Monthly Archives: August 2012

MASSOC: We’ll always be there for you

MASSOC (Malaysian and Singaporean Society of the University of Sheffield) has been around to ensure the welfare and well-being of Malaysian and Singaporean students in Sheffield.

“MASSOC’s aim is simply to make you feel comfortable through its support, resources and activities,” said Phoebe Yiin, the ex- vice president of MASSOC.

Phoebe Yiin, the ex-vice president of MASSOC.

As a Malaysian student, Phoebe understands the difficulties of Malaysian students when they come to study abroad. Thus, she committed herself to become part of MASSOC to help out new students to settle down in Sheffield.

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Teaching international students: challenging but rewarding

Teaching international students can be challenging yet rewarding, according to some Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) lecturers.

In her experience, senior lecturer Katie Oscroft finds that international students often have more cultural depth to add to the session.

“Some students may know things other don’t, and it’s a good opportunity to use the individual experiences to enrich the learning process,” said Katie, who specialises in television news.

SHU Lecturer Katie Oscroft (first from left, bottom row) with the iStudyAbroad team after a TV news bulletin production.

Principal lecturer Dr. Geff Green has taught in SHU for 14 years, and deals with many international students from different countries.

He said: “Overseas students bring a new dynamic and diversity into the classroom, and there’s always something interesting to learn from them.”

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Sheffield Jubilee Fayre: Historical Explosion at Norfolk Heritage Park


Visitors, locals and international students were treated to an explosion of history and culture at the 11th annual Sheffield Jubilee Fayre recently.

Held at the Norfolk Heritage Park, the free community event offered tons of entertainment and attractions such as the Sheffield Horticulture Show, which is a vegetable and fruit farming competition, market stalls and park rides.

However, the highlight of the Fayre was definitely the larger than life re-enactment of significant historical events.

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What’s next? Foreign students finding a job in the UK

Layla (left) and Monica are ecstatic at the opportunity to volunteer for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

With a rise in unemployment rates, it is becoming increasingly difficult for international students to find jobs in the UK.

Furthermore, new post-study work visa regulations imposed by the British Border Agency restrict students from acquiring permanent employment.

However, it is not impossible for students to get paid or unpaid work experience while studying abroad, as illustrated by a few students from China.

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Make the first move: talking to locals

Universities often struggle with the lack of integration between international students and locals. Therefore, student unions, societies and members of community play an important role to assist students in this area.

Helen Francis, the president of Sheffield Hallam Union organises many activities  with her team for international students. The activities include day trips to Manchester and Liverpool and parties such as the Welcome Party, Disney Party and Cowboy Party.

The president of Sheffield Hallam Union, Helen Francis (left) really hopes to see the improvement of integration between the international with local students.

“Most international students are enthusiastic to participate in our events, and they also bring their unique cultures to the university which makes it livelier,” said Francis.

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An international student’s guide to British accents

International students may have a deterrent when communicating with British locals due to the various accents and slang. In addition, some local dialects may be tricky to understand.

“If I don’t understand their accents, I feel nervous and embarrassed to ask them to repeat again, so I will try to end the conversation or change to other topics,” said Owen Wong, a Malaysian student studying in Sheffield, United Kingdom (UK).

In the UK alone, there are many variations of accents depending on the region.

Joan Beal, 59, a Professor of English Language in The University of Sheffield, said: “Generally, those geographically furthest from London such as Geordie (Newcastle) and accents from outside England such as broad Scottish accents may be difficult to understand.”

Professor Beal: different accents would develop because people in some places were affected by contact with other groups. (Photo credit: Joan Beal)

Learning Through Accents

For the academic side, the accents of lecturers may affect the learning process of students.

An Irish lecturer from Sheffield Hallam University (SHU), Steven McDermott, said: “I have a very strong Irish accent, but I try to speak normally and sound English when I’m teaching.”

“International students should listen attentively and carefully when talking to people who have strong accent.”

“If I don’t understand what the lecturer is talking about, I’ll guess the meaning or ask for a translation from my friends,” said Megan Xiao, a Chinese student from SHU.

Steven McDermott (left), Irish lecturer from SHU believes that accent challenge is not a problem for international students as long as they pay attention to the speaker.

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Top career tips for international students

Proper career planning can determine the future employability for students who are graduating from college or university.

Tom Jackson, Career Adviser at Sheffield Hallam University(SHU) said student need to have self assessment to identify their career vision.

Tom Jackson, Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) career advisor, shares his top tips for a career action plan.

Developing a career path requires students to understand the environment in which they live and work, articulate their personal skills and then develop a future plan that is realistic for them.

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