International Engineering Ambassadors
Insight into the life & course of international students.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Student’s Union

The Students Union
Written by: Birju Galaiya

In the last few blogs, I talked about my course and the projects we undertake as engineering students. This time round I am going to talk to you about the Sheffield Students Union and what it offers to students. A big chunk of your university life will be the things you do outside your degree. Unlike school where there are classes throughout the day from 9am-5pm, in university you will find that you will have plenty of time to achieve your other ambitions such as playing a sport, helping the community by volunteering for activities and being an active member of a society.

The Sheffields Student Union ( is the heart of the university and it helps you achieve your goals. With the students running it, the Union has grown over the years to become the best Students' Union in the UK in the Times Higher Education's Student Experience Survey for the past 3 years running. Yes, thats right- best in the UK! You may ask why is it so special or whats so good about it? Well, let me give you some facts and figures that will dazzle you. At the beginning of the 2013-2014 academic year, the Unions refurbishments were completed at a cost of £5million. Now there are many more food shops, meeting rooms and studios which students can utilize. Also it has a cinema where you can enjoy watching movies at an affordable rate. The Unions expansion has allowed it to accommodate the increased student capacity. I tell you, its a really incredible building!

Apart from the building facilities, the Students Union has 300+ active societies ranging from cultural, national, academic, faith, music and campaigning. And if you think those are not enough, it is quite easy for you to start a society of your own. During the day the union is buzzing with different activities carried out by societies. During the gaps between lectures, it is always good to visit the union and see what is happening- there is always something going on there! I am part of the Hindu Society and I have experienced the great support the union gives us in organising events. Being in a society, you make many new friends that share something similar with you and is a good break from your academic study (although it can be very distracting).

The union also offers affordable food outlets that cater for a wide range of students. At lunch times, the outlets are buzzing with students having a quick snack or even having a meal while catching up with colleagues. In the evenings one can visit a fine dine restaurant if they wish or perhaps enjoy a football match in the famous Bar One while having a delicious burger. The atmosphere is incredible especially during big matches- its the place to be! A new salad bar is also now open which allows you to purchase online and go collect your salad at a specific time.

I believe the Union offers the best night outs in Sheffield. It has a variety of nights out throughout the week. They also have special guests and concerts which attract a large number of students. After a busy week of lectures, it is always enjoyable to have a good time with friends and let the music take control over you.

One of the successes of the Students Union is its Volunteering opportunities. Once in a while, its always good to help the community around in Sheffield and the Union is proud in taking on the challenges by collaborating with various charities. It encourages students to take part in activities that range from a few hours to a project of several months. I regularly take on these opportunities as you can build your skills and also have a good time. The latest one was volunteering in a swimathon event.

Personally, the Give it a go scheme they have is great. In this scheme, students have the ability to explore new, fun places in the UK, as well as try out new activities and sports which they would not have otherwise. Its an opportunity to try out new things- from learning a language to learning a new sport. I learnt the game of Goal Ball (Paralympic sport), self-defence skills and iMovie editing.

I can go on and on about the great experiences the Union has to offer. Instead why dont you come study in Sheffield and experience it yourself? J

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