In our final blog in the series where we catch up with Progression Scholarship winners, we spoke to Yifei from China. He recently progressed from the International College, where he studied the International Foundation Year in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities. Now he studies BA (Hons) Accounting & Financial Management at The University of Sheffield.
How The University of Sheffield International College prepared me for University
The course I studied at the International College helped me a lot when I got to University. Before I came here I had no knowledge of how the economy works and how to prepare records for transactions. The International Foundation Year established the basis for my future study at University. Now, I can better understand the content we are covering. Otherwise, I would have been really struggling with the content in the first term, as teachers at University don’t teach us step by step, it’s more like exploring by ourselves.
The support of the College staff
Most importantly, teachers at the College are very patient and helpful. They answer every question you may have. The support staff are polite and friendly.
The experience that left the deepest impression on me was the computer service in information common. In the first term of the International Foundation Year, I accidentally poured my drink onto my computer keyboard and it became very sticky. I went to the second floor of the College and there was a place providing computer maintenance. They fixed my computer for free. This was really helpful because without them, it would be tough for me to find a reliable place to fix my computer in a new country.
Why study the Business, Social Sciences and Humanities International Foundation Year?
I majored in mathematics at a Chinese university but I was struggling with those courses. So, I decided to go to another country and study another course. The UK was my first choice because some of my friends studied here and I really like Premier League. Then, I preferred courses in the Management School because I came from Shanghai, the financial centre of China. Business and financial courses in UK are also well-known all over the world.
What is blended learning like at the International College?
I stayed in Sheffield after the lockdown and I thought there was no difference except that we didn’t need to go outside every day. Some of my classmates who went back to their home country had connection problems throughout the semester. But for me, it was like usual. We could ask questions by chat box during the class and we could still have high-quality classes as long as both the teachers and the students had a good connection.
Settling into life in Sheffield as an international student
At the beginning, I found it difficult to settle because I wasn’t used to the food here. But later on, I learned how to cook some Chinese cuisines myself. There are also some cooking instructions on our virtual learning environment.
Apart from the food, the other problem I faced was loneliness. To solve this, I made friends with classmates. By making friends with people from other countries, it became a good opportunity to practice our English and learn about other cultures.
Advice from an International College student
My suggestion would be try to learn English as well as you can and try to speak to non-native English speakers as much as you can. After progressing to the University, I found it difficult to express myself well to local students and if you cannot speak English very well, it might be hard to discuss some academic questions with them. Aim to improve this in your programme.