Category Archives: The experience abroad

Laura Holliday – Studied in Amsterdam

Laura Holliday is an LLB Law student studying at Sheffield Hallam University, check out her adventures as she goes to study at Hogeschool van Amsterdam!

“I can’t express enough how much this opportunity has benefitted and changed me as an individual. My list would be infinite in its length.

As part of my legal studies in Amsterdam, I leLaura Hollidayarned about International Law and EU law in a totally different context as to how it is taught here in England! There certainly were fewer sceptical attitudes or finger pointing towards the EU.

The Netherlands is also one of the EU’s institution capitals, hosting inter-governmental organisations such as the International Criminal Court in the Hague, which we visited as a university excursion. This was the first opportunity where I contemplated the operation of international law in practise, not in theory.

Going abroad also means you are a stone’s throw away from other countries and key institutions such as the United Nations in Geneva, which we visited as an introductory class trip back in September 2013! Something that is less of a possibility when you’re living on an island. I now have made so many new contacts that I can return to in my future career; a fundamental element of university in order to prepare yourself for the steps after graduation.

Studying abroad is a catalyst for so many qualities such as maturity, confidence and people skills. I’m a new person in my outlook towards life and it has moulded my vision of my career. I’m certainly more approachable, friendly, confident, independent and versatile in my character; I can’t put into words how much I have grown as an individual in only 12 months. Like I said, my list is too long!

Whatever doubts you have, cast them aside and go for it! Never live life with any regrets and this is one opportunity that you certainly can’t afford to miss out on! I love every second and would do it all again if offered the chance.

Good luck and say yes to everything when you’re out there.”

If you’re inspired by Laura’s story, then like our Facebook page for all the latest exciting opportunities and news!

Ioana goes to Germany! – Erasmus Exchange Experience

Ioana is a Sheffield Hallam student studying BA International Business with German; join her adventure in Berlin as she studies for a year abroad!

“I can’t even count all the good things EIaona - Germanyrasmus brought into my life.

I have been blessed with the chance of living in Berlin as well, which is an amazing city. I have also been lucky to meet a lot of great people and make friends for life, people from all corners of the world. Even after we all went back to our home universities we still keep in touch and talk every day.

The Erasmus programme also comes with the Erasmus grant which helped me with all the finance and I didn’t have to get a part-time job while living there. I could focus on university and take advantage of the free time, spending it with my friends. I came across so many different cultures and points of view; it was amazing to see how different we are but how well we can still get along. I have learned so many things related to the world that I am living in. Last but not least, it was the best way of improving my language skills. Also, living there motivated me a lot to want to learn more, to speak better German.

I would totally recommend it! I would do it again and again if I had the chance; it was one of the best 6 months of my life and I have no regrets for signing up for the programme.”

If you’re inspired by Ioana’s story, then like our Facebook page for all the latest exciting opportunities and news!

Holly and Hannah go to Canada – part 2!

Meet Holly and Hannah Stark, two Hallam students who recently returned from a year-long exchange at Trent University; follow them in their experiences as they travel to Canada and America and see the benefits of studying abroad!

“With no technology and merely the stunning landscapes which surrounded us, we learnt a lot about ourselves and the people around us.

h&HAfter completing our April exams, we were lucky enough to travel west across Canada with a group of international students; our international family. This involved a four hour flight, several overnight buses and a twelve mile hike. The trip lasted around a month and took us from the most amazing heights of 7667ft in Banff to the beautiful grounded beaches of Vancouver. We surprisingly (but luckily) didn’t see any bears in Alberta, but we did see a few bare bums! (Having accidentally stumbled across a nudist beach at the University of British Columbia.) Travelling and wandering in the wilderness gave us such a sense of tranquillity and an intense desire to see more of the world. H&H mountain

Inevitably, we were not ready to leave the lovely country of unpredictable weather and unappreciated beauty. Although we struggled at times, missing home and family, we were unaware that we would make another family, who would be just as hard to leave; one that spanned from Japan to Holland to Ecuador (and all the bits in between), all joined through Canada, a place where we definitely could have stayed longer, whether that be studying, watching ice hockey or eating their most remarkable delicacy; poutine.”

If you’re inspired by Holly and Hannah’s adventures, then like our Facebook page for all the latest exciting opportunities and news!

Holly and Hannah go to Canada! – Part 1

Meet Holly and Hannah Stark, two Hallam students who recently returned from a year-long exchange at Trent University; follow them in their experiences as they travel to Canada and America and see the benefits of studying abroad!

“It was incredible how quickly we felt a sense of comfort and unity with these once unfamiliar faces.

