I cherish my time with my classmates and tutors
Which course did you study?
I took a masters degree in Cities and Global Development from 2019 to 2020.
Why did you choose to study in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (USP) at the University of Sheffield?
I had a clear ambition of studying for a Ph.D. in the U.K, so a master's qualification is essential for doctoral study. I aimed to obtain a master's degree in urban planning at any prestigious British graduate school when I applied for a master's. Sheffield stands out from the list because of the department's renowned reputation in higher education and networking with the professional body: Royal Town Planning Institute. The Research Excellence Framework 2021 is a crucial publication that can indicate the great achievements of Sheffield.
What is your most memorable thing from Sheffield?
I would say friendship is the most memorable thing from Sheffield. I cherish my time with my classmates and tutors at the master programme. All the twelve students in my programme knew each other well, and we hung out weekly at bars before the surge of Covid-19. Furthermore, lecturers and tutors got more chances to interact with students. The ideal student and teacher ratio can explain why teaching and coaching are delivered well in this learning environment.
What is your PhD research about?
My research is about community-led housing renewal and community governance at neighbourhood level. I think now is a defining moment to refine the role of community-led approach in an overall housing context under the age of global austerity.
Which elements of your research do you most enjoy?
As a researcher, you are responsible for sharpening an understanding of knowledge in your specialized area and positively impacting social and intellectual dimensions. Even though doing research is a lonely journey, you have more space and time to examine a specific field of knowledge in-depth with a comprehensive analytic framework. The element I enjoy the most in research is the independent work on testing knowledge either within detached or active positions. However, you should ensure your finding can contribute to the planning profession instead of producing intellectual products confined in the ivory tower.
How did your studies at Sheffield prepare you for your PhD study?
All knowledge in urban planning was new to me because I studied Architecture for my bachelor's degree. Lecturers from my master programme offered me a broad but comprehensive study framework in urban planning, ranging from urban governance, international development, housing, urban design, and urban ecology. Seeing the subject knowledge from their perspectives, I realize planning is not just about development control of the built environment. Planning could be defined as an institutional arrangement for enhancing living quality and a design instrument for promoting the built environment. Moreover, I could understand the aspirations and usage of planning through the lens of the Global South and excluded minorities. In short, I benefited most from those intellectual insights, which helped me to perceive the boundary of a conceptual landscape while carefully refining my research focus on my doctoral study under the philosophical frame.
What would be your advice to other international students considering studying in Sheffield?
I think my advice would be more helpful if they could justify their motives for studying abroad. In general, I would suggest they could think about their aspirations of study abroad and career development after completing a master degree. The University of Sheffield can offer them a compacted and inclusive learning environment where they can immerse themselves in studying. Secondly, they should think about their career development ahead. Then, they could think about what kinds of opportunities and networking they plan to take from the department. For example, students from my master programme had practical support from lecturers if they wanted to apply for the UN-Habitat internship. That is because some urban planning and geography lecturers work closely with the United Nations. UN-Habitat internship is an excellent example of showing how a school can assist a student in reaching a valuable extra-curricular or career opportunity.
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