Author Archives: Pretty Good Tiffany

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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International students and locals blend at Sheffield cook along

Cook Along on London Road, Sheffield

Studying abroad is not all about academics and learning. In Sheffield, students get a chance to participate in a variety of events organised by the University and other independent bodies.

A cook along held on London Road recently attracted international students as well as locals to learn themed cuisine in the spirit of eating and fun.

This event was organised by Blend, a community food organisation based in Sheffield. The organiser, Chris Hanson, said: “This event aims to share the knowledge of food preparation and simple cooking that can be easily achieved at home.”

He also said that over a thousand people have attended the monthly cook along sessions which have been ongoing for the last two years.

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