Zihuan Zhang

Zihuan Zhang
Zihuan Zhang
Current student
MA Sociology
2020
"This MA Sociology course is amazing. I can tell that every lecturer has dedicated their very best and latest research into the modules."

Why did you choose to study the MA Sociology at The University of Sheffield?

A friend of mine studied philosophy in Sheffield a couple years ago, and I visited him several times. My first impression of Sheffield is that it is friendly, green and diverse. The size of the city is perfect; it has everything I need. If not, I could always take a two minute train to the Meadowhall shopping centre. I have fallen in love with the city and the University since then. I started to apply for master's degrees in 2019, and Sociology at the University of Sheffield was No.2 in the UK. I received offers from many universities, but I chose here because I wanted somewhere I could calm down and concentrate on my studies and not be distracted or stressed by stuff such as the commercial and shopping culture in London, the night clubs in Manchester, or the small town lifestyle in Durham or Bath. So I thought to myself, 'this city is perfect and the MA course is excellent, why not just come here?'

What are your thoughts on the course so far? Which modules have you enjoyed the most, and why?

This MA Sociology course is amazing. I can tell that every lecturer has dedicated their very best and latest research into the modules. My favourite modules are Current Sociology by Dr Lucy Mayblin, and Concepts and Ideas in Sociological Theory by Dr Matthias Benzer. The reason why I enjoyed these two modules the most is that they are so challenging and thought-provoking. Dr Mayblin and Dr Benzer are also very passionate about what they do. They introduced me to many decolonial social theorists, who were not included in the undergraduate curriculum. These two modules also happen to be the main modules of the course.

Have you found it easy to settle into student life in Sheffield? Which parts of student life in Sheffield do you enjoy the most?

I have been to Sheffield many times prior to studying this MA course, so I find it quite easy to settle into student life here. I guess I enjoy the library and the natural parks here the most.

Do you have any reflections to share on your study since the Coronavirus outbreak and the temporary move to online teaching?

I know that many lecturers' teaching plans have been disrupted by the pandemic. It is hard for everyone to adapt to the new technologies. I guess sociology does not require laboratory research but just reading literature, so the shift of teaching methods has not fundamentally changed my experience of learning.

What are your plans following graduation? Where do you see yourself in the future?

My plan after graduation is to progress onto a PhD level of study and I aim to become a scholar.

What piece of advice would you offer new students to the Department of Sociological Studies at Sheffield?

I would advise new students to prepare themselves for the workload and the challenges in finishing module assessments. At the same time, you should welcome all the possibilities of your own theoretical framework being shaken up or even destroyed and reconstructed by the new concepts and theories taught in this MA Sociology programme. 

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

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