Sovra WhitcroftSovra Whitcroft
BA Japanese Studies and History

Why did you choose to study Japanese?
I chose to study Japanese because I have always wanted to be bilingual. It’s a really strong addition to a person’s skill set. Although I didn't just chose this degree with my CV in mind. Japanese culture has been my most consistent interest since childhood and learning the language is the best gateway to immersing yourself in that culture, in my opinion.

What attracted you to the University of Sheffield?
The open day, basically! I went to seven open days and was drawn to Sheffield and this course more than any other from the word go. Sheffield seemed like a really vibrant city and the course intrigued me.

Why did you decide to combine Japanese and History?

I was originally going to study just history, or history and ancient history. This is the only university where I applied to this dual degree. History was my first academic love; the fact that I was able to combine that with something entirely new was what made this university course my first choice.

Has your course lived up to your expectations so far?
I didn’t really have any expectations for the course as I didn’t know anyone who had studied it. I think it is a lot more difficult and time consuming than I originally thought it would be. However, I have loved the challenges this degree has brought forward and I think that thanks to this degree I’ve acquired many coping skills that will be useful in later life.

What do you enjoy most about your course?
I love the fact that I do two subjects. Whilst revising for them I can switch between the two, and it feels like I’m having a break every time I do. I think it means that you get less bored with a course if you have a break from it half of the time. Also, I love the people, of course. Japanese Studies is a fairly small degree and you get to know everyone on your course, unlike on bigger courses, such as history. You will make very strong friends if you want to.

How have you found learning a new language?
I’ve found it extremely demanding. This course means that you will probably be working harder than your other flatmates, which can be a little difficult to get your head round at first. However, not only does this make it incredibly rewarding, it means you value your free time a lot more.

What do you enjoy doing outside of your studies? (hobbies, interests, societies)
As is stereotypical for a student, I like spending my free time with my friends exploring the city and its nightlife. I also believe that if you’re a Sheffield student and you haven’t visited the peaks at least once you’re doing it wrong. The Japanese society is definitely one of the best in the university (not biased) and a great way to make new friends outside your course and in other years, and spend time with your course mates, as a lot of Japanese studies students tend to be members.

What is Sheffield like to live in? do you like the city?
Sheffield, to me, feels like a big town. It’s a manageable size if you come from a small town, and it’s not suffocating if you’re used to the city life. It has great nightlife, with a different coloured pint for everyone. It’s very student based, and I love experiencing Sheffield as a student.

What are your ambitions for the future?
My ambition isn’t anything specific yet. I just want to be happy in the job I do. I firmly believe studying Japanese studies is going to be the gateway to many options that will help me fulfil that ambition.

Do you have any advice for students thinking about doing Japanese Studies at Sheffield?
If you have a strong work ethic, enjoy a challenge, and feel truly passionate about Japanese as a language, not just as a culture, then this degree is for you. Ganbatte!