Hanyan Shi

MPlan Urban Studies and PlanningHanyan170

Before I started my University life in Sheffield, I was studying my IGCSEs and A-levels in an International School in China, where I’ve been privileged to gain insights to the UK’s education system and have had contact with people from different backgrounds.

The reason I choose the University of Sheffield was because the Department of Town and Regional Planning is amongst one of the best for courses in urban studies and planning in the UK. Apart from the rankings and the fact that Sheffield has a high student satisfaction rate for my subject, it also offers placement opportunities which allow students gain first-hand experience of real-world planning issues. With a degree accredited by the Royal Institute of Town Planning (RTPI), I’m confident that this university can offer me a high quality of education and help me to stand out from the crowd.

The most enjoyable thing about studying in Sheffield is that there are so many additional events and talks organized in my department, in addition to our normal lectures. These include guest lectures from other universities or planning professionals, and student-led seminars. This had made the learning experience a lot more interactive and really interesting. As town planning is not a course confined to classroom learning, site visit and field trips are important throughout my course. Learning through traveling, we have great fun and get the actual ‘smell’ and ‘taste’ for a city, as well as learning from different perspectives and cultures.

The most valuable aspects of the course I believe is the variety of teaching styles it covers. Not only in the lectures, but interactions and discussions seminars help students with critical thinking and to “think outside of the box”. We are expected to carry out our own extra reading and revision in our own time, which somewhat forces us to manage our time efficiently. Although it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I like how it challenges me to investigate independently. For international students, the department will provide programs on study skills and English language teaching for all levels of students, and also provides supports from an International Teaching Associate.

I would say that one of the main benefits of my degree is getting a well-rounded education. I feel that an having a degree from the University of Sheffield will have taught me so much. Not only the core basics of the field of urban planning, but also a lot of transferable skills gained through academic as well extra-curriculum activities. I think that this will translate very well into my CV for use when obtaining employment. I hope to achieve an ideal employment that fits in with my career plans. I truly believe that my overall higher education experience here will help me to achieve my aims.

The University itself has the best Students’ Union in the UK and is inclusive and welcoming. My favourite thing about Sheffield is the sense of community here. It has an friendly atmosphere, and offers you so many opportunities to get involved with things you never tried before. The Students’ Union provides many different services to students such as the SSiD help desk, the Job Shop and different kinds of cafe bars and restaurants, and the gallery; a space where to can enjoy your break time between lectures and meet with your friends.

The city itself its beautiful, modern and safe. I have never felt unsafe while walking around the University to get to my lectures or coming back from a night out. It is an easy-going and tolerant place to live and is one of the greenest cities in Europe. Sheffield has stylish restaurants, many of the best pubs in Britain, great cafes, shops, a creative arts community, and offer so much more. It is a place like no other.

The advice I’d give to prospective students is to come to Sheffield with an open mind. There are a lot of things to see and do in the city, and you’ll need to make the effort to experience everything on offer. Get involved in the Students’ Union societies or join the council of students. The University of Sheffield will do everything it possibly can to make students’ life there as pleasant and unforgettable as possible.

You can find out more about me and other East Asian students' experiences here in Sheffield on the East Asia blog.