Try stepping out of your comfort zone and meet people who aren't from your country/culture. It might be hard in the beginning, trust me it's worth it

Profile photo of a student
Sangamithra Bala Amuthan
Undergraduate student
BEng Software Engineering
Sangamithra has been really involved with clubs and societies alongside her studies. This has really helped her to make friends and settle in at university.

Why did you choose to study at Sheffield?

At University of Sheffield, my course offers a good range of modules from different fields in Computer Science, this was something I wanted to try in my undergraduate degree before choosing a specialisation for masters. I also didn't code much before coming here and all the modules in first year are beginner friendly so it seemed right for me.

What do you like best about Sheffield and the University?

The PEOPLE!! I'm an international student and before coming to the UK I did my high school in Nairobi. I was excited but also a bit nervous at first because I didn't know anyone in UK and I was coming here all alone. But thanks to all my friends, course mates, and lecturers because everyone was so friendly, I settled fairly easily. Covid hit when I was in my first year, so I'm really happy to have made some friends during the short time we had in person teaching in 2019/20.

Do you have any plans for after you graduate?

I'm in my final year and I want to study further in computer science. So, I'm currently applying for masters in UK. As much as I love Sheffield, I still want to explore UK more, so I have been applying to other universities. Fingers crossed that I get an offer!

University isn't just about academic studies. What extracurricular activities do you enjoy or are involved in?

Group photo of the Sheffield Women in Computer Science Society members

I was an academic rep last year, it felt good to be able to contribute and represent my course mates, raising feedback and concerns. During lockdown, I got into horror movies and so I joined HorrorSoc this year as a member. Shout out to HorrorSoc, they are great! I have also been part of SWiCS (Sheffield Women in Computer Science) committee for 2 years. I was an outreach officer last year and this year, I have been elected as the president. As SWiCS president, I also got to join the ED&I committee for Department of Computer Science this year.

Any tips for new students?

Academic: If you are an international offer holder, especially those who have not done A-levels and have graduated high school under a different curriculum. During summer, try reading into the topics you would be doing in uni. Although the university has a good support system and your course mates would be happy to help you, know some basics before coming, makes your life much easier while settling down in a new city!

Social: If possible, try to make different friend groups, this could be from one from societies/sports and another group of friends from your course or at a place you volunteer. From personal experience, this really helps when you and your main friend group have different interests or conflicting schedules and you want to try something new or just want to hangout.

Also, if you are an international student, try stepping out of your comfort zone and meet people who aren't from your country/culture. It might be hard in the beginning but it gives you so much exposure, trust me its worth it! (Tip: Different places have different humour styles so, understanding / learning about their humour style helps a lot when you are trying to make friends). Do go out and try local cuisines, Sheffield has really good restaurants with vegan/vegetarian options :)

Good luck!!

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