A welcoming city

graduate Joelle Cheong
Joelle Cheong
BA Politics and Sociology
"The culture of both the university and city have been so great for an international student studying in the UK."

Joelle talks about her experience as an international student and the support she received as a dual honours student.

Elmfield building, the Department of Politics and International Relations

Why did you choose to study politics and sociology?

I have always enjoyed social sciences and wanted to do a dual honours degree to gain more exposure to different aspects of social sciences.

More importantly, engaging in a dual degree in this manner would allow me to gain an understanding into how different aspects of social science complement each other to understand our social world.

I felt that it would better suit my learning style than studying one social science in silo.

What have you enjoyed most about the politics course?

I have enjoyed the critical and analytical manner in which we have engaged with all the material presented.

In all forms of teaching, professors and lecturers make an extra effort to encourage critical thinking, such as considering the weaknesses of theories and their applications for instance.

This has created a positive learning environment, whereby students understand that they are not merely expected to absorb and accept what is presented to them, but are encouraged to analyse and critically question existing academia.

For me personally, this learning environment has changed the way that I consider things I read or hear about, even outside of University, making me a better learner.

What have you enjoyed most about studying in Sheffield?

The culture of both the University and city have been so great for an international student studying in the UK. Living up to its name as the first ‘City of Sanctuary’ in the UK, the culture in Sheffield is such a welcoming one.

People you meet around the city would engage you in conversations and banter regardless of where you are from, and it is such a warm feeling. The university emphasises acceptance of all peoples as well, creating a warm and inclusive culture. The combination of the two really made Sheffield a home away from home for me, and a city that I will always love.

International students in Sheffield

What has been the main highlight from your time studying here?

Working on my dissertation was definitely the highlight of my time studying in Sheffield. For me, the dissertation felt like the culminating test of the skills and experience that I have picked up through my time in University.

From the stages of choosing a topic, to conducting the research, and synthesizing the research into a coherent dissertation, each step of the way required me to tap on skills that I was unconsciously honing as I progressed through my time in University.

In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed both being able to work on something that I was passionate about, as well as the challenge of independent research that the dissertation brought.

Do you think the course has prepared you well for your future career?

Most definitely. I want to pursue a career in policy, and what I have learnt from my courses in Politics and Sociology provide me with a very unique lens through which to consider policy from various angles, making for effective policy analysis and policy-making.

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