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Exchange at the University of Sheffield – By Stirling Reeve

I was really eager to participate in an international student exchange at the University of Sheffield. I was inspired by my friends’ experiences who had told me that an exchange was a worthwhile opportunity, as well as the emails from the Adelaide University exchange department who reiterated this experience would be like no other.

Upon arriving at Sheffield, I was feeling eager and excited. I was excited by the possibilities that awaited me; from the opportunity to live with students from across the world, to the ability to develop my engineering knowledge in a different learning environment. At first, it took a while to settle and adjust to my new surroundings as I was unfamiliar with this environment. However, after a few weeks of orientation activities, the beginning of classes and the opportunity to develop close friendships with those living alongside me, I started to feel at home.

I found the classes at Sheffield very different to those in Adelaide. First, the process to enrol was quite complex and involved at lot of paperwork which I found to be quite tedious and time consuming. However, once I overcame the difficulties of enrolment and subject selection, I was able to focus my time on my studies. The class sizes were a lot smaller than those in Adelaide. The classes; split in to both lectures and tutorials were more interactive and had a great emphasis on problem solving. I really enjoyed my classes because it was another opportunity where students from across the world came together to discuss issues which are prevalent across the world. I also completed some group projects which were also great to work and meet with people from across the globe.

One of the greatest benefits of studying in Sheffield was my ability to travel throughout Europe. Whether it was on the weekend or throughout the Christmas break, I found myself travelling to Ireland or as far as Budapest. I also got to explore deeper the surrounds of Sheffield and the United Kingdom, something which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also used my opportunity of studying in Sheffield to visit my grandfather in Norwich which is something I do not get to do often while living in Australia.

Throughout my exchange I tried to immerse myself with the many opportunities available. I joined a soccer team with my friends and participated in College events. This is something I will certainly miss back in Adelaide. I think the ability to live on campus and share an academic and personal journey with those in your College years encourages you to be more involved and develop stronger friendships.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my student exchange in Sheffield. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone studying as it gives you an opportunity to develop friendships across the world, broaden your understanding of other cultures and develop your own personal skills. It has given me an understanding of what it is like to study abroad and I hope one day I will be given a similar opportunity once I am in the work force.

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