Jara from Spain

Name: Jara Ballestin

Course: MBiolSci Molecular Biology

Hey! My name is Jara and I am a third year Molecular Biology student in the department of MBB. I am Spanish and can also speak English and German.

I am an active person and have many other hobbies outside of University. I am Residence Life ambassador and carry out several sport activities such as leading walks in the Peak District. I’m also part of the stunt cheerleading club, where I’ve made really good friends who I now consider a big familyJ. As well as these, I enjoy scuba diving, dancing and, above all, I love traveling!

Jara Ballestin.jpg

Why did you choose to study your course?

The reason why I started a degree in Molecular Biology was because I found it a thrilling opportunity to explore the microscopic world and discover cell structures and functions, as a way of unravelling the complex relations and interactions between biological molecules. By studying the several interconnections between molecules, it is possible to infer what makes life possible. I want to become a molecular biologist in order to develop research projects not just to continue learning about how cells work, but also to manipulate them and harness their potential to create something that will be useful to human lives.

Why did you choose the University of Sheffield?
Before coming to University, I knew I wanted to improve my English and leave my home city to become more independent. I thought: ‘What can be a better way to improve my English than studying in England?’, so I held on to this idea and started searching for Biology-related degrees in Universities in the UK. I fell in love with the University of Sheffield and the variety of both academic and extracurricular opportunities available, and the Students’ Union. It is one of the best universities in the UK for student experience, and I believe this is just as important as studying a degree. For all these reasons, I finally decided to choose the University of Sheffield instead of all the others.

What is your favourite thing about being at the University of Sheffield?

It is hard to choose just one thing, as there are so many that I like. I would say my favourite thing is the internationality, it is amazing how many different nationalities you can find around the University, and I really enjoy making friends from so many different countries. Another of my favourite things is the wide range of extracurricular activities: societies, sports clubs, Give it a Go, Residence Life, and so much more -there’s always something for everyone. Lastly, within my course the laboratory practicals are definitely my favourite part.

Do you like living in Sheffield?

Sheffield is a great city to live in while being a student. Firstly, the cost of living is very cheap compared to other cities in the UK (such as accommodation costs, for instance). One of the reasons why I like Sheffield is that I love nature: in Sheffield there are lots of parks to go to as well as my favourite place to spend the day: the Peak District. It is also a great city if you are interested in culture: there are very good theatres and art galleries. Besides, there are lots of activities available, such as bowling, cinema, ice skating…


What do you hope to do in the future?

I am quite convinced that I want to work in a research lab, partly because of how much I enjoy the practical modules. Lately I have been quite interested in Synthetic Biology and I attended the Synthetic and Systems Biology Summer School in Italy this summer, where I learnt more about this topic.I do not have any degree-related work experience, so I wish to do an internship next summer. I want to develop my skills and knowledge to be able to make an impact in human lives, by applying the information obtained from biological molecules in other science fields and in real life, such as medicine, food industry or pharmacology.

Xin from China


Name:  Xin Wen                    

Course:  BSc Psychology

About me:

Hi! My name is Xin, and I am a second year BSc Psychology student. I am from Chengdu, the city of gastronomy and pandas. I can speak Mandarin and English, but I am also learning Japanese.

I like cats, alpacas, burgers from The Harley and bubble milk tea without the bubbles! In my spare time, I enjoy cooking (mostly weird experiments), going to gigs, travelling and zoning out.

Why did you choose to study your course?

When I came across the science of ‘happiness’, I was amazed by the studies into synthetic happiness which happens when people don’t get what they want. Psychology is full of counter-intuitive facts backed by controlled scientific experiments. The process of debating with received folk wisdom intrigued my passion for Psychology, my desire to understand myself and people around me. I believe it can help me to be happy and to achieve the qualities that I lack, such as self-assertiveness and self-compassion.

Why did you choose the University of Sheffield?
The University of Sheffield has the best Students’ Union in the UK and is dedicated to providing a great student experience, which I think is the most important thing at the undergraduate level. The Psychology department at the University of Sheffield carries out world-leading research with novel methodologies, such as virtual reality and computer programmes. It is one of the few Psychology departments in the UK that studies synthetic psychology – simulating human or animal behaviours using robots.

What is your favourite thing about being at the University of Sheffield?

The Students’ Union is a very efficient, helpful and liberal place to deal with my enquiries, to look for support and to just hang out with friends. There is always something going on at the University of Sheffield. The Give it A Go events provide students with a little taster for learning new things and innovative society activities, such as language classes and fencing. There are so many fun charity events to raise money for good causes: Spider Walk, Sleep Out in Solidarity, Bummit (charity hitch-hike), etc.

Do you like living in Sheffield?

