Yoon Young Cho
MPH International Development
BA International Politics and Security Studies (2015)
I always dreamed of studying abroad for my further studies, especially because of my interest in international politics. I have been given the great opportunity to study in one of the UK’s most prestigious universities through the Northern Consortium United Kingdom (NCUK) foundation programmes in South Korea. During the one-year intensive curriculum of this programme, I studied English and I could learn the fundamental basics of interesting academic subjects.
When I was about to apply for my undergraduate studies, I researched a number of universities all around the UK. The Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield stood out to me because it has excellent modules throughout the whole of the course.. There were a number of modules specifically focused on security studies and comparing the politics of different countries, which relates to my interest in international politics and security issues. Moreover, the structure of each academic year was well-organised, with theoretical and practical issues-based modules. This really fascinated me and therefore I chose to study BA International Politics and Security studies at the University of Sheffield.
The most enjoyable thing about studying at Sheffield is the diverse population of students. Within each class, students from different countries can share their own perspectives and understanding of certain topics or issues. It is not only a very enjoyable thing, but we can also learn about diverse cultures within our courses.
The most valuable aspects of my course would be how the Department of Politics is student-centred. Each year every student in my department is allocated a personal tutor. Whenever I have concerns with my studies, I can easily meet my personal tutor during office hours to discuss my issues and get advice. The tutors are not only lecturers, but also act as advisers who closely interact with students in their department.
The teaching and study methods at the University of Sheffield are excellent, with the opportunity to share opinions and ideas with other students during seminars. Alongside lectures, every module in my department has seminars which give a chance to discuss and develop your own opinion of each week’s key topics. Through the seminar, I think it is valuable to share each individual’s opinion and I can also learn from other students.
Studying at the University of Sheffield, I benefit from having access to all kinds of resources. The Information Commons (IC) is the biggest library on campus and it opens 24 hours a day, all year long. There are also high-technology computers all around the university buildings, which all students can use easily. In addition, the whole system of ‘MOLE’ is amazing! All students have a personalised system with their own choice of modules where we can access all reading materials related to the modules on or off-campus.
The best thing about the University of Sheffield is how student-centred it is, with a strong Students’ Union. The Students’ Union has been rated the best Students’ Union in the UK by the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey for a number of years. There are a lot of opportunities and events held in the Union and among them; my favourite one is the “Give-It-A-Go” sessions. These are taster sessions where you get a chance to do something new, like learning a language, sports, skills and going on a day trip. It gives me the chance to try something I have never tried before and you can meet new friends who have similar interests.
When I first came to Sheffield, I hoped to gain specific subject knowledge within my area of interest. Since I am in the third and final year of my course, I have been refining my area of interest every single year through my course studies. I started from recent security issues and then narrowed my interest to food and health-related security issues in developing countries. Nowadays, I am really interested in the public health systems in Africa, and how health security can be a global security issue. After graduation, I would like to continue my studies in the field of Public Health and Development studies.
The advice I would like to give for prospective students is to not be afraid to try something new. It might be very difficult to study in a new and unfamiliar environment at first, but the University of Sheffield has all sorts of help and advice on offer if you need it, so do not be afraid! Try some new activities when you get here to make friends, and get in touch with Student Services which will help you to settle in well.
Read more about me and my fellow international students on the International@SheffieldUni blog. You can find out more about me and other East Asian students' experiences here in Sheffield in 2015 on the East Asia blog.