Category Archives: Student stories

Find out about the experience of other Sheffield Hallam students studying or working abroad. Plus useful information to help you prepare for your own experience abroad.

Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur profile – Yang Liu

Sheffield Hallam University is proud to have endorsed Chinese graduate Yang Liu (Elena) in order to set up her own business in the UK after graduating.

Sheffield Hallam has a Tier 1 licence from the Home Office. The licence enables the University to endorse up to 10 international graduates per year to become self-employed after completing studies. Elena was one of the successful applicants to enter the University’s competitive application process, which is run by the Enterprise Team. After receiving the endorsement Elena successfully applied for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa with the help of the International Experience Team. The visa allows her to be self-employed in the UK.

Elena founded Yang For Young Limited in March 2017. Yang For Young offers good quality and easy-to-use products to help young people with sensory impairments to gain more life skills.

Elena so impressed the judges from the UK Steel Enterprise Accelerator Programme that she won a prize of £10,000 to develop her business. We are confident that Elena will have a great future ahead of her!

If you are interested in following in the footsteps of Elena, contact our Enterprise team to find out about the application process. The Enterprise Team welcomes international students who are graduating from degree courses and interested in becoming entrepreneurs in the UK. Students can access free support from the Enterprise team, including free workshops and advice from professional business advisers. You don’t need to have previous business experience, but you do need to have the enthusiasm and skills to learn how to run your own business.

Enterprise Team
Telephone 0114 225 3131

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!

Lucia Grace Bellanti shares her Erasmus experience

“During my Erasmus study period, I went to Santander, in the north of Spain, at the Universidad de Cantabria. The faculty name is Administración y Dirección de Empresas and the modules I chose were mainly focused on marketing, international strategy and how to create your own business, plus the Spanish Intensive course at level C1. All the modules were taught in Spanish, which I thought was really good in order to improve the language.

The Spanish ulucia 1niversity system is very different from the UK. There is no difference between lectures and seminars, you only have seminars in which the tutor explains through a Power Point presentation and asks questions at the same time. The students are also expected to ask questions if something isn’t clear of anything related to the specific topic. The first assessment for all business modules were group presentations, which allowed me to get to know Spanish students and build a relationship with them, also out of the university. Erasmus students also presented in class, having a few minutes extra but always in Spanish. I believe this was also a great way to improve Spanish. The second assessment for the modules was an exam. The exams were composed of short answer questions or multiple choices, nothing impossible!

Moreover, the Spanish course was very useful as it focused on grammar rules but also on the communication ability. This course has helped me loads for my work placement.

Santander was a relatively small city but great to go out. It has a great beach and, even though it’s quite cold in the winter, you’ll make the most of it in the spring/summer time. There are some amazing landscapes and places to visit in Santander and its region, Cantabria.

I then started my placement in the Purchasing department in the Headquarters of NH Hotel Group in Madrid in June 2014. NH Hotel Group is one of the top 25 chains in the world and one of the main ones in Europe. NH Hotel Group operates almost 400 hotels with around 60,000 rooms in 28 countries across Europe, America and Africa. The company stands out in quality both as regards to services and facilities, with carefully thought out decoration, intended to please all tastes and making the guest feel comfortable. NH Hotel Group establishments are equipped with the most advanced technology to facilitate communication, work and entertainment for its clients.

My main tasks were to give support to the Corporate Purchasing Department by managing the strategic sourcing and purchasing of the international contracts for all hotels in 28 different countries. I start and follow tendering processes of different categories of goods and services all around the world and, following the awarding of a supplier, classify and draw up contracts, agreements and product sheets to be communicated to all business units. I also helped the directors of the different business units with their issues and resolve incidents with international suppliers.

I believe that the highlight of my placement is being able to directly manage an international tender for a 1.5 million € contract. I was directly responsible for the whole tender process and assisted in the awarding decision.


