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

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Meet Our International Engineering Ambassador - Ritwesh Chatterjee

Q: A little about me first …
A: I am an undergraduate student studying the course Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science with a Year in Industry. I am from India and have, for better or for worse spent my entire life over there before moving to the UK.  I have been awarded one of the five Sheffield Undergraduate India Merit Scholarships and also received an Engineering Excellence Scholarship by the Faculty of Engineering. I love listening to music of all genres, but some psychedelic progressive rock will always get my attention first! An offer for a session of music and gossiping is something I cannot refuse.

Q: Why far away from home? And Why University of Sheffield?
A: I neither did trouble my parents too much nor did they trouble me. So I came to UK of my own free will. The motivation behind this was the system of education that is practiced in the United Kingdom. They manage to teach us a lot more with the least pressure, providing us with capabilities to work in an industry or work in a team of highly qualified professionals.
However, the curricular education isn’t enough. Being a high achiever in exam papers but losing sight of the things that makes us human is not ideal. The cultural history of Sheffield and the ambience is really very influential and makes us grow as a person. Being a Russel group university, the University of Sheffield provides the highest standards of education but also has its own warmth, and is very welcoming to international students. You never feel abandoned or isolated like Mark Watney from The Martian. The staff and students work in unison trying to figure out what’s best for the students and constantly work on developing themselves and the system. I promise you won’t find it difficult to find a home away from home.

Q: What I love about my course …
A: Since I hate clichés, I won’t say ‘everything’. I’ll be specific. I am in a department with over 40 teaching staff. Each of them has their own areas of specialisation. Their expertise is reflected in their way of approaching topics. How making paper planes can help understand Agile Methodology of Software Development, is something I couldn’t have guessed otherwise! The unconventional approaches, yet keeping the flavours and advantages of orthodox methods, blending them to perfection is really an art one admires. Professors of their experience, being open to new ideas coming from students and actually paying attention and helping them to work on those, is also something worth noting. Lack of encouragement is something you can never complain about. I study a curriculum which is designed so that everyone from novices to people with experience in a certain area will have enough to gain from it and not feel deprived in any way. The assignments are planned and designed in such a way that they give us the feel of working in the industry and help us develop each aspect, starting from professionalism to group work.

Q: A typical day in Sheffield …
A: Yes, you do miss your mom or occasionally curse the decision to go abroad when you have to do everything from cooking your own food to buying your own medicines when you are sick. But then rest of the day brings life back to you. Waking up in the morning to rush to lecture theatres … yes, you might want to take a short nap during the lectures but then again, you need to pay attention. A sandwich, a cookie and some Latte from the Diamond Café might just work. The bright smiles and people warmly wishing you good morning might even make up for the morning shivers! As the day goes by you may dread the upcoming exams, but you might also come up with a brilliant logic to make your robots work in the lab. So you end up finishing the two days’ work in one and you feel on top of the world! Just then you are reminded of your upcoming Quiz in the next week but we are students, and that’s what we do. Some lectures make you sleepy, some are better than alarm clocks! But an evening in the café with a cuppa and friends is must. Even better, go to the studios and have a jamming session with friends. The moment I pick up sticks and sit behind the drums with the other guys up with their keys and six-strings, the tiredness fades away! After a couple of hours, you’re tired but recharged at the same time. And if it’s a weekend? There are always clubs and pubs you might want to go to. Sheffield, with its distinctive music culture, is sure to refresh you and get your energy back to ensure you can work even harder the next week!

Q: Something I would like to say …

A: Before I sign off, a few final words. If you are a new comer, make as many friends as possible. The first year of your undergraduate education is going to be the easiest. You should try and join as many Societies that interest you and get actively involved. Time will fly. Try and make the most of each moment as university life is something you won’t get back. And please, don’t study so much that you forget to enjoy life. Grades are important but so is fun! Have a passion to pursue. Who knows, your passion might one day be your profession someday!

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