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

Monday, 14 December 2015


Name: Muhammad Shuja

Department: Computer Science

Course: MEng Software Engineering

Nationality: Pakistani

Year: First

First, something about yourself?
My name’s Muhammad and I’m currently studying 1st year Software Engineering. I was born in Karachi, Pakistan and raised in Dubai, UAE. I did my International GCSEs and A-Levels in English Language School, Dubai.

Your favourite subjects at school?
Definitely Maths!

Why did you choose to study at the University of Sheffield?
I was amazed by the fact that the Sheffield University has won awards at some point in all categories, all the way from the best accommodation to the best Students’ Union in England. Apart from that, I planned to study in a city that was entirely different than the one I was previously living in (Dubai). I was looking for something not entirely made out of skyscrapers, but rather more greenery. And what could be a better choice than Sheffield?!

How easy did you find settling into Sheffield?
To be honest, it was a lot easier than I was expecting. I was hoping to get homesick really soon. Not to mention the fact that I was terrified about the culture shock I was expecting. Turns out I didn’t face any of those things at all. The University did make sure my transition was as smooth as possible. One of the best things they did was assigning a mentor to me who helped me out on all aspects of university. Yes, prospective students, you can get your very own personal guide to Sheffield. The best part? He/she will be on the same department as yours if not the same course!

Part of your course you particularly enjoy?
Most people usually think that Software Engineering is just programming, something which you could probably learn on your own. However, that’s not true. My course offers a lot more than that, stuff like Artificial Intelligence and Software Development Techniques all the way to Assembly Language Programming. The part I like the most are Artificial Intelligence labs. Each group gets a robot which we programme to do loads of cool stuff like responding to what you say and identify faces of different people and performing specific actions for each one. It does some basic Tai Chi tricks too!

Your opinion about the teaching and studying methods at the University?
It’s nowhere close to the ones at school. You get to be more responsible in terms of your academic progress. Though the lecturers are as helpful as possible, just viewing the lecture slides won’t do the job. You’ll learn through your own mistakes and you’ve got to do a certain amount of independent study before you understand concepts, and this keeps getting harder as you advance through your course.

The benefits of studying at UoS rather than another University?
As a student in Sheffield, you get to be part of world-class Russell Group University situated in a diverse community. You have a Students’ Union which makes sure your voice is heard no matter what your concern is. I don’t think any other university is as good as Sheffield at welcoming international students. The University also has the privilege of having an impressive employer satisfaction rate and also the best Students’ Experience for a number of years.

Advice to prospective students?
There is no such thing as a ‘stupid question’. Don’t be afraid to talk about anything that worries you. I’m sure you’ll always find someone to hear. Living on your own in a new country is never easy, but all it takes is some time and patience to find your way around it. Join lots of societies and have fun. Oh, and definitely try all the takeaways on West Street, each one is better than the other! Don’t forget the thing you will actually be here for … work hard and prosper!

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