I also got to know so many Spanish people that were also interns in NH and made strong friendships. The working environment was great and the presence of so many young people made it easier to adapt and participate in the different activities.

A tip I would give for finding accommodation is to look for a Spanish roommate in order to improve the language skills and to fully get to know the Spanish culture. The main websites I search for houses on were:;;;
Regarding Madrid and Santander, I believe they are both great cities to live in. There is always something to do and many activities to share with other people. Moreover, the people here are great and always very kind and helpful. Being Madrid an European capital, you can also find people from all over the world who are working here or young students who are here in Erasmus, therefore you will have no problems with enjoying the social life!!

Being back at SHU for my final year is quite strange. It seems that everything has changed and mainly I have changed completely after this amazing experience. Erasmus allows you to know so many people from different cultures and with different lives and experiences to share with you. Living alone and working in a foreign country also allowed me to mature so much faster.

It is difficult at first to get back into the university routine, however everything is focused towards your future as a professional which helps and pushes you to do your best in order to obtain the best after uni.

I really encourage you to go on Erasmus because it is an amazing and life changing experience!”

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

Sara Graham – Erasmus+ Exchange – Finland

Sara Graham is a Sheffield Hallam student studying BSc Psychology – read her story as she travels to University of Jyväskylä, Finland to study for a year!

“I can’t really articulate how great it wsara finlandas but to sum it up in one word I would definitely say life changing

I decided to take part in Erasmus since I had the chance and to set myself apart from other students on my CV. I’d heard really good reviews from friends and family members that had done it but really had no idea how good it would be.  I wen
t to Jyväskylä, Finland and completed 25 ECTS in a few courses, I met a huge group of Erasmus and international students from around the world and travelled around Finland and Scandinavia.

I benefitted from Erasmus in countless ways. Without sounding too cliché, I grew massively as a person: I met loads of friends all over the globe and learned about many different cultures apart from just Finland. I feel like I found myself again as I kind of got a bit lost in my ‘university’ self. I’ve learnt that I’m a very capable, independent person – more so than I thought I was.

Getting there on my own was terrifying but having achieving it successfully, travelling around the Nordic and Scandinavian countries, and coming home, I’m not even phased by travelling anymore.

I took the opportunity of living in such a beautiful nature filled country to travel to Lapland with ESN (Erasmus Student Network) and see the Northern lights.”

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

Amelia Furniss – Erasmus Exchange experience

Amelia is a Sheffield Hallam student who spent a year studying in Università degli studi di Bergamo, Italy as part of her BA Languages with Marketing (Spanish) course; here, she answers a few questions about her time abroad and the experiences that she had!

“I don’t think I can possibly explain how much I have benefitted from this part of my life.

The Erasmus programme was a compulsory component of my degree. I chose to do this in Italy (as Italian is my weaker of the two languages I speak). I went to Bergamo, a city just north-east of Milan where I studied modules of Italian Amelia profilelanguage, Spanish Italian and Culture and Business & Marketing. Aside from studying I travelled a lot whilst in Italy and was always learning new things about the culture.

You always hear about all the usual benefits such as learning the language and learning more about the culture but you never hear about how it changes your life. I met so many fantastic people from all over the world, the type of people I want to surround myself with for the rest of my life because they all have the same outlook as me; they’re all doing this for the same reason, because they have a passion to learn more about the world.

Not only that, but you learn a lot about yourself and about life, you learn what sort of things really make you happy and to grasp every moment and hold it tightly. The time on Erasmus is limited so you really appreciate every moment. You really get the sense that life is short and we only have one shot at it so we’ve really got to do everything we want. It’s unreal how much Erasmus has benefitted me, I don’t think I can possibly describe it in words: it’s just something everyone should experience!

You will never regret going on Erasmus! No matter what, if you’re scared you’ll miss your family, boyfriend/girlfriend, whatever it is that is possibly holding you back just ignore it and go… there’s nothing better!”

If you’re inspired by Amelias’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!