Zhiying Chen: New experience in Sheffield

As a foreigner, Zhiying shares her experience in Sheffield, sharing some of the mental problems caused by the cultural and language barriers and how does she solve the problems.

2 coffee cups held up

The foreign community is a part of Sheffield, including businessmen and international students, and in addition to local restaurants, there are also many foreign restaurants in Sheffield, such as Chinese and Turkish restaurants. As a foreigner, I came to Sheffield last year to start my master studies and it was my first time to live and study in a country on my own. I felt very nervous when I first arrived because of the cultural and language differences, and I was afraid that I would not be able to adapt to life here.  

I remember my first class, it felt quite stressful because the professor and my classmates spoke very fast and I often needed some time to understand their conversations. By the end of the class, I felt frustrated by the language barriers. Fortunately, my personal tutor, who is Asian, could understand my situation more and she encouraged me a lot. Also I found her suggestions really helpful. In subsequent sessions, although I still had trouble keeping up at times, I was full of energy and I took this as my challenge, and I was getting more comfortable in the classroom, everything is moving in a better direction.  

Apart from the language barriers, sometimes the cultural barriers would confuse me. I found that going to a restaurant can be different. I remember the first time I went to a restaurant, I walked straight into an empty table without waiting for the waiter, but I later learnt that many restaurants in the UK require reservations and if you walk in, you need to wait for the waiter at the door so that they will arrange a table for you. Sometimes the cultural differences will make me feel embarrassed, but it is interesting to experience the different culture.  

The experience of studying in Sheffield is very meaningful and unforgettable, not only do I acquire more professional knowledge here, but I also learn how to live better alone and how to better manage my mental state. 

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