My First Year in Sheffield

What was your First Year studying with us like ? Do you feel at home? What is Sheffield like as a city? We asked Eleanor Lawrence to look back and share her experience.

Four students posing in the snow with scarves and hats
Sheffield in winter with Eleanor on the right (Photo: Sophie Adams)

"Moving to university is often the biggest step so far in our lives and there are so many things to consider that it can be overwhelming at first. I was surprised at how quickly I settled in even with everything going on."

By Eleanor Lawrence (Dual Linguistics and Modern Languages and Cultures)

Making friends

"Will I make friends? That is something we all wonder before setting off to Sheffield. There was no need for me to be worried. It is so easy to make friends in your accommodation, everyone wants to make friends. You tend to spend a lot of time in and around your room, so it’s hard not to.

Also, as a language student, I think it’s really easy to become friends with people on your course due to the nature of the degree: you’re practising the language, so you have to talk to each other. The classes are quite small as well, so you’ll definitely get to know your classmates well. Your timetables will probably end up being pretty similar. I am on a Dual German and Linguistics, yet I often have gaps in between lectures at the same time as other German students, which was a good time to get to know them.

Scary lecturers?

Another aspect that is less intimidating than I expected was the lecturers themselves. I think partly thanks to the small class sizes in language lessons and even in culture modules, the lecturers seem very approachable. In one of my culture modules, Resist! The Art of Protest in Berlin and Amsterdam (which I would highly recommend!), I found that students commonly called their lecturers by their first name – that just goes to show how friendly and relaxed your tutors are. Caroline and Yeti/Henriette also really inspired me with their enthusiasm. I found I took an interest in things I never would have considered, let alone think I would be interested in, like the relationship between water and the Netherlands and their politics. As a student studying German, I found it valuable to have this module to learn more about the Netherlands as well, and it complemented my core culture and history module well. 

Which language(s)?

As a student in the School of Languages and Cultures, you can also pick up a new language in your second year. If you are a straight language student (BAMLC), you can pick up three languages as part of your study programme, two if you’re on a Dual Degree like me. Many of us go for a new language, for example some a less widely-taught ones like Dutch, Catalan or Czech and combine the language with a culture module. It depends on whether there is time on your timetable and space for the extra credits.

I intend to stray even further afield. Timetable-willing, I will be learning Arabic through Languages for All (LfA). Arabic will not be part of my programme but an additional, optional module I pick because, hey, I am at uni and here's the opportunity! I like this flexibility about Sheffield: it’s hard to know when choosing modules for first year whether picking up another language will work for you. You will probably have a better idea by second year, and so there is no worry that you have limited yourself by not immediately starting a new language in first year.

view on a Sheffield park in late spring. Two people sitting on a bench in the foreground
Sheffield in late spring, view on Crookes Valley Park

I have come to love Sheffield

More generally, I have come to love Sheffield over the year I’ve been here. For me, it’s the perfect size, a decent sized city but not too big to be overwhelming. If you like going out, West Street is a typical place to go (or at least start the night), it’s close to the university too so you won’t have to trek too far out of areas you’re familiar with. Something else I really like about the city is how green it is; if you stay in Endcliffe or Ranmoor you’ll probably be able to see trees out of your window, maybe even away to the hills like I could from mine. That is a good thing about the hills in Sheffield: you can see out of the city, which I like, and getting into the Peak District is easy when you need a break from the familiar surroundings. For me Sheffield proved to work for all seasons!"

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