As an international student - Why Sheffield?

Business Management & Economics student, Alex, shares why he chose to study at Sheffield University Management School.

Image of Sheffield City Hall taken by Alex Chan

Why Sheffield? That’s a question that pops up quite often whenever someone first meets me. To be fair, Sheffield isn’t the biggest city in the UK, the university isn’t ranked the highest, perhaps doesn’t have the glamour associated with bigger cities, so it probably shouldn’t be an obvious choice for international students. Even my parents to this day still ask me now and again - out of all places in the UK, why Sheffield?

Being someone who grew up in a city like Hong Kong, studying abroad for me was a chance to get away from the hectic life back home, and to experience a different lifestyle. One that allows me to slow down once in a while, but still offer excitement aplenty - Sheffield does exactly that. 

When I was doing research for university application in year 12, although I had never been to Sheffield at that point, I thought Sheffield was a place that carries a real vibrancy and youthfulness to it. There’s a lot going on here, but never to the point where it feels overwhelming. My concern with living in bigger cities was that having too much going on could provide a source of distraction, not just from my studies, but my personal wellbeing as well. 

Obviously it’s not just the city that attracts me, there are practical reasons for applying to the University of Sheffield. I am here to study, first and foremost (as my parents often remind me). The University of Sheffield is a relatively high ranking university in the UK, and is part of the Russell Group Universities, both of which are good indicators of the quality of this university. I also really liked the layout of the campus, it being so close and integrated with the city centre, allowing students to have a bit of down time between lectures. 

A somewhat surprising factor that sealed the deal for me on Sheffield was actually videos on the University Youtube channel. I remembered watching videos of city tours made by the University back when I was considering Sheffield, seeing all the little shops at places like Division Street and Ecclesall Road, I just thought how much I would love the cosy and comfy vibe of the city. As it turned out, I have been absolutely loving it here.

Image of Sheffield Skyline taken by student Alex Chan

There was also a video on student societies that offered me a glimpse into the theatre society SUTCo, which I’m now a part of. I’m a massive theatre fan, but back in Hong Kong, performance arts aren’t really prioritised at all, so it can be difficult to find other like-minded souls. After seeing how there’s a whole theatre society at this university, with proper facilities and venues like the Drama Studio on Shearwood Road, coming to Sheffield was practically a no brainer for me.

As I was writing this blog, I dug up some of the notes I made back in year 13 when I was applying for uni. I made a pros and cons list for Sheffield, for pros I wrote a few things, for cons I just wrote down ‘None that I can think of’. After living here for 2 years, I’m pretty happy with the judgement of my younger self back then. Well, other than all the walking maybe, it can be hard on the knees sometimes.

Written by Alex Chan, September 2023. 

A global reputation

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.