Leaving home to go and study at university can be a daunting prospect for students staying within their own country.
For those students who decide that they want to take their educational journey across the other side of the world – to a country with different cultures, customs, climate – it is even more nerve-wracking.
At Sheffield Hallam University, we have a wide-ranging support network available to ensure that upon their arrival here, our international students are able to access a wide range of provisions to help ensure them settle in to life in the UK.
This support also includes assisting international students in finding part-time work or placement opportunities, to allow them to develop their work experience both now and in the future.
Employability Adviser, Teresa Corcoran, recently interviewed Chinese International student Xingyue Zhao (likes to be known as Stephanie in the UK).
Here, Teresa writes about how the help and support from the Careers and Employability team has really helped Stephanie develop over her time in the UK.
International Student Q & A
Name: Xingyue Zhao (likes to be known as Stephanie in the UK)
Course: BA (Hons) Business and Financial Management (which includes a placement in 2017/2018). Stephanie entered the course in the second year.
What have you used the Careers Service for?
“I’ve used the Careers and Employability service in a number of ways. When I first came to the UK in September, it became clear that in order to be successful in gaining part time work or a placement role I should get some guidance. I booked in for CV help initially. I was applying for roles which eventually required me to undertake an interview as part of the recruitment process.
“I realised I’d never had an interview in the UK and as the culture here is quite different so I booked in for a practice interview session, which involved providing the role details and being interviewed by two members of staff (Teresa and Philippa) from the SBS Careers Service team.
“I was interviewed and received detailed feedback. I also applied for a Campus Job which I know is part of the Careers Service offer. I’ve more recently gained help and support with job application forms via e-mail.”
What information did you gain from the CV Help session that you didn’t already know?
“I learned how to make my personal skills and experience stand out to employers by using “action” words (active and positive words, usually verbs). I learned how important it is to match your skills to the role which involves clearly demonstrating your skills and not simply listing them. I also received guidance on how to summarise and explain my experiences clearly.
“This sometimes involved using the STAR technique. It was also suggested that I undertake a range of activities in the University to further improve my conversational English skills which would really help in securing a placement next year.”
What did you gain from the Practice interview session?
“I felt much more confident in my own abilities and previous experiences, it also increased my confidence. Also, I learned that in an interview you need to demonstrate enthusiasm for the role and organisation. I learned how to effectively use the STAR Technique to answer interview questions which involves explaining how I’ve demonstrated certain skills. It was also highlighted that I should demonstrate the outcomes or results of the things I’ve done.”
How did you find the staff you met in Careers in terms of Support?
“The staff members who supported me really gave me confidence; they were also really helpful and nice. They provided me with a lot of professional advice.”
Would you recommend the service to new International students?
“I would definitely recommend the service to other students. I recently applied for and was successful in gaining a part time role working for the University within the International Career Enhancement Club as a member of their Student Crew. This role was gained through a competitive recruitment process where over 200 students applied.
“I am now undertaking training and will perform this paid role throughout the year ahead. I’m still seeking a placement role to start in summer 2017 and will continue to access support from the Careers Service as and when I need it.”
This case study is currently located on Sheffield Hallam’s account on the WeChat social media platform, to promote the help and support on offer at the university to international students within China.
WeChat is a platform used predominately in China and has over one billion accounts, with 700 million active daily users. It’s fundamentally a messaging app, but it also serves many of the functions of PayPal, Facebook, Uber, Amazon, Expedia, Slack, Spotify, WhatsApp and more. People use WeChat to pay rent, locate parking, invest, make a doctor’s appointment, donate to charity etc…
To see how the case study looks on the page once translated into Mandarin, please click here.