was a great way to make friends and unwind after a long week of uni.

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