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

Monday, 10 October 2016

Orientation Week 2016

I can honestly say that this September I experienced one of the best times of my life and I know that I’m not the only one sharing this opinion. The reason for it is that I was lucky to be chosen to work as an assistant during the Orientation Week at Sheffield University. You might wonder what this week is, so let me tell you about my ‘Orientation Adventure’!

Orientation Week is organised every year just before Intro Week. It is an initiative of Sheffield University Global Campus and is designed for new students (with an emphasise on international students) to help them in settling down, adjusting to the university life and, what I think is the most fun part, making new friends from all over the world and together with them taking part in amazing events! It is open not only for freshers but also for exchange, Erasmus and postgraduate students.
Last year I was that lost fresher coming to study in the UK form abroad and not knowing much about what was to come. As soon as I heard about Orientation Week, I didn’t hesitate, I signed up for it and made the best of this programme. Since I met so made many great friends (that I am in still in touch with!) and as it helped me so much in finding my way around Sheffield, I knew already that I want to be a part of this amazing initiative the following year. Hence, at the beginning of this year I applied to be an Orientation Assistant and after a while I received an information that I was successful!

After months of waiting, September did finally come and so did Orientation! I was working in amazing team of 40 ‘orange people’ (have a look at the pictures and you’ll know why we’re called like this) and our main task was to help people make new friends and enjoy different events and basically feel like at home. Over 1000 students from over 85 countries took part in the week so it was a very challenging task but happily it all went well! The orientation programme was very intensive and students could attend all the events every day from 9am even till midnight! There were a few events that were taking place every day, as some students arrived later during the week and we didn’t want anyone to miss them. These included interesting talks on important things like opening UK bank account, services available to students, health service or breaking through the culture barrier. We also ran Icebreakers activities every day and they were a fantastic way to help people in making new friends! Actually, last year on the first Icebreakers I met 3 amazing people together with I spend majority of Orientation Week and I’m still very good friends with them, so it really works! Another great opportunity to make friends were themed Cafés for people living in the same accommodation or studying at the same department. Thanks to these students could have a chat, coffee, cake and meet people they had something in common with and sometimes even their coursmates or flatmates! One of them was an Engineering Café which was very busy as many new engineering students came to meet others. As an engineering student I could share my experience at the UoS and tell them what it is like from my perspective. Also a few other IEAs supported us in this event so we had a chance to introduce the new students to the engineering world at our university. Also students could explore the campus during campus tours or visit university buildings like the Students Union, Information Commons or The Diamond and familiarize themselves with location of their department buildings, libraries or services like University Health Service. In addition to the events run on regular basis, there were special one-time events like a trip to Chatsworth House, Welcome BBQ, Karaoke, Quiz Night, Games and Crafts, Afternoon Tea or Taste of Britain where students had an opportunity to taste British pies and give a go to Ceilidh, a Scottish folk dance. The last event was Welcome Reception party with a bit formal part at the beginning and
a club party later on that finished this exciting week!

Even though it’s already been a few weeks since Orientation I still feel the energy all the students shared with me. It was an incredible feeling to see people making friends, opening themselves and getting more and more confident. There is nothing more precious and more rewarding than seeing a smile on people’s faces and hearing them thanking you for help. These simple things were the best driving force to make this week the best and memorable experience for every participant. If you’re about to start studying at the University of Sheffield but you’re unsure about finding your way here, making friends or you’re scared of the culture barrier, no matter where you are from, I’d really like encourage you to come and participate in the orientation week. There’s something for everyone here and it is an incredible opportunity to meet people who are in exact same situation as you, face similar problems and those who want to make your start to Sheffield adventure as good as possible.
If you have any questions about the Orientation Week, feel free to contact me! (|

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