Faith Blake is studying on exchange at the University of Sheffield in the UK for Semester 1 of 2017. As a GLObewriter, Faith shares her experiences with us every month. This is her third entry. You can see all of her posts here.
The last thing you want to do on exchange is study, especially when England is finally starting to warm up. The grey clouds that greeted me when I first arrived have given way to a blue sky and a shining sun. I want to spend days soaking up the dearly missed golden rays of vitamin D and exploring Sheffield’s many green hills, not sitting down with my eyes glued to my bright laptop screen. But those due dates are not going to cease to exist just because I will it so, and daydreaming about the week when all my school work is completed is not going to write those paragraphs about empathy and narrative. The lecturers at Sheffield University are incredibly helpful. They regularly offer one-on-one support and for a sociology course, the final tutorial was also one-on-one. The final individual tutorial was compulsory which is fortunate as I tend to avoid seeking help and battle out my assignments alone – even if I am struggling.
With assignments piling up but weeks passing by, I am becoming acutely aware my exchange is coming to an end. Between studying, I try to get involved in as many university activities my bank account and time will allow. This includes movies nights with the Horror Society and the Film Unit. I joined the Horror Society at the beginning of the year but haven’t attended many of their events. One event I did attend was a ghost walk around Sheffield; this was where a man from Steel City Ghost Tours took our club around Sheffield’s town centre and spoke about ghost sightings in ancient buildings made in as early as the 1700s. The stories were captivating and entrenched in Sheffield’s history – from the bombings of World War II to the Irish gangs. Our tour guide also had the fitting name of Mr. P Dreadful. The tour was so enjoyable, I attended another of their tours which concentrated on crime and murder in Sheffield. Last Saturday, we watched an old Japanese horror film named Battle Royale, which is a gorier version of The Hunger Games. It’s a club worth replicating at Adelaide University and I may consider launching one when I return. The Film Unit is another society that doesn’t require signing up and shows movies (both old and recently released) in the Student Union’s auditorium – where I had my orientation. The tickets are only three pounds each (bargain!) and so far, I have watched The Edge of Seventeen and this Sunday I will be watching the newest Beauty and the Beast. This is a great weekly event to chill with friends after a long day of studying.
Another goal of mine before my exchange ends is to explore Sheffield a bit more. I have been keen to travel everywhere and therefore, I’ve neglected to explore my temporary hometown more thoroughly. Being the curious writer I am and the history enthusiast, my first local adventure was Sheffield General Cemetery. Creepy, I know. But I am drawn cemeteries; they have the ability to show history in a different, unique light. A less creepy place I visited was Sheffield’s Botanical Garden. I will never get over the thrill of seeing a squirrel and the Botanical Garden had heaps! Moreover, it was a peaceful place with varying shades of green and fountains. Definitely worth the visit, and the perfect place to read or study. There are a few more places I would like to visit before leaving Sheffield; this includes the Winter Garden in the city centre, the Weston Park Museum, and a library or two. Furthermore, I wish to explore the popular and scenic Peak District National Park. Fortunately, I will be able to do so this weekend with Sheffield Uni’s Walking Club – another club I joined up at the beginning of the year but failed to attend. However, I need to juggle my goals and aspirations with my assignments and exam prep. Let’s hope I can manage!