Sheffield is a fantastic city to live in as a student. I am thrilled to be studying here and excited for the opportunities which lie ahead...

Kajol A Maheshwari
Kajol Maheshwari
MSc student
MSc Urban and Regional Planning
MSc Urban and Regional Planning student Kajol discusses life as an international student in Sheffield, and how her course is helping to prepare her for a future in planning.

Which course are you currently studying?

I am pursuing an MSc in Urban and Regional Planning. I previously did a bachelor’s in architecture from India.

Why did you choose to study this course at the University of Sheffield?

The most important reason for shortlisting Sheffield for my master’s degree was that the course is fully RTPI accredited, and this enables me to pursue a wide range of career opportunities. The University’s reputation and highly regarded research focussed coursework also contributed to my decision.

As for my Degree choice, My undergraduate degree in Architecture introduced me to the basic principles of Urban Planning, which I found to be my calling after gaining two years of work experience in the field. Also, the dynamic and wide range of courses at Sheffield has made my curriculum and passion for the subject more fun and interesting than ever before.

Furthermore, the online sessions held by the School and the coursework have been incredibly helpful in giving me an insight into what studying at Sheffield would be like. I also had reached out to speak with alumni, which made me even more confident about my decision to pick Sheffield.

Overall, I am thrilled to be studying at the University of Sheffield and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead!

What are your favourite parts of the course so far? (any particular modules etc)

I have been enjoying my time at the University, and there are several things that stand out to me as my favourites. One of the things that I find particularly interesting is the freedom we are given to choose sub-topics for our assessments. This has allowed me to explore a range of research interests in different contexts. Additionally, I love the fact that the professors are approachable and the entire School is very understanding and helpful.

While all of the coursework has been fascinating and diverse in terms of subject matter, sub-topics, and choices, my favourite module so far has been Urban Development in the Global South. This module was incredibly engaging and interesting, and I enjoyed the small readings that we had to complete every week. I particularly enjoyed the continuity of the module and the detailed feedback that every student received, which allowed me to improve my work and deepen my understanding of the subject matter.

What do you want to do after you finish your course?

After I finish my course, my goal is to work in a social impact organisation where I can use my previous work experience and the skills that I have gained during my time at the University of Sheffield. I am particularly interested in council jobs, research opportunities, and urban consultancies, as I believe these roles will allow me to make a meaningful contribution to society. The employability team at USP has done great work providing all the essential help for preparing CVs, applications, and interviews and this has made me more confident and well-prepared.

How do you think your course will prepare you for a job in the future?

My course being a medley of different subject areas like GIS, Urban Design, Planning, and Research has helped me gain an insight into the vast subject that is Urban planning. All my coursework has prepared me for a career in both the public sector as well as the private sector.

The alumni talks organised by the employability department have also made me aware of the different realms within urban planning where I can pursue my career. Personally, I felt that the PGT course tried to pack all the essential information needed for students to launch their careers in the fields they wished to join but at the same time, the concepts in the coursework were easy to understand and grasp. 

What skills do you think you have learned from the course/uni experience which will help you in the future?

The University experience has taught me loads of skills, the most important one at that would be independence. The coursework is designed in such a way that while the assessment briefs are given by the professors, there is the freedom to pursue my own interpretation of things from the research that is done by me. Additionally, understanding how planning, design, and real estate work inter-dependably in the UK in my Integrated project module in the spring semester has made me more confident in my skills.

My coursework including the optional modules that I chose provides me with a balance between theoretical as well as analytical skills both of which are coming in handy for my dissertation. The professors being friendly and not condescending has definitely helped me come out of my shell and interact more with my peers.

Do you have any tips for students looking to study here?

As an international student, I took up a lot of time to get comfortable in Sheffield city and University life as a whole. My first tip to prospective students would be to use the university resources and ask for help when needed, the university offers help and resources for everything from visa-related help to job search, skill development, physical and mental well-being, and events organised by SU to help you settle in the uni-life!

Secondly, be proactive whether seeking an internship/ job or advice from a professor and attend events organised by the school, this will help you improve your networking skills.

Lastly, my most important piece of advice would be to experience the city, you are here to not only study but live in the city. Sheffield is a fantastic city to live in especially as a student. The city has a brilliant mix of nightlife and outdoor activities, while also being pocket friendly. I love taking strolls in the city, the parks, and walking trails and I regret that I didn’t start doing this sooner. So, make sure that you strike the right balance between work and leisure and enjoy your time here!

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