After completing high school in a Maharashtra village (Atigre), I went on to get a Bachelor in Business Administration degree from FLAME University, Pune, where I majored in finance and minored in economics. With a passion for accounting, I chose to study MSc Accounting, Governance & Financial Management at Sheffield University Management School.

The admission process at the University of Sheffield was quite straightforward. I did get in touch with a counselor for help with the procedure. The main documents for the master’s application were degree and academic transcripts of the undergraduate course, a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation and an English language test (I gave the IELTS score as part of my application). Most universities have a direct portal application for postgraduate courses, so you just need to follow the instructions to apply.

I chose Sheffield University because of the relevant industry-focused curriculum that includes real-world case studies and hands-on projects that could help link theory and practice. Sheffield is close to vital financial hubs like London, opening several potential opportunities for graduates.

I like the amalgamation of Sheffield’s many green spaces and architecture, both old and new. The city exhibits both local and international culture and is friendly. With comparatively affordable living costs, it is a student-friendly city. My decision to study in Sheffield was partly down to the course at the renowned University of Sheffield and partly the exposure—the exposure I get here is immeasurable.

Festive offer

The joy of first day

My first day was very overwhelming. I was moving in by myself and was super-nervous about how I would adapt to university life here in the UK. The university arranged the orientation week, which is where I met with other people and started making friends. I made sure I attended sports or society fairs and social events like the International Students’ Meets and attended several taster sessions from various societies. I made friends with similar interests. While it was not very difficult, it did get overwhelming, but everybody was very nice.

It was tedious to decide on the many accommodation options. I decided to directly reach out to the accommodation provider, and after doing virtual tours, decided on my choice taking into account my budget and distance from the class.

As for part-time jobs, I have two, both at the Management School where I study—they were advertised to us through the university’s careers page.

Sheffield as a city feels like home to me. My favorite thing about it is how green and welcoming it is. The city is historically and culturally rich, and the locals are more than happy to talk to you about it. I have come across so many warm and kind people. I feel more at home every day.

India vs UK

In the UK, research skills, critical thinking, and independent learning are given greater prominence in the classroom. Students are urged to engage in conversations, pose questions, and form their opinions at the University of Sheffield. This varsity uses a variety of educational methods, including tutorials, seminars, and practical projects, to create a more participatory and interesting learning environment. I believe this methodology facilitates the growth of reasoning, problem-solving, and effective communication abilities.

Sheffield has cutting-edge labs, libraries, and technological resources to help students with their research and learning. These facilities give students access to state-of-the-art tools and a multitude of information, allowing them to fully investigate the topics they are studying.

In order to help students with their academic and personal growth, the University of Sheffield also provides a range of support services, including academic advisers and counselling. I had the chance to engage with people from various cultural backgrounds at the university, which helped me extend my ideas and improve my cross-cultural communication abilities. This exposure to diverse cultures and ways of thinking has the potential to be a life-changing event that promotes curiosity, personal development, and a greater understanding of world issues. Although the Indian educational system provided me with a solid basis, studying at the University of Sheffield has elevated learning to a new trajectory.

How studying abroad changed my outlook

Studying abroad has significantly changed my outlook on life and influenced my behavior. I decided to take on some voluntary roles to engage in the local community in Sheffield. I am a volunteer representative at the Students’ Union’s Raising & Giving, where we raise money for several charities and I also volunteer at Sheffield Museums, which has given me a chance to tour the city’s museums, meet enthusiasts always eager to talk to you about their interests and gave me a chance to know about the history of Sheffield, and lastly, as a sales representative at Oxfam. These roles have greatly enhanced my communication skills and kept me actively involved with both the local community in Sheffield and students from around the world. At Oxfam, being surrounded by books and engaging with customers about their favorite reads has been particularly enriching, and working at the till has improved my money-handling skills.

I am also a member of the Indian Society, where we come together to celebrate festivities and socialize during various events. Additionally, I enjoy participating in sessions held by the Ceilidh and Zumba societies, which provide fun and interactive ways to stay active and meet new people.

Exposure to diverse cultures and perspectives has taught me to foster a deeper understanding and view things from a broader perspective. I feel more independent, very responsible for the choices I make and more importantly open-minded to gain as much experience and knowledge that comes my way. This journey has not only broadened my horizons but also made me more adaptable and appreciative of different cultures and viewpoints.

(This letter is part of a series by The Indian Express where we bring to you the experiences of students at different foreign universities. From scholarships and loans to food and cultural experiences — students tell us how life is different in those countries and things they are learning other than academics)