Jessica LumJessica Lum
BA Chinese Studies

Why did you choose to study Chinese?
I have always had a passion for learning languages and an interest in other cultures. Chinese was a language which appeared to offer a real challenge, and China had always been a place I’d always wanted to visit, with a culture completely different to that of the UK. The rise of China in recent years also meant that it would become an essential and desirable skill to have once I left university, and would really improve my job prospects.

What attracted you to the University of Sheffield?
From my first visit everyone seemed really friendly and welcoming, as well as having some of the best facilities out of all the universities I visited. I heard from a lot of people about the great experience they had in Sheffield, and the opportunities available after graduation. The student experience in Sheffield really did seem like one of the best offered by any university.

Has your course lived up to your expectations so far?
It has. I have learnt a lot more that I thought I would, and a lot faster thanks to the teaching in Sheffield being really effective. My year abroad was one of the best experiences I had ever had, and I had to opportunity to explore so many new places I never imagined I could.

What do you enjoy most about your course?

One of the best things is the emphasis on making sure you really are able to communicate in Chinese in the real world though the variety of language classes we have, that other universities do not offer. Also in depth understanding of not just a language, but China and East Asia as a whole, which will be beneficial in the future when looking for a job. I really enjoy that I have the opportunity to take modules which allow me to explore areas I am personally interested in, not just from the East Asian department too.

How have you found learning a new language?
It has definitely been a challenge, but an enjoyable one! The difference between my ability before and after my year abroad is huge, actually living in China for a year was a huge boost to my Chinese and now I feel a lot more confident than before. Chinese is a difficult language but it is so rewarding when you are able to see the improvements you have made.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your studies? (hobbies, interests, societies)
During my free time I like to try out new sports, but regularly attend both squash and badminton. I am also passionate about photography, and the Peak District is a great place to take photos.

What is Sheffield like to live in? do you like the city?
Sheffield is a great city that I could see myself staying in in the future. It is compact enough to find your way around easily, yet big enough that is has something to offer everyone. Sheffield is close enough that you can easily reach the peak district and its beautiful scenery. There is so much to do here, and is a great place to socialise, especially as a student, people are really friendly and willing to help you. I feel that Sheffield as a city is the best of both worlds, enjoying both city life as well as open spaces and countryside.

What are your ambitions for the future?
I feel as if there are many paths my future could take, many opened up through studying Chinese at Sheffield. I would love to return to China once I have graduated. I would potentially like to continue studying there or find a job where I could use my language and cultural knowledge.

Do you have any advice for students thinking about doing Chinese Studies at Sheffield?

My advice is take advantage of everything offered to you. The idea of studying in China for a year can be intimidating, especially after only one year of studying Chinese, but it is one of the best experiences you could have, and your Chinese will improve so fast- leaving you with a really solid base to improve on during your next two years in Sheffield. Everyone at Sheffield are really friendly and are willing to help you in any way, so you can contact them about anything. Also, don’t worry if you have no previous experience in learning Chinese, this is something I was really worried about when I first applied, but Sheffield’s Chinese classes are really effective in teaching you all the essentials of the language in no time, and your year abroad will give you the confidence to use it.