Living in Sheffield really feels like a community

Image of Hailee Fulbright Scholarship Winner
Hailee Scarafile
Speech and Language Therapy
Winner of a Fulbright Scholarship
Hailee was awarded the 2022/23 Fulbright Scholarship.

What made you choose the University of Sheffield?

During my search for universities in the UK with accredited Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) programs, I came across University of Sheffield’s program and was intrigued because it was very unique compared to other programs I had seen. The program descriptions explained that I would be able to complete multiple external placements which would provide immediate first hand experiences in different areas of the field. The quality of education was a leading factor in my decision. The SLT program was highly accredited. A major pull for me was the high student retention after graduation for Sheffield graduates, which made me feel like people could really find a home here, which was exactly what I was looking for considering I would be so far away from my home. 

What do you like best about living in Sheffield?

My favourite thing about living in Sheffield is that it really feels like a community. Everyone I’ve spoken to and befriended were incredibly kind, which was so refreshing. On top of the camaraderie of Sheffield locals, I love how versatile Sheffield is. You can decide if you’d like to spend the day in the city centre going to shops and cafes, or take a day trip into the peaks to see beautiful landscapes, or you can go on a shopping spree at Meadowhall. I know I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the things available to me and there is so much to look forward to.

How did you find the Fulbright application process?

The application process had some challenges. When applying for Fulbright I found it hard for me to decide exactly what parts of myself I wanted to share with the committee to show that I could be a good candidate. That is where my support system came into play. I had friends, family, and faculty from my undergraduate university help me culminate all the parts of myself and my experiences that exhibited I had the background knowledge, skills, and experiences to be a successful ‘Fulbrighter’. I had the opportunity to research all the things I wanted to do if I did receive the scholarship and was able to share those thoughts with the committee during my interview. 

What tips or comments would you give to anyone thinking about applying to Fulbright?

Start early! Give yourself enough time to plan what you’d like to say in your application and make connections with faculty at your previous school and future university. A good support system is really helpful when applying for Fulbright. Friends, family, and advisors makes a seemingly daunting application much more manageable, even fun. I would also recommend finding something you are really passionate about learning to write in your application. In my application, I spoke about my general passion and interest in SLT, but my ultimate goal as a professional was working in areas of low socioeconomic status where speech therapy is often difficult to access. Using a specific interest can really help your application stand out.

How has the scholarship from Fulbright benefitted your studies?

Fulbright has given me confidence in my capabilities as a student here at the University of Sheffield. Higher education can be really intimidating because it is much different from the schooling you are used to, but having members of the Fulbright commission offer support and resources has been valuable. The commission has advisors that I can speak to about academic or personal concerns, there are many symposiums throughout the Fulbright year to provide further information. Most importantly, Fulbright has connected me to other award recipients all over the UK who have this same shared experience with me. It is nice to have friends all over the country that can show all the beautiful areas of their cities. 

Have you done much travelling around the UK – can you do this on a budget?

I have done some travelling in my time here in the UK. I’ve been able to visit Leeds, Manchester, York, and Edinburgh. Travelling is very easy and can be very affordable if you invest in a railcard. It has saved me a lot of money and allows me to see all the places I have been hoping for a much more affordable rate. Booking in advance has also been a helpful tool in saving money. I recommend taking advantage of all the public transportation options available. 

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