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

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Meet Our International Engineering Ambassador - Malini Nair

Department: Computer Science
Course: BEng Software Development for Business with a Year in Industry
Nationality: Indian

Who am I?
Hello, I’m Malini and I’m a first year student studying Software Development for Business. Yes, it’s a fancier way of saying software engineering and business but I’d say it’s a little better than that. I am a true nerd at heart despite my love for all things beauty. I also enjoy the simple things in life such as food, sleeping and reading. I’m Indian by nationality and ethnicity, however I was born and raised in Lebanon (a tiny country by the Mediterranean Sea and Syria) which made me extremely international.

Why University of Sheffield?
It was a big change to move from the Middle East to rainy England, but it was a decision I made at the very beginning of high school. I ended up choosing to apply to England because of the fact that I will be getting a professional degree in a mere 4 years, unlike in the US. The fast pace and the option to work for a whole year in the industry while getting paid made me choose England because work experience is the number one factor employers are looking for. Engineering at the University of Sheffield is one of the best in the country and it has outstanding facilities in the new university building “The Diamond”, where students can use a virtual reality lab, program with NAO robots and do flight simulations. These immediately drew me towards the university along with unique modules and challenges such as Global Engineering Challenge week, Engineering, You’re Hired!, etc. I have never seen anything as such in any other university, which honestly made me choose the University of Sheffield. Lastly, the close connection between the industry and my course was a perk since finding a proper job after graduation is extremely important to me.
Why did I choose this course?  
For a long time, I did not know what to study and I’m sure I’m not the only one who dealt with this confusion. I used to want to be a doctor for years and then I realized I got too squeamish over blood and didn’t love biology as much as I loved Mathematics and Physics. Regardless, I spent years researching architecture, physics, civil engineering and electronic engineering but they all had a missing factor and that was the lack of versatility. I am a person of many interests, ranging from art to neuroscience, and computer science was a degree that would open many doors for me. There is not one establishment that can run without technological support and the need for computer scientists, hence it is extremely demanding and flexible in the sense that I can work in any domain I wish. Unfortunately, my specific course is no longer available in the coming years due to the small number of students studying this degree. However, I feel so lucky to be able to study this unique course because it really emphasizes software development for commercial purposes and that is exactly what I wanted; it was as though this course were made for me. Despite it being focused around business, it is still very versatile as I could go into that field, visual effects and animations or even research for artificial intelligence. If you are a person that is uncomfortable with sticking with one path or doesn’t exactly know what to do in technology, then computer science is the course for you!

What do I love about Sheffield?
As cheesy as it sounds, what is there not to love? You’ve got the best of both worlds right at your doorstep - you can choose to hike in the Peak District and enjoy the fresh air in nature, or you can spend time in Meadowhall and Centertainment, shopping, eating, watching movies and participating in activities. Want more nature? Then hit up Weston Park and the Botanical Gardens. Being the 4th largest city in England has its perks as it’s not as overwhelming as London, especially for students and those living on their own for the first time. Sheffield is perfect for students as the majority of the population is composed of them, it’s the safest and greenest city and it’s cheap! I mean, who wouldn’t want to go here? Additionally, the city is filled with people from all over the world, allowing you to learn more cultures and languages and in case you’d like to try a different cuisine, there’s more than plenty to choose from.

Advice for prospective students...

Your degree is priority at university but that doesn’t mean you should be cooped up in your room all the time. Join sports clubs and societies to truly unleash your passions. It’s also a great way to meet people. The “Give it a Go” scheme allows students to try a new activity and it ends up becoming their passion. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to experience something new. That’s what I did by joining the Dance Society and now, I love it. There is honestly an activity for everyone, and the Student’s Union (which has, by the way, been the best in the country for 5 consecutive years) is the go to spot to sign up for these. Attend events and gigs, learn a language, go on day trips to different cities. Make the most of the 3-4 years you spend here. Also, never be afraid to ask for help. Put yourself out there and thrive to do the best you can, in every way. Know what you want and don’t stop until you’ve achieved it. Good luck to everyone!

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