CanadaArriving on a yellow school bus with frozen windows (on the inside!) in early January, we began our journey into a world of the unknown. Under the two pairs of thermals and several layers of cotton and wool, we wondered if we could remember what warmth felt like. -41 degrees was a shock to the system and three months of snow made us realise how lucky us Brits have it in winter.

But we soon adapted to the Canadian climate; skiing, ice skating, plenty of Tim Horton’s and trips to maple farms made us learn to love the cold. And it definitely can’t go unmentioned: you really can pour maple syrup into the snow, wait for it to become gooey and then scoop it onto a stick and have a maple lollipop!blog - sunset

Suddenly over the short period of a week, zero degrees became twenty three, spring was skipped and summer began. We didn’t understand Canada, but we loved it; the people, the climate and the uni. Trent University looked picturesque everyday, both covered in snow, and illuminated by sunshine.

We likened it to Hogwarts, with four competing houses, and a Great Hall. Trent also had a beautiful river and its stunning campus made the exam stress much easier to cope with. Adjusting to a new place can be tricky but we tried to embrace everything possible, whether that be the constant ‘eh?’s after sentences, the plastic waterproof money or the milk sold in bags (not cartons), and funnily enough, we now miss the things we initially found unusual.

On top of reading five books a week and indulging in Canadian Literature, we took it upon ourselves to learn some new skills from our fellow international students; these involved attempting to speak Dutch, juggle, longboard and cook (but mainly eat) Latin food (Tigrillo, Locro and Arepas are personal favourites and definitely worth a Google.)

We managed visits to Toronto, hockey and baseball games, the incredible Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and New York City, all within reasonable distance of Trent Uni, but nevertheless, time began to pass much too quickly…”

To be continued next week!

Rochelle MacKenzie-McQueen – Erasmus exchange

Rochelle MacKenzie-McQueen

The exchange is a great way to make one’s CV more attractive to prospective employers and to stand out from the crowd. This is due to the wide range of valuable life and education skills that you gain.

Rochelle MacKenzie-McQueen, Studied LLB Maîtrise en Droit Français at Université de Paris-Est Créteil, France

“I chose to study at Sheffield Hallam University because of my course which not only gave me the opportunity to study LLB Law but also allowed me to spend two years in Paris, obtaining fluency in French and an M1 in French law.  For me, the Erasmus programme was a part of my course, but had it not been compulsory, I would still have chosen to take part.

The exchange proved invaluable in helping me to develop my language skills. I am now more confident in my ability to speak French and have learn various slang words and local dialect which have helped me to better understand the language. Without the exchange, I would not have been able to do this.

My Erasmus experience also helped me to develop skills such as managing heavy workloads and finding new ways to study.  I became more independent through the experience of living and studying abroad. Although I have lived abroad before, this was the first time when I had to be truly independent. I had to learn how to do things such as open a bank account where the system was completely different.

I would definitely recommend taking part in the Erasmus exchange to other students. In my opinion, there is no better way to learn about different cultures and (where applicable) languages. I also developed a great deal academically.

The exchange is a great way to make one’s CV more attractive to prospective employers and to stand out from the crowd. This is due to the wide range of valuable life and education skills that you gain.

I feel that I learnt more about myself in the nine months that I spent abroad than I have during the past three years of university.

Erasmus exceeded my expectations!”

Hannah Gaunt – teaching abroad

Hannah Gaunt, Final year student in Sports Coaching, Sheffield Hallam University

“I learnt how to be innovative and my confidence grew so much because of this experience. I believe it makes me stand out and along with my other scHannah Gaunthool experience contributed to succeeding in gaining a teach
er training year.

I have been studying sport since college and will continue my studies when I graduate to train to be a teacher. I have volunteered at many events, including sports days, coaching and giving presentations on my time in Tanzania.

I spent 2 months in Tanzania and I got this opportunity through the University. It was a formal application process and I was selected to go. I was a sports coach to an under 16’s girls’ football team, a teacher in colleges and schools and helped in the community with HIV awareness.

My most memorable experience was turning up to teach at a college. We were never told how many people would be there or what we would be doing until the day. When we arrived and got to class there were 98 students which 4 of us had to teach. They didn’t speak much English and didn’t always want to input so it was very challenging. I learnt how to be innovative and my confidence grew so much because of this experience. The hardest thing for me was the realisation of how much I take for granted. Some of the children I worked with had very little but were still the happiest children I have ever taught or come across. The experience taught me to be thankful for everything I have and to respect and value people a lot more.

The best thing about the experience was seeing the children’s faces every day when we turned up to coach or at school. They were always so happy to see you and never wanted us to leave. The worst thing about the experience was probably being away from my family although at the time I wanted to stay longer and wouldn’t change one minute of the trip.

