Friday, 27 February 2015

Yunpeng Celebrates Chinese New Year in Sheffield

Hi everyone this is Yunpeng again. In my previous blog about Chinese food in Sheffield, I mentioned that with more Chinese students coming to and studying in Sheffield, there are an increasing number of Chinese restaurants in Sheffield.

General Office of Department of Civil & Structural Engineering in Chinese New Year Style
I always feel that when coming to a foreign country, we should experience the culture of this country and integrate with the local people. At the same time, we can also promote the good culture of our very own.  I am pleased to organise the second Chinese new year celebration event with my department and the society. 
My colleagues and I hosting the Chinese New Year of Sheep event

In 2014, we had around 50 attendees in the celebration of the year of horse. This year, the year of sheep, we have had over 80 attendees! In the past few months, my colleagues and I travelled back and forth, negotiating lots of 'nitty-gritty' between the department and the restaurant. The ticket was £12, £1 cheaper than the previous year's. The department subsided each student by £5, so each student only needed to pay £7! I was very glad to see my teachers and coursemates many of whom are my very good friends enjoyed the meal. We also planned some Chinese cultural quizzes, and also videos of the China, however, these were not shown due to the limitation of the venue. However, I have received lots of good feedbacks of the event and we will use them to make a better event for next year.

Outside the university, there are also different forms of celebrations of the Chinese new year, for example, the one in City Hall. We are very glad that despite thousands miles away from home, we can still celebrate this important time with our friends.

By Yunpeng Zhu
International Office Ambassador for China

Monday, 23 February 2015

Yunpeng talks about Undergraduate Research at Sheffield

Hi everyone this is Yunpeng, an international office ambassador for China. I hope you have enjoyed my previous blogs and in this blog, I wish to talk about my research experience at the Sheffield University.

One of the most important things for the universities in the UK is probably the research, which is the source of teaching. It was soon ago that research at the University of Sheffield was ranked very top in a survey and was accepted as internationally excellence. Actually, most of the university teachers are very good researchers at the same time. However, it is equally important that the students develop their research skills at an early stage.

Sheffield has developed several programmes to help the students to develop their research skills. This includes a large amount of independent study at their first year of the study by giving them some proper topics in their coursework. In my department, the department of Civil & Structural Engineering, I was given the topic 'Development of Civil & Structural Engineering between 1770 and 1830'. While conducting this research I had to read a large amount of materials from the library and the internet. I familiarised myself with referencing and report writing, and more importantly, developed my critical thinking skills from this process.

Yunpeng Zhu and Prof Matthew Gilbert (Supervisor) at 2015 SURE Dissemination Event 

With the university life going, the research tasks given to us have become tougher and tougher. This includes research-based design. I was very glad that I was involved in the joint-research of our department and the university spin-out company, sponsored through a university programmed called Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience.

The programme provides undergraduate researchers in Sheffield University a bursary up to £1080 and the projects are conducted in summer. The SURE scheme also offers bi-weekly research seminars to help students familiar with research processes, organise socials that help network between researchers, and exhibitions to show the outcomes of research. I compared the similar schemes in other UK universities and I am proud to say that our SURE scheme provides most well-rounded supports for our students.

By Yunpeng Zhu
International Office Ambassador for China

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Accommodation later in the school year at Sheffield - Erika

Hi! It's Erika from Japan here again to tell you more about where I live now that I am on my main University course for the school year at Sheffield.

In the end of the summer, once I had finished my ELTC language course,  I decided where to live for the school year This is my seventh time moving home in my life.
My house has six bedrooms and we share the kitchen and two bathrooms. I wanted to live in a house  because I wanted to meet new friends and have similar experiences to the local British people studying at University in the UK.

Snow in Sheffield
Now I have five flatmates who came from four different countries. Of course, we have some cultural differences ,so we sometimes have meetings about our house rules. At the beginning, we decided on a cleaning rota so that each one of us cleans and organizes our house every week. It is really important to understand our thoughts and what we would like to ask housemates so that we can live together well.
In my house, there are only postgraduate students so our house is usually quite calm except from when it is someone’s birthday and on weekends. On my birthday, my flatmates sang a song holding a big cake and celebrated at midnight! We cannot have such an experience if we live alone. I am very happy to feel the atmosphere - we can invite a lot of friends over, and even strangers! If I get home, I always see someone new. In the last two months, my flatmates’ siblings and friends also visited them from their countries. We help each other, share some meals, talk about cultural differences and ask each other about our studies. It is really nice to live with people work hard for similar goals. Our courses are different, but we can share some similar feelings. These experiences make me feel relieved and feel like “we are not alone" as students at the University of Sheffield.

By Erika Uchiyama
International Office Ambassador for Japan

Monday, 16 February 2015

Introducing Erika from Japan - Accommodation in Sheffield over the summer

Hi, my name is Erika Uchiyama and I am the International Office Ambassador for Japan. You can find out more about me on-line here, on the University web pages.

Today, I would like to tell you about my accommodation experiences over the summer period.

My room at Endcliffe before I unpacked!
Last summer, I took the pre-sessional course iat the University's English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) for 10 weeks. I lived in University accommodation in Endcliffe. The benefits of living there are the security and it is very well-organized. They do maintenance on  our rooms when we are in class if needed, and we can ask questions anytime if we have some problems. The reception
Endcliffe Student Village
is open 24 hours a day.  Plus, there was a kind of student mentor who came to our flats regularly to talk about some events we can join and ask us if we have any troubles or concerns. He was really friendly and helpful.