Sheffield is a great city to live in. The cost of living is student-friendly and being next to Peak District, it is the greenest city in Europe including many plants that I’ve never seen in my home country. Sheffield is also a safe city, with the second lowest crime rate and a safe taxi scheme for students having a night out.

I enjoy going to the Alpaca Farm to feed those adorable farm animals, and it has become a must-go place whenever my friends visit me.

What do you hope to do in the future?

There are so many things I hope to do after university. I hope to do further study in cross-subject research. At the University of Sheffield, I have been able to hear many inspiring talks and science debates delivered by guest professors from other universities. The subjects include psychology of money, intoxicants & law. I found these topics fascinating and hope to study them in more detail.  Most importantly, I would like to apply positive psychological theories to my daily life to organise my work and emotions.

Melody from Hong Kong


Name: Man Yee (Melody) Chu

Course: Chemistry

Hello! I am Melody from Hong Kong. I am a third year BSc Chemistry student. I can speak English, Cantonese and Mandarin.  I like learning new interests during my free time. I love ballet the most. I go to ballet classes every week when I am in Sheffield. Also I have had a fun time in the Nail Art society when I was in 1st year. Then I became a committee member in Nail Art society in 2nd year which gave me lots of experience I haven’t had before such as holding tutorials and promoting the society to others.

Why did you choose to study your course?

I’ve been interested in chemistry ever since I started learning it at 15 years old. I was lucky to have a good chemistry teacher in high school. She helped me a lot and taught me in an interesting way which made me have more and more passion on this subject. My early experiences made me want to become a forensic chemist so I chose to do a chemistry degree course in university.

Why did you choose the University of Sheffield?

I decided to study in University of Sheffield since the ranking in the chemistry course in 2012 was 10th. I felt I would have a great learning experience in the University of Sheffield. I had a look at the chemistry department website where there is lots of details about the course and I found out that I would have a small tutorial and would meet a personal tutor regularly. I also had the choice to apply to have a mentor in my first year, which would make me feel less worried when I have any questions to ask. The University of Sheffield also has a very good research ranking and was recommended by my tutor.

What is your favourite thing about being at the University of Sheffield?

My favourite thing is that there are a lot of societies at the University of Sheffield. Sometimes I will join the ‘Give It A Go’ events which are offered by societies. Give It A Go allows you try the classes or activities held by a society first before to help you decide whether you want to join it. Taking part in societies lets me have more fun in university apart from studying and I can meet more new friends who have same interests as I do.

Do you like living in Sheffield?

I lived in the university accommodation (Ranmoor) in my first two years and I liked it a lot. The environment around Ranmoor is nice and quiet. It is convenient to be able to go to supermarkets by 15 min walk. Also I can go jogging in the Endcliffe Park which is near to Ranmoor.I also like the city centre in Sheffield as there are many events taking place all the time such as food markets, performances and games. There are different kind of shops in the city centre which I can walk around during the weekend.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I hope to be a forensic chemist after university. I had a summer job 2 years ago where I was working in an X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy Room and performed Nickel tests on products for 3 months.  I am glad that I can have work experience which relates to Chemistry.The university has helped me to prepare for my career by organising a careers talk every year. I learnt new skills about writing my CV and know more about the different kinds of job I can do after I graduate. Also I receive emails about available jobs every week from the Careers Service.

Rinu from India


Name: Rinu Melroy

Course: BSc Genetics

Hello there!! My name is Rinu Melroy and I am a third year BSc Genetics student. I am originally from Kerala which lies in the southern part of India but I have lived my childhood in many North Indian states. I can speak English, Hindi and Malayalam (mother tongue).

I am a person who loves to travel and explore new things. I try to make small trips around my city which also allows me to try out different local cuisines and who does not love food, right?

Why did you choose to study your course?

We live in a world where we open newspapers only to read about growing rate of diseases, especially cancer. There is more content on what’s causing the disease and not so much on how all of the research being carried out to cure them. While doing my A-levels, I got introduced to the concept of genetics and since then there is no turning back.  My curiosity lead me to take it up as my degree and to bring a change.
Why did you choose the University of Sheffield?

Being brought up in India, a lot of the population are unaware of the field of molecular biology. There are only few organizations which recognizes the wide possibility of solutions to such deadly diseases. Upon research, I found out that University of Sheffield provides a specific course for genetics which is where my passion lies and believe I can contribute my maximum to the course. I want to open oncology clinics and biotechnology labs to give people more opportunities and broaden their understanding for this field. The specificity of degree and availability of such advanced services provided by the University of Sheffield, convinced me to pursue my dreams and vision over here.

What is your favourite thing about being at the University of Sheffield?

The University’s Student’s union has been voted as one of the best in UK and with no doubt I completely agree with that. The Students’ Union provides a large range of activities and societies. Programmes such as ‘Give it a go’ allowed me to try out different events. I was elected as the secretary of International Student’s committee which gave me a huge exposure to various cultures and to make many friends from different parts of world which has helped me grow into a better human being.

