Haoru Xu has successfully completed his Pre-Masters course and is now looking forward to beginning a degree in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield, the UK’s top university for Journalism Studies. Read his advice for new students starting their pathway programme at the University of Sheffield International College.
Welcome to the University of Sheffield International College and the start of your first year of study in Sheffield. For most of you, this coming school year will be both exciting and stressful, as it is likely to be your first time so far away from home, but don’t be afraid - view it as a solo adventure and I assure you will never forget this wonderful journey.
To start with, here are some tips which could help you:
Make time for yourself
Do take care of yourself and manage the balance between study and social life. Studying is always the priority but it doesn’t mean you need to study all the time, a social life is also important. Also, why not learn some cooking skills? It is proof that you can lead an independent life without your parents’ protection.
Enjoy your environment
Don’t forget to get out and about in Sheffield - there are lots of things to do and see. My favourite is watching the sunset at Roe Woods and Park Hill, which are just short walks from University of Sheffield International College and great places to see it!
Make yourself a good timetable, with a time to get up and go to sleep and your day divided into work and social times with breaks and meal-times built in. Sticking to your daily routine will help you be successful and happy.
Don’t be afraid to be social
Make friends with your classmates and tutors. Don’t worry about your English skills and express your opinions freely in the class. Unconditional obedience is not the way to show your respect to tutors - interacting with them by asking questions and discussing ideas is what they encourage. Making friends with your classmates will also help you to get to know how other people live in other parts of the world.
Use your support system
Find someone to talk with when you feel depressed or upset. No one’s life is smooth all the time, and this is just as true of your life in Sheffield. Find someone to talk with if you don’t feel good. It could be your classmates, your roommates, or your tutors and there are staff at USIC to help too - the Student Support team. No matter what happens, there are people here willing to help you.
For students who are also hoping to study journalism like me, you should write as much you can about any subject - it’s really important to practise your writing skills if you want to be a journalist. Here are some more tips especially for you:
Practice your English whenever you can
Talk in English more frequently in class and in daily life. As a student who wants to learn journalism in the UK, you’ll have to work much harder to improve your English skills than your peers do. Seize the chance to use English in class and don’t worry about your accent. Don’t feel embarrassed when you try to speak to the locals - the people in Sheffield are very friendly and kind, and practice makes perfect.
Make the most of the News Quiz
You will have a news quiz at the beginning of every workshop, and it’s really important that you know about news and what is happening around you. Read the Sheffield Star or Sheffield Telegraph [newspapers] every day, no matter how busy you are. This is the most convenient way to know what is happening in the city. Besides, it is also an excellent chance to learn an authentic English news writing style. Take some notes to pick up some useful words when you read them. Listening to the radio when available is another excellent way to help immerse yourself in the English atmosphere.
I’m looking forward to seeing you in Sheffield, and hope you all do well and progress to the University of Sheffield successfully.
Haoru Xu leaves students with a final message in the form of one of his favourite quotes:
“Countless with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps
We'll meet on edges, soon, said I
Proud 'neath heated brow”
- Bob Dylan, My Back Pages