The only issue I had was that it was a little far to walk. Though it was still near to the main University campus, we needed to walk to Bartolome House near Weston Park and this took about 30 minutes. It was okay because we can pass shops, cafes, parks on our way to school and I was living there in summer so it was a nice walk.

Endcliffe was a really beautiful and calm place to live. I saw some lovely squirrels here and there from my room. Also, it is close to the Botanical Gardens and Endcliffe Park. I used to run around there. There is a walking road from Sheffield to Peak District. If you like living in a  green environment, I definitely recommend living there!

By Erika Uchiyama
International Office Ambassador for Japan

Friday, 13 February 2015

Taking the train in the UK with Yunpeng

Hi! It's Yunpeng here again; the Chinese International Office Ambassador (IOA)..

Yunpeng at Platform 9 3/4 in London
I hope you found my previous blog entry useful. When working as an IOA, I was asked by some students either inside the UK or studying in China who showed interests to visit the campus. Sheffield doesn't really have a domestic airport (the nearest airport is Manchester, about 1 1/2 hours away) so unless someone picks you up in the airports in nearby cities, you need to book a train ticket for the cheapest and quickest way to get to Sheffield.

But don't be scared! It's really easy to buy an on-line ticket at a reasonable price. Take a look at the National Rail web pages for an idea of times and prices, though you can book tickets from other places, too. Once you have booked a ticket, you can choose to add one pound (if you live in the UK, otherwise it may cost more) to mail the physical ticket to your house. Alternatively, you can write down the reference and collect your ticket from the ticket machines at train stations using the credit/debit card that you booked your ticket with. 

The UK and Chinese train systems are fundamentally different. As you know, the Chinese train services are managed by the state-owned train company (it used to be a central governmental department but became an enterprise in 2012). However, the UK trains are run by several private companies. Though the UK trains are about a third less fast than Chinese ones (imagine the Chinese trains need to cross the huge country so how can they not be fast?!), they are very important for local people to travel and commute on . An example is that there are more than 20 trains each day connecting Sheffield and London, some of which only take 2 and a half hours, so you can easily go there and back in a day if you wanted!

Some money-saving advice, like booking early and using comparison websites, are also valid in the context of trains. In addition to these, as a student, you can purchase a 16-25 young person card which gives you huge discount. If you are a frequent traveler, for example, you live in Chesterfield but study or work in Sheffield then you can buy weekly or monthly tickets, bringing each journey down to only few pounds! 

By Yunpeng Zhu

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Tiffany's Christmas in Sheffield

Hi, it's Tiffany again here; an International Office Ambassador for Hong Kong.

I confess: I do miss my old high school Christmas parties, where I just turn up and eat, and then get tons of pressies to take home! Well, there might not be as much free food here as there was in Hong Kong, but there’s nothing like Christmas while you're at University in the UK. I think I kind of love it now I'm at Sheffield!


The Christmas meal with my team and Christmas Day at University actually makes me feel like I had Christmas for weeks on end. Christmas crackers aren't a thing we have back home, and I really liked having them here. Yes, I hate it when you're out and can’t move or stand without being hit by someone’s shoulder (a short girl problem) and crowded was an understatement for the Christmas celebrations at some point or another, but for sure I loved the University Christmas Day celebrations!

Christmas dinner, that was held at my University, was  just absolutely amazing;it’s just something more!  Although I have to clarify, I finished almost all the mince pies only because everyone on my table was too full for it! ;-)

And of course I didn’t forget my friends back home. There’s a reason why I love our number-one Students' Union; you can find all sort of help there. Simply take it all to the welcome desk and bling! the presents will be magically posted to your friends. (Yes you have to pay for the postage, I guess that’s the magic spell broken, huh?) 

You got me! I still send home-made Christmas cards to everyone and give out presents like I’m Santa, even from here in Sheffield! 

International Office Ambassador for Hong Kong 

Monday, 9 February 2015

Introducing Yunpeng from China - Eating Chinese food in Sheffield

Hi, my name is Yunpeng Zhu and I'm an International Office Ambassador (IOA) for China. You can find out more about me here, on the University web pages. 

When I am working as an IOA, the most frequent questions that I am asked by prospective students are about Sheffield's Chinese restaurants. Interestingly, there were many times that I hadn't had lunch on-campus, or just had a sandwich meal deal from the campus shops, so their questions made my mouth water!

I believe when a Chinese person goes abroad, no matter how he/she has integrated with the local society, Chinese food will continue to play a vital role in his/her life forever.

There are plenty of Chinese resultants catering for full range of Chinese food in Sheffield. Especially in recent years, the increasing number of Chinese students booms the local oriental restaurants. Two main areas that serve Chinese food are on West Street, where you can find very tasty Cantonese flavors and on London Road,where you can get quintessential mainland dishes. I wanted to highlight that although the Chinese restaurants in the UK are perceived to have changed their original tastes, there are exceptions which taste 100% Chinese.

In my eyes, in the UK, the only better place than Sheffield in terms of Chinese food is to be found in Chinatown in London. In Sheffield, Chinese restaurants are sometimes a little bit more expensive than some of the other types of restaurants, but are cheap compared with the Chinese restaurants in other cities. If you wish to save some money, try smallish Chinese takeaway shops whose food may not be ideal but costs you less. Happy eating!

By Yunpeng Zhu
International Office Ambassador for China
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