Do you like living in Sheffield?

With such an intensive course the city has helped me to relax. It is a student friendly town which makes it so much easier when you are an international student. There is always somebody to help you and in just few days you feel as if it’s home away from home. There are plenty of café’s and food joints around university which will keep your stomach happy.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I was given an opportunity to work with GE healthcare in India and I am hoping to spend some time with them after finishing my undergraduate degree. After which I would like to pursue a Masters and become involved in more research.

Suha from Malaysia


Name: Suhashini Sivananthan

Course: MBiolSci Plant Science

Hello! My name is Suhashini and I am a second year Plant Science student. I am from Malaysia, a country that I often refer to as ‘Food Paradise!’

I am someone who is interested in a wide range of extra-curricular activities. After a tough first year, I am aware that I can’t pursue every single one of my interests at the same time, especially alongside my degree. Therefore, for the year ahead I have decided to dedicate my free time to volunteering with the International Student Committee, playing badminton and improving my cooking skills.

Why did you choose to study your course?

I chose plant science because I enjoy the study of plants and I see the potential plants have in various industries. Science itself also allows me to be curious, to question my observations and to chase down the answers. The opportunity to make discoveries, big or small, intrigued me.

Deciding on my degree was difficult because I felt that choosing one area of study meant giving up on other areas I found interest in. I realised later that a science degree actually gives me the analytical and creative skills that are valuable for many potential careers. I also saw that plants have applications in many different areas, therefore I did not feel like my options were limited.
Why did you choose the University of Sheffield?

I chose this university because it met my priorities.

It has a plant science course that is research based from Year 1. I liked the modules that were available to me and I was interested in the ongoing research in my faculty.

The university also has an outstanding Students’ Union with a range of active societies that immediately caught my interest. I could see myself pursuing these interests and getting the support I needed to improve and grow.

Sheffield itself is a green city, surrounded by the Peak District which was a huge bonus.  An outdoor activity in a pleasing environment is not to be underestimated when one needs a break from books.

The fact that this university also offers scholarships to international students reassured me that as an international student, I will be supported here.

What is your favourite thing about being at the University of Sheffield?

My favourite thing about this university is definitely the range of opportunities that are available. Any interests I have; any projects I want to get involved in; any ideas I want to make happen; I know I can find the support I need. The university has always been so willing to answer my questions and give me helpful advice. The opportunities and guidance at this university are amazing!

Do you like living in Sheffield?

 Indeed, I do!

I like how there is always something going on, whether at the university or around the city. There is also constant opportunity for escapes into nature with the Peak District so close to us. To me this city is the best of both worlds!

I am also grateful that there are so many shops near the university and student accommodation. It is easy to get groceries, go to cafe or to just have a day out shopping. I love a good bargain and the many shops give me the opportunity to hunt down the best deals.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I am interested in conducting research in the future. For now, my research goals only include my ambitions in completing a Masters and PhD. I hope to carry out good research than can be used to bring benefits and even be further explored.

I also have a love for writing and passing on knowledge. Hence the idea of communicating science is also a field I would like to look into during my time at university. In my second year, I have planned to improve my writing by getting more feedback from my department’s writing advisory and to also look for writing opportunities at the Students’ Union.

Schenelle from Dubai (originally from India)


Name: Schenelle Dlima

Course: Biomedical Science

Hi, my name is Schenelle and I am a third year Bsc Biomedical Science student. I live in Dubai, home of the tallest building and largest mall in the world, but I am from Mumbai, India. I can speak English and Hindi, and I am also currently improving my French.

I am an avid reader, movie buff and TV show fanatic. I love to explore new cities and try different cuisines. In my spare time, I like to volunteer through the opportunities provided by ‘Sheffield Volunteering’ at the Students’ Union. This involves visiting animal shelters, children hospitals, conversing with refugees etc.

Why did you choose to study your course?

During my final year in school, I discovered a newfound interest in scientific research after I realized the profound impact it has on people’s lives. So I decided to pursue a degree which would enable me to streamline into research later and at the same time keep my options open. Biomedical Science seemed like the perfect choice for this. The degree would help me gain vital laboratory experience and also hone other skills such as presentation skills, writing skills etc. This would enable me to pursue careers from forensic science to scientific journalism.
Why did you choose the University of Sheffield?

The University of Sheffield is always at the forefront when it comes to scientific research and the prospect of being taught by some of the world’s leading researchers was exciting. There are also great module choices offered, from Bioinformatics to Stem cell research. It is one of the only universities in the UK that offers hands-on human dissection even for undergraduate students. The university has so much to offer, from its wonderful cultural diversity to great student support such as the Careers Service and also provided financial aid to international students in the form of scholarships.  All these factors helped me cement my decision to pursue my degree at this university.

