Hsin-Yu (Cynthia) Yang
MP Urban Studies and Planning
I am currently studying MP Urban Studies and Planning, but before arriving in Sheffield I finished my 12 years compulsory education in Taiwan. As the Taiwan Education system is different and students study 13 years here in the UK I needed to complete a foundation year which I completed at the Sheffield International College. The University of Sheffield’s international college runs university preparation courses for international students who want a degree from a leading UK university. Students who complete their course to the required level are guaranteed a place on their chosen postgraduate or undergraduate degree course at The University of Sheffield and I found it a really helpful way to adjust to life and study styles here before progressing to the university.
My department of town and regional planning is ranked within the top three in the UK. I believe this means that I receive the best and strongest teaching standards; enough recourse’s to aid all of my study, and a competitive environment to challenge me. I really enjoy the outstanding services and activities provided by the Student Union, which provides me chances to explore myself through joining different societies and actives. Lastly, to be honest, I did apply for other universities, after finishing my foundation in Sheffield, but after visiting other cities, I decided to stay here. This is because after visiting other cities, I really truly believe that Sheffield is the safest city in the UK. As an international student, safety is the most important issue for me and my family.
In my department, there are many international students. This is really is one of the best things because we are all from different places, so that we can share our own experiences from all over the world, and listen to the opinions from people who have really lived in that all sorts of rural and urban communities instead of reading text from journals and books. To train to be good urban planners, students need to understand cities not only in the UK, but in the world. The size of our course is about 50+ course-mates in each academic year, so we all know each other well, it’s also perfect for us to hold discussions where everyone has a chance to speak, and no one is missed.
The education I receive I find is very different to that in Taiwan. In the University of Sheffield, we must complete a lot of independent study as well as applying research techniques and critical thinking. At first, I thought it would be very difficult to adapt to new teaching methods, but after a period of adjustment I am now used to it – and very proud of myself. This is because through combined independent study, lectures and discussions in tutorials my research and knowledge is much greater and my reports and essay are at a higher educational level. Besides, the new online helping system, called MOLE, is a great source.
Another wonderful facility is the 24-hour library, called the Information Commons. It is very useful and helpful for me when we have group work, or we need a place for us to work until late, and print out our projects.
I feel very lucky to study in a university that is so well-ranked in the world. As I think that the environment can really make people become change and to experience the top teaching methods, good facilities, and motivation from other classmates, are valuable sources to help and for people to develop their future career.
In my opinion, to enjoy being a university student is the best thing. A student should enjoy some a freedom for social life but learn to manage their time to do this so they can take full advantage of getting involved in volunteering, societies, or any activities that helps you explore yourself as a person as well as having plenty of time to they work on studies, doing research, or reading sources for their courses. If you can get this combination and balance right you will find all the opportunities you need at The University of Sheffield to really enjoy to “be” a student.
After finishing my degree, I hope I can have strong enough academic background to achieve a professional urban planner licence to work in Asia. I believe that my four year course makes my vision wider, and with the training I receive here, I do think I can work with people from different education backgrounds, and have different thoughts about how to build a better city.
If you come to Sheffield remember this is a great chance for to see and experience things that you probably won’t have a second chance to do so. Go out more with local and international students and join in the activities. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it there’s lots of support here not just academic, but pastoral and peer support. If you have any problems, in your studies, physical, or mental problems, the university support systems will help you get through it.
Enjoy everyday of being a student here!
You can find out more about me and other East Asian students' experiences here in Sheffield on the East Asia blog.