Name: Vasiliki Kolovou
Course: Medical Genetics
Why did you choose to study your course?
When I started learning about DNA and the laws of heredity in school, I hated it. Every time the teacher taught a new topic on genetics, I groaned in my head.
“Then why did you choose to study genetics in university then??” You may ask…
What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger … After pushing myself to learn the first key concepts on heredity, I realised that genetics was much more interesting than I originally thought. Turns out genetics is such a new field compared to mathematics and similar sciences that extensive research is still being done and new discoveries are quite common. That is how I became a genetics nerd…
Until graduating high school, I had been to more than 10 public talks on genetics, had taken 5 short online courses on the principles of molecular biology, had sneaked into a conference (you can’t prove anything…), had participated in the National Biology Olympiad and started writing my own blog about the importance of genetics.
So yeah, you never know.
One day you hate a subject in school and the next it’s your newfound passion.
Why did you choose the University of Sheffield?
When I was expected to choose a University, I was very strict about where I wanted to go. Although I was living in Greece and didn’t have the chance to come for an Open day, I can remember spending many hours online doing extensive research on the Universities. Sheffield University was the best and offered a great student life for internationals too!
As I was only 17 years old when I left Greece and it was my first time abroad on my own, I needed the reassurance that I will feel welcome in the University.
Can’t say I was dissapointed!
The University is exceptional in the way it celebrates all cultures and supports international students into adjusting to the new environment.
What is your favourite thing about being at the University of Sheffield?
I love how University of Sheffield is an international university (as you can probably tell by now).
I really enjoy the events the Student’s Union organises for exploring other cultures. For example, the Food Festival which was organised by the International Students Committee was a great experience. Students from different countries cooked their own “comfort foods” and traditional dishes and it was all so delicious.
Excuse me, but I’m Greek. I value the combination of good food and good company more than anything else. While at University, there was never a moment that I felt out of touch with my Greek roots. On the contrary, the plurality of cultures around me made me realize (and appreciate) how different my culture was.
When you meet people from all over the world, I think it changes you as a person. You are not as quick to judge, you lose all your inhibitions and forget all the stereotypes.
In Sheffield, you have the opportunity to meet people from a range of backgrounds and with a diversity of interests and hobbies. That is what I love about my University.
You make friends who are like you but you also make friends who are the polar opposite of you.
Apart from great education, it offers me a plethora of opportunities to explore the whole world through the people around me.
Do you like living in Sheffield?
Sheffield is a great city because it’s very close to the Peak District but also because it’s full of parks.
Some months ago, my friends came to visit from Greece and we went for a day trip in the Peaks, just a 40-minute bus ride away from where I lived. It was the perfect break from University and studying.
The city centre is full of shops and I love going food shopping in the local street markets. It’s also super easy to find a great place to eat, from pubs to restaurants with different cuisines. Malay, Indian, Greek and Italian to name but a few cuisines that you can find in the city centre.
What do you hope to do in the future?
Although I have a plan of what I’ll do after I finish my degree , I try to focus more on what I do while I am at the University. This year I want to be involved with different projects such as the SALT project and the International campaigns!
I cannot help but get excited about the year ahead of me. There are so many different sports and societies you can try ,that it seems as though I’ll need a second bachelor’s!