Hi. I'm writing a blog for the University of Sheffield about my experiences of being an international student here. I will be writing every week so please bookmark me and come back often!
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Coming as an international student to another country can sometimes be daunting, but for me no matter where I am, I will always be international. Let me explain a little about myself; my name is Sonal Mehra and I have studied as an international student in Tokyo for almost my whole life. The question of "where are you from?" leads to an answer which I find quite normal, but did seem to confuse a lot of people at first, "I´m Indian, but I have lived in Tokyo my entire life and I went to an American international high school".
The full explanation is necessary otherwise statements such as "But you´re not Japanese" or "Why is your English so good?" follow. I love my internationalism. I feel lucky to have grown up in such a unique environment which has allowed to me to be exposed to many different ideas and ways of life.
So now you must be wondering why Sheffield? Why the UK? The main reason I chose the UK was because I preferred to study medicine in the UK rather than go through the US system. In the UK the course is 5 years where as in the US I would have to do 4 years of undergraduate first and then another 4 years at medical school.
Personally I also preferred the UK as a nation compared to the United States. I feel as if I can relate more to the general sense of humour and personality of the nation. I know that this may have sounded odd, but simply put, I felt more comfortable in the UK. 5 years, to me, is a long time, so wherever I chose to go I wanted to make sure I liked the city. I did visit several universities and when I came to Sheffield I just really liked it. I wanted to still be in a city while in University and Sheffield provided just that. The University specially arranged for another student to show me around the city and what would come to be all the buildings and places I would soon be spending my next 5 years in.
The people here are lovely. Everyone seems willing to help and are quite open and friendly. I remember in the beginning of the year when I was still attempting to navigate my way around town I had to ask for directions quite frequently. These directions were often accompanied with being called "duck", "pet" and "luv" which I find sweet.
Of course I still miss Tokyo a lot. There is no other city like it and after all it is my home, but over time I have also grown to love Sheffield. I have made many wonderful friends through halls, my course and just all those random things that happen on nights out! It truly is a student city. Every night there is something to do and somewhere to go. Being a medic, I have been to told to live it up in my first and second years and I think I have done quite well in my first year!