Nkemdilim Abalu

BEng Chemical Engineering

Prior to studying my course, I undertook a foundation year programme in Science and Engineering at the Sheffield International College. I had done extensive research about the University of Sheffield before coming here, and learning about the experiences of other international students influenced my decision to study at this university. It was the main reason I chose the International College pathway for foundation specifically.Nkemdilim Abalu 250
The foundation programme I took was nine months’ long, during which I prepared mentally and academically for the challenges studying at University would bring. In the midst of this, I also grew accustomed to the city of Sheffield and fell in love with its simplicity.

I chose to study BEng Chemical Engineering because the course offers extensive knowledge in design and operations of chemical processes, which is essential for a career in this field. My course incorporates design projects, where prospective engineers work in teams to tackle real-world engineering problems and proffer innovative solutions, thereby giving us students an opportunity to experience daily activities of engineers.

In addition, the University is recognized internationally for its award-winning research facilities. The idea of attaining a degree from this prestigious institution was definitely among the factors that influenced my decision to study at Sheffield. It is a Russell group University, known globally; has an award-winning Students’ Union; and has been regularly voted number one for student experience in various rankings. I feel that getting my education from such a high-profile university gives me a quality education and a degree with repute.

Specifically, what I find most interesting about my course is the integration of practical laboratory sessions and challenging projects. Laboratory sessions further our understanding of the information taught in lectures and in my independent study. Design projects challenge me intensely as a prospective engineer by giving me problems, which can only be resolved through critical analysis and integration of knowledge gained in various parts of my course. I enjoy brainstorming and analysing processes when designing a solution and the satisfaction derived from completion of our design.

I find the teaching and study methods at the University of Sheffield adequately structured. The teaching methods for my course comprise of lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions, and engineering design project. They are structured to create an effective balance between acquiring and applying knowledge. Lectures are designed to give you just enough information, and then allow you to study and research independently to further your understanding.

Lecturers themselves are friendly and dedicated to delivering quality education, and as such are happy to support you in your studies. The top-notch facilities here aid extensive learning, and the Student Services offers various skill-building sessions, which help equip students with essential study skills and other useful transferrable skills for our future careers.

Opportunities provided by the University and Students’ Union create an invaluable experience while studying here. I think these groom you to becoming a much better, more well-rounded individual than you would be when you first arrive. Facilities such as the Careers Service help students get an early start on their careers by offering tips and advice on CVs, applications, interviews, securing placements, part-time work during term time and also access to a “Taste of Work” programme for those students with no prior work experience.
I believe the Student Union is the best thing about life here in Sheffield, creating the perfect balance between academic and social life. It incorporates a wide range of societies, clubs, activities, and great spots for night-outs, of interest to a diverse range of students. Getting involved is a great way to meet and socialise with people from different cultural backgrounds, who share similar interests. The Students’ Union is like a stress-relief pill, which detoxes you when you’ve been studying hard and need to relax.

I believe the city, as a whole, is a great place. Whilst one may get the impression that it is small and quiet when compared with larger cities, I assure you that the opposite is true! There are various festivals and fairs throughout the year, and also lots of beautiful parks in the city and is close to the countryside.

In future I hope to undertake a Master’s degree course in petroleum and gas engineering, after which I plan to kick-start my career by undertaking a graduate placement in the energy industry.

My advice to prospective students is to study hard; learn to plan and manage your time; and be focused. Studying at University can be demanding and it can be so easy to get caught up in the excitement of your social life. Utilize every opportunity to improve your academics and yourself as an individual. Make use of the facilities and support provided to make an early start on your prospective careers: it is never too early! Get involved with the various activities and societies in the Students’ Union, meet people and socialize. Explore the beautiful city of Sheffield, and enjoy the full Sheffield experience!

Read more about me and my fellow international students on the International@SheffieldUni blog.