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

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Meet our International Engineering Ambassadors: Anna Santagostino Barbone

Name: Anna Santagostino Barbone

Course: Meng Bioengineering

Nationality: Italian

My background
Although I was born and raised in Italy and I have always attended non-international schools near Milan, I can fairly say that I’ve been a cosmopolitan person all of my life. I have been travelling for many years with my parents, who had friends all around Europe and with my friends visiting people I met during my high school semester in Wales at Morriston Comprehensive School. All of this has taught me that being cosmopolitan is a mind-set, no matter if you have lived all of your life in the same country. I found that at the University of Sheffield this is considered as a value and how could this not be? There are more than 160 countries represented in this University!

Why I chose the University of Sheffield.
Before choosing the University I wanted to attend, I did a lot of browsing through websites and I found that UoS website was a really useful resource. I would advise you to have a look at it because it answers a lot of questions you may ask yourself. I read about all of the modules I would have to take if I enrolled on the Bioengineering course and I found it was ideal for someone like me who was always interested in both maths but also in more scientific subjects. I was really confused when I had to choose between Engineering and Medicine but here was the answer for me: Bioengineering. There are other universities offering a similar course but I found that their perspective was more focussed on engineering.
What convinced me to choose the UoS was not solely based on what I had read on the website or on its high ranking. At high school I attended an Open Day at the Polytechnic of Milan which has the best engineering facilities in Italy. I asked a lecturer and the Head of Department of Biomedical Engineering, which would be the best University to study Bioengineering in the UK and they both agreed that the University of Sheffield would have been my best choice.

What I enjoy about my subject at the University of Sheffield
As I said, I don’t think you can find another course like this one because it is split among so many other departments. This way, you get the best of everything that the University of Sheffield can offer you. It is hard to get bored of Bioengineering at the UoS because every module is quite different from the others but at the same time they were chosen in a way that makes them intertwine. I am becoming more aware of this as my first semester is coming to an end and I can see the links between the different subjects I have been taught in the previous months.

Why Sheffield – The Steel City?
I have to say that knowing I would be living in Sheffield helped me decide to attend UoS because Sheffield is a really nice city to live in. This is because you can get the best of both city and country since Sheffield is the third largest metropolitan district in England. It can offer you anything you may be looking for – a lot of international food for example, which I personally adore! It has a very active music scene with lots of gigs on, which makes Sheffield the perfect city to live in if you love music. At the same time, Sheffield lies partially within the Peak District and it is one of the greenest cities in Europe. Whenever you want to get out of the city you can do it very easily, enjoying the wonderful landscapes that the countryside of South Yorkshire has to offer. There is also the possibility of doing  many different outdoor sports that  bring you in close contact with nature, so don’t forget to take your training shoes with you!

The perks of being part of the University of Sheffield
Apart from the academic point of view, UoS has so many opportunities to offer a student. The Students Union has been ranked first in the UK and it does deserve that place because it’s always organising so may events. What strikes me about the UoS is the variety that you can find here. The University organises nights our and clubbing for you and at the same time great sport and volunteering activities, so that if you can manage your own time you could be involved in something 24/7. The word boredom doesn’t exist in Sheffield’s vocabulary.

What I want to do after my degree
There are many things I would like to do after my degree but the main three are: working in the developing world maybe with some kind of organisation like ‘Engineers Without Borders’ or ‘Engineering World Health’; working in a hospital such as the big Royal Hallamshire Hospital here in Sheffield; going back to my home country and starting a bioengineering company in order to develop a field that is not yet represented in Italy. I am aware that these things are very different from one another but I am sure that studying at UoS will give me the inspiration to make the right choice, freely and lead me to the path I wish to follow.

My advice
I’d like to quote from Mark Twain with one of my favourite quotes first: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
I think the final three words clearly represent what you can find in Sheffield and as an international student one should never be afraid to leave home in fear of finding a storm because from what I am experiencing, Sheffield is a great harbour to dock.

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