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

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

My First Day at Sheffield

By Muhammad Shuja

After a couple of weeks of waiting and crying about missing Orientation Week (try not to do the second thing, please!), I finally received my student visa on the 18th of September. Now that I had missed Orientation, there was no way I was going to miss a single day of Intro Week. So, I packed my bags, hugged my family goodbye and flew off from Dubai on the 20th of September. I arrived at Manchester Airport on a beautiful morning, got received by a friend of mine and walked to the train station. As I was in queue for the train tickets, I saw a couple of people wearing orange “The University of Sheffield” t-shirts. The Meet and Greet guys (more details in the link below)! Even though I missed the deadline to book for the service because ‘someone’ made a late visa application, I still pushed my luck and asked them if I was able to join them on their coach to Sheffield. To my surprise, they were more than happy to accommodate me, which saved me from hours of waiting for trains and taxis. Yes, they still let me in even though I didn’t apply previously. However, this is not guaranteed but be on the lookout for some orange coloured t-shirts if you haven’t booked your train tickets yet (Shh … our little secret!).

I finally got my transportation sorted, and we were our way to Sheffield in no time. We went past the beautiful Peak Districts. There was greenery as far as the eye could see. Oh, and the cute little houses! Yes, the ones like we used to draw in our primary class art lessons! I didn’t even know those things were real before coming to England.

Apart from the dazzling views, the friendly meet and greet staff was kind enough to answer all our questions about student life, all the way from banking to mobile service providers. I also got a chance to chat with people from many countries on the same coach as me. Definitely one of the best journeys I’ve had!

After an hour and a half, we got down at Endcliffe, one of the largest and best student villages in Europe. I received my keys, got to my flat and was received by few of my flatmates who had arrived before me, who were kind enough to help me with my luggage. I entered my room and noticed a small box on my table with lots of stuff to get me going. Some cookies, an energy drink, playing cards, and Marmite (took me a while to figure out what that was)! I unpacked my stuff, called my family and left excitedly for a tour of the university with my flatmate. We were greeted by the Residential Mentors of Endcliffe at the Edge. As it turned out, RMs are senior year students who help you out with issues you have regarding accommodation. They’re always in blue t-shirts so it’s easy to spot them (orange at the airport, blue at your halls … remember!). Off we went to our tour, and in 5 minutes I got to know why the way out of Endcliffe was known as ‘killer hill’ (Once you’re here, you’ll know too … no spoilers yet). Moving on, our first stop was the best Students’ Union of the country. We also visited other famous university buildings like the Arts Tower, the tallest university building and the Information Commons, the library that never sleeps!

I ended my tour with a delicious Margarita Pizza at the Edge with my flatmate. I spent the rest of the day to sort out my bedding which I didn’t bring with me (courtesy of limited baggage allowance *sigh*). I finally got done with everything I had to, and while my flatmates enjoyed their night out, I preferred having a sound sleep that night for a fresh start to Freshers’ Week.

Word of advice; make an early visa application, you won’t have to rush things then! Oh, and if you’re lucky, you might get some free ice-cream from the Village Store during move-in weekend. You’re welcome!

The Meet and Greet Service: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/ssid/international/before/meet-greet

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