Kaja Bjelke

BA Journalism Studies

A photo of KajaI graduated from Oslo Handelsgymnasium (OHG) in 2014, before coming to Sheffield. I did English, politics and human rights and maths at OHG, together with the compulsory subjects. I worked part-time at the Norwegian Broadcast Coorporation (NRK), and also at a PR/marketing firm called Concept Communications.

I chose Sheffield because it’s the only UK University accredited by all three professional bodies (NCTJ, BJCT and PPA), which is hugely beneficial when you are looking for a job as a graduate in journalism. The course covers print, broadcast, multimedia and web journalist, which prepares you for any job in the field. Not only does the course have a great reputation, but the university is also voted number one for student experience, which is another thing that was really important to me. I always thought I would go to university in London, but whenever I visited a university there, I did not feel the student community as I did in Sheffield.

For me, the most enjoyable thing about studying my subject at the University of Sheffield is that the lecturers are all professionals in their field, many of them coming straight from the industry. They treat you as a colleague, and therefore expect a professional standard from you. The journalism department has some of the best of equipment, which lets you transform your piece of work to a journalistic piece. Sheffield also has a great independent newspaper called Forge Press, and a radio and TV-station which you can easily become a part of.
The most valuable aspect of the course is all the experience you get through seminars, workshops, editing sessions and ‘News Days’, which are all there to mirror a real newsroom. The department also has a good range of places for work placements, which helps you make connections and get experience between the semesters. You are surrounded by like-minded people who make you the best you can get, and you achieve more than you ever thought you would.

Regarding the teaching style, there is a good variety between lectures, seminars and workshops. The lecturers are good, and are always available for advice and help. The IC (Information Commons) and the Diamond are both open 24/7, which makes it possible to work whenever. The library is equipped with all the resources you need, everything from books, computers, media booths and journals.

In my opinion, the best thing about life at University here is that Sheffield is a great city for students, both educationally and socially. It has the best Students’ Union in the UK, with some of the best nights out in the basement of it. As a city university, you are always close to the city centre, shops and cafes, which was important to me as I am from a city myself. It is not as big as London but Sheffield will definitely give the ultimate UK university experience, if that is something you prioritise when applying to university.

Once I’ve finished my course, I would like to stay in the UK and work here before eventually going back to Norway. The journalism course is naturally very dedicated to the UK with UK media law, public administration and ethics, and it makes sense to use the knowledge I got at Sheffield in a UK newsroom. Hopefully I will make contacts during my work experience which will later be helpful when it comes to getting internships or a job.

In terms of advice for prospective students coming to Sheffield, I would say do extensive research, and when you think you have researched everything - research some more. It can be quite daunting to book a one-way ticket to Sheffield without knowing exactly what you will get when you arrive. If you can visit the university that would be ideal, however, there is a lot of information online and people you can talk to, so do not worry if you cannot come beforehand. I did not visit before I started, but during Fresher’s Week there are tours of the university and the city, so you will soon feel at home.