The experience has given me so much confidence and passion in what I do and what I want to achieve. I learnt how to live in a completely different culture for 2 months and adapted to their way of living. I gathered so many new idea about running lessons, games and how to communicate effectively when you are faced with challenges such as language barrier.

I feel more motivated to achieve the things I want to achieve and I strongly believe that this experience has made me more employable as I have developed a range of skills that are essential in teaching jobs. I believe that this experience makes me stand out and along with my other school experience contributed to succeeding in gaining a teacher training year.

If I were to give advice to anyone who was planning to volunteer, I would say to do as much as you can while you are out there in order to gain the most from the experience. If you go in half-heartedly then you will not develop as a person and learn new skills.”

If you’re inspired by Hannah’s story, then like our Facebook page for all the latest exciting opportunities and news!

Oli Porter – Working Abroad

My advice to anyone contemplating doing something like this is: do it! Get there as soon as you can. Africa is a fantastic place: the people are so friendly and will help you with anything. I would love to go back and see how sustainable my projects have become in the community. It is an experience of a lifetime and a memory you will never forget.

Having the opportunity to have my university work placement in Tanzania has made me more self-assured about applying for sports teacher jobs in the future, developing my personal and professional skills.

I spent two months coaching rugby and football teams in a variety of age groups in Arusha. I was with a group of other students, also from Sheffield Hallam University and we would spend most of our time within the community.

I visited orphanages, primary, secondary and disabled schools in the area, introducing mini activities and coaching multi-skill and fundamental sessions in a variety of sports. I also coached sport sessions in international schools around Arusha throughout the eight weeks, as well as leading HIV/AIDS Awareness sessions, hosting leadership programmes and teaching

The work placement was fantastic, I was able to meet new people and enhance many of my skills. I had the opportunity to go on safari, go to Zanzibar (an island off the east coast) perform for Arusha’s first team and much more.

The hardest part of my trip was that I had to leave; it’s safe to say I caught the Africa bug, I loved my experiences there and I made some great friends who I really want to see again.

The best thing about it was the challenge; I was in a country I had never been before, with very little knowledge of Swahili. I had to push myself to ensure that I got the most out of the opportunity and was able to develop my skills. I feel like the trip enhanced my cultural awareness and my independence hugely.

Having this Tanzania experience written on my CV and having worked with a variety of different organisations, any application I make for future roles would instantly stand out as distinctive and unique.

Oli Porter is a final year student on the Sport Development with Coaching degree. He spent eight weeks in Tanzania working at a school as a sports coach with young people.

Michael Overton – working abroad

Michael Overton is studying for a BSc. in Geography at Sheffield Hallam University

“There is no doubt that any experience working towards a goal in a foreign country will benefit me in this career choice.

Michael Overton

I am a final year Geography student at Sheffield Hallam, director of my start-up company Sealsafe Ltd., a qualified pilot, parachutist & diver, an Army Reservist, experienced traveller and writer.

I have worked on yachts in the Middle East, trained and managed sales teams in Australia, climbed remote peaks in Central Africa, Borneo, Nepal & New Zealand, picked up duck eggs & fixed tractors in Lincolnshire, video recorded shelling on Syrian towns, worked in a casino in Sheffield, collected lobsters in the South Pacific and explored ancient burial caves in Papua New Guinea.

During my semester abroad at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, I studied modules with an Australian twist and got a feel for the country within a global context including economics, environments and politics. I also worked a few hours a week making crepes. The cost of living is high in Australia. I was there for 6 months but the hardest thing was staying focussed on assignments with great surf beaches just down the coast!

The best experiences on a personal development level were gaining an insight into areas of the world I might never have otherwise e.g. a fascinating module on the broad history and current threat/opportunity posed by China to countries across Asia and Oceania.

It gave me the fantastic opportunity to travel to wild places across the continent e.g. Papua New Guinea – exploring ancient burial caves!

Each experience builds on the last in life to make you a more interesting, resilient and ambitious person with the right attitude. There is no doubt that these experiences multiply 10 fold when you throw yourself at life in a foreign country. The worst thing I had to manage was a crazy land-lady

I am keen to work as a research executive for a global branding agency so ability to work in totally unique environments and analyse the cultural dynamics that play into both conversations and reports is important.

Recently a student came to me for advice on studying abroad, I was happy to help but the detailed questions on everything from phone network recommendations to options on washing facilities just went on and on until I stopped replying. My advice is don’t panic, you are not flying to Mars – a little mystery and open planning can enhance your overall experience.”

Mike has been a Regional Ambassador for Virgin Media Pioneers for the past year.