I accomplished my dream of living abroad

Student Claire standing in the Diamond
Claire Gelhaus
BA Journalism Studies
Winner of an Undergraduate Merit Scholarship
“Do your research well, and once you’re sure Sheffield is the best decision for you, it’s time to get excited!”

What made you choose to study at Sheffield and your course?

I was looking at study abroad opportunities as early as when I began high school, but I soon discovered how limited, expensive, and short the programmes can be through American universities. I also knew I wanted to go to a university that had an amazing reputation in Journalism.

In the end, I accomplished my dream of living abroad and chose to study at Sheffield. The student accommodation and the SU’s reputations assured me that I’d be comfortable and be able to find support if I ever needed it, and all my emails and questions were answered quickly which made me feel less alone when going into the visa process. In only three years instead of the customary US four, I will have a BA and NCTJ certification, from the number one university in the UK for Journalism, and at a much lower tuition cost than if I would’ve stayed in the US. 

How did you research the University to find out about studying in Sheffield?

I discovered the University of Sheffield through university guides, so afterwards I read all the information I could find about the Journalism Studies programme and the University itself. I watched YouTube videos, read past student experiences, and even called an international student ambassador. I sent emails about logistics, read up on visas, and made sure I knew what I was getting myself into before making the jump and accepting my offer. I really tried to learn everything possible about a city and university that I had never heard of, from an ocean away. 

What was your initial impression of Sheffield and the University when you first arrived?

I had been awake for many hours from my flight, and I had only connected with my flatmates a few days before I left home. But when my flight landed I had texts from them welcoming me to England, from friends wishing me good luck, and from my family saying they were proud of me. My bus ride from Manchester to Sheffield was long but the landscape already looked foreign, and when we finally arrived at the Edge there wasn’t any applause or grandeur, but I was proud of myself and all the steps I had taken to accomplish what seemed impossible when I first considered it. 

What would you say to a student considering studying at the University of Sheffield?

I spent too much time worrying about my visa or money instead of realising that I was in the process of going through what I’m sure will be such a huge moment in my life. Prepare to leave your comfort zone, and you’ll just have to trust that the people you’ll need to talk to, the man helping you set up a bank account, the group of workers at the phone store, the girl you’ll sit next to by chance in a lecture are going to be kind, helpful and at the very least not judge you for how you sound or where you’re from. If anything doesn’t go as planned, (because it seems like things never do) you made it through that situation, and you’ll make it through the next one too. 

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