Tuesday, 11 June 2013

I could not wait to get to Sheffield and start the study tour. Although I found Dubai interesting and was really keen to see the city I was eagerly anticipating our arrival in England. The opportunity to study in another country and fully immerse oneself in the culture is amazing. Flying into Manchester the first thing that I noticed was the abundance of greenery and even from the plane I could make out the structure of a castle which was just so exciting to see.

After the long trip it was good to know that we had reached our destination and there was a palpable sense of relief mixed with excitement amongst the students. The trip from Manchester to Sheffield provided the first glimpse of the countryside and seeing the English landscape in the height of its spring/summer glory was an amazing sight. I have had so many expectations and hopes for the trip and I think that I realised in the first few hours that the actual experience would surpass these.

Our accommodation is brilliant and all necessities were provided for (apart from a kettle and toaster which we cajoled from Susan the cleaner on the first morning).  First thing Monday morning we headed into town (after a very jet-lagged interrupted sleep) and immediately I was struck by the design of the city centre. It is an extremely walkable city and very easily accessible. The mix of old and new architecture is sympathetic to the landscape and buildings such as the town hall are breathtaking.

We met a council representative the first morning whose former role was as a tour guide for the city and we were lucky enough to be given an aerial tour from the top of one of the tallest buildings. He described the layout of the city and relayed some of Sheffield's cultural and political history. It was an invaluable introduction to the city.  The university is in close proximity to our accommodation and it was great to finally reconcile the images I had in mind with the reality of where we would be studying for two weeks. The culture of Sheffield is evident in many ways and I have enjoyed immersing myself in it so far. Sheffield is definitely a city I could see myself living in! Although I am aware that problems exist here as in any city it definitely has an interesting and diverse cultural identity!
- Gina Triolo (Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning)

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