What is your favourite thing about being at the University of Sheffield?

My favourite thing about the university is Sheffield Volunteering. Having no prior work experience, Sheffield Volunteering provided me a great platform to put myself out there, gain new skills and experiences and be part of an organization that positively contributes to the Sheffield community. The opportunities provided by Sheffield Volunteering cater to everyone’s interests and time constraints. I can experience so much, from cleaning the banks of a river to conversing with refugees. Getting involved with volunteering has been enriching and has definitely made my last two years in university more worthwhile.

Do you like living in Sheffield?

Coming from a bustling city like Dubai, living in a very laidback and green city such as Sheffield is really refreshing. Sheffield is an amazing place for students given its low cost of living and affordable accommodation. One of the best aspects of the city is its proximity to the Peak District National Park, a great place to enjoy a trek and soak in the beautiful surroundings. There is always something to do in the city, from shopping at the mall, which is called Meadowhall, to trying out different cuisines on London road. So whether you are a shopaholic, a nature-lover or a food fanatic, Sheffield is a city that caters to everyone’s interests.

What do you hope to do in the future?

After my final year, I wish to attain a place in a graduate scheme programme which is run by several pharmaceutical companies. I hope to work in a pharmaceutical company, but in a non-laboratory-based environment. Even though I intended to pursue a career in research before my first year, I realized that working in a laboratory was not my forte, and I was better in other aspects of the course, like writing essays and lab reports. My varied experiences during my course and my involvement in extra-curricular activities such as volunteering also helped me to realise this. The university has helped me to realise that the opportunities for a Sheffield graduate are endless and not just restricted to research. The Careers Service has helped me to gain valuable experiences improve my skills, from participating in the ‘Taste of Work’ and ‘Skills for work’ programmes and also guiding me in writing my CV. My experiences at the university have really influenced my career decisions.

Mengyuan from China


Name: Mengyuan Qian

Course: Chemistry

I am Mengyuan Qian, a second year student from MChem Chemistry degree. I am from Hebei, China. I went to school in Singapore for 4 years and then after completing A levels I came to Sheffield. So Singapore is my second hometown in a sense. I can speak Mandarin Chinese and English, and I am a beginner of French.

I enjoy hanging out with friends during weekends especially after exams. I enjoy helping others, I was a volunteer at Oxfam bookshop for 3 months where I learned many new skills and I have been teaching maths to secondary school student before their exams. I also enjoy playing sports with my friends.

Why did you choose to study your course?
Since a young age I have seen adults doing many types of experiments like breeding mushrooms in the laboratory, which created a deep curiosity and interest in me. Later in junior high school, I realized that chemistry could be found in many areas in our daily life and such scientific knowledge could explain many life phenomena. Intrigued by the wonders of chemistry, I became more interested in this amazing subject. In addition, my father’s work is closely related to chemistry, and I look up to him because what he did was truly impressive to me.

What is your favourite thing about being at the University of Sheffield?

I choose the University of Sheffield because it is really a nice place to live and to study. First of all, the Chemistry course in Sheffield is one of the best schools who provide the opportunity to have a year-long placement during the undergraduate course. It has cultivated 6 Nobel Prize winners since the establishment of the school in 1828. And it is ranked 80 in the world. Secondly, Sheffield is the 4th biggest city in England, it has convenient transportation, we can walk to almost all destination for shopping and relaxing, buses and trams are everywhere. The natural environment is very well protected and developed. Lastly, the average cost of living in Sheffield is affordable for an international student like me to live here.
I really appreciate the student services at the University of Sheffield. I had already heard about the student union being the No.1 student union in UK before I arrived. During the Orientation Week, the abundant activities provided by the union introduced almost everything a fresher needs to know. They also host lectures especially for international students about life overseas. Moreover, our school not only provides help with studies by offering free English courses and math consultation, but it also provides a platform for us to find job, edit cv and cover letter.

Do you like living in Sheffield?

I do enjoy living in Sheffield, I spent the my first year living with my new friends in the “Sheffield 2” accommodation, the price is a little bit high for me but the living environment is good. The city centre is nearby and there are cinemas as well as a shopping mall. If all students can cook for themselves, the cost of living is not expensive. During leisure time, students can visit the city centre where lots of activities are always taking place. The Peak District is also a good place to enjoy your weekends. Sheffield is a quiet and peaceful place for students.

What do you hope to do in the future?

I would like to become a chemist working in laboratory environment for a company involved in medicine, oil, food or cosmetics. In these companies, I would like a research and development job for new products and to also work as an examiner to test the quality of the products. I worked as a junior assistant in the institution of Genetics& Physiology, Hebei, China and I was responsible for the process of pesticides sample testing as a daily routine. I have regular laboratory session as part of our university curriculum during my first university year which helped a lot to improve my practical skills.