Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Olamide shines bright like - The Diamond!

Hey guys,

It's Olamide here! International Office Ambassador for Nigeria.

Welcome back to continuing students and a BIG HELLO to the new students, I hope Sheffield is slowly becoming home!!

As I have recently completed my postgraduate course, my time as a student here in Sheffield is slowly coming to an end, so I decided to vlog the last few months and take you guys along with me. My Ucard expired on the 28th of September, which happened to be the day The Diamond opened to its first students and staff members. What better place to start the end of my journey as a student, so I decided to take my very first and last tour of the building. Oh! By the way I vlogged it as well (the video is included at the end of the blog)

It was an emotional day for me, as I thought to myself that I could never  gain from the incredible student discounts in my favorite stores (LOL), access the IC or The Diamond(university libraries that required a Ucard) or even identify as a student ever again ... actually I am still technically student till my graduation date. Right? ...

                                                                                        Photo Credit: www.victoriabarker.london

I titled this blog Shine bright like a Diamond, not only in reference to the NEW building name but more specifically for those beginning this new term/session/year as students. Just like when the building was first designed or even just an idea in the minds of its architects, starting out a new session or trying something new for the first time may not be so easy and that's not a bad thing. After all, nothing good in life ever comes easy.

N.B: Diamonds are formed at very high temperatures , pressures and exist only at extreme depths. It takes a lot of years for the process to occur, some geologists and evolutionists even suggest over 1 billion to 3 billion years. For something so precious and sparkly, it sure does take a lot of work to get to that stage.

I believe trials and challenges are there to shape us into better individuals at the end of the day. As long as you come out on top, shining in whatever you do. Whether it's while learning a new language,  retaking a module you failed, taking extra classes, answering questions in lectures or seminars for the first time, working on a project, making new friends or building a relationship, there will be challenges. My advice is to  "PUT IN YOUR BEST EVEN IN YOUR STRUGGLE". You'll be better for it.

If you want to shine as bright as a diamond, you have to get through high temperatures, pressures and depths. In other words, you need to overcome and push through the obstacles, challenges and struggles to be able to shine bright at the end.

                                                   Go on... Shine Bright like a Diamond!
Alright enough of the deep talk from me for now. I have included a link to my vlog on my Youtube channel below, if you are new to Sheffield stop by The Diamond and check it out also feel free to record your thoughts about the building in the Diamond Diary room. Please feel free to subscribe to my channel, like and share the video. Enjoy!!

P.S: This is my first time vlogging so I do apologise for the shaky video, the subsequent videos will be of much better quality. Also leave a comment on what you think about the building.

Olamide tells us how to Structure and Finish your Dissertation - Part 2

Hello Everyone!

It's Lamide here again, International Office Ambassador for Nigeria.

This is part 2 of the dissertation series. I am nearly done writing my paper and I thought I'd tell you guys how it is going. First of all, lets do a really quick recap of part 1:
  • Read - Narrow down-Choose a Topic
  • Plan
  • Read - Prepare- Write
If you noticed the first and third bullet points have "read" written before for a reason. Your dissertation is your own personal research, so there is no surprise that you will have to do a lot of reading. After all no one else will do that for you.

Once you have mastered these first few steps writing is just this beginning. I notice that a lot of people struggle with the structure of an academic paper, so I thought why not help out, after all that why we are here. This structure is based on quantitative research.


Abstract: most academic papers start with an abstract, which is simply a short paragraph that summarizing the paper. Ideally, this should be written last. This should give an explanation of basis of your paper, the aims and main achievements. The reader should have an idea of what the paper entails. Word limit: 150-200 words

Introduction : the introduction should give the reader a more detailed background on your topic, the importance of your topic and the basic outline of what to expect from reading your research paper. Your hypothesis should also be stated in this section.
Word limit: depending on the amount of  words/pages specified, e.g. an introduction for a  15-20 pages essay would be about 700-800 words.

Literature Review: this section typically comes right after the introduction. It gives the reader an idea of the existing works in your area of research. Your work here is mainly outlining  these papers critically analyzing as well as summarizing them. As your reader may not be so skilled in the area of study you have chosen, this section should give them a clear understanding of what has been done (by previous researchers), what is yet to be done and what you are going to do. N.B: these works should be academic peer-reviewed journals.     Word limit: depending on the amount of  words/pages specified, e.g. a literature review for a  15-20 pages essay would be about 2000-2500.

Data and Methodology:  for a quantitative research paper, you will usually be required to collect data, this may be primary or secondary data. This section explain how data was collected (data collection procedures), the population and sample size, any limited/ restrictions in the process. This is an important section of the paper (as well as all the other sections) so should be written carefully and clearly. The methodology seals this section together. this basically states your method of estimation for models specified. Word limit: depending on the amount of  words/pages specified, e.g. the data and methodology section for a  15-20 pages essay would be about 1000-1500 words.

 Apart from the data and methodology section, the results section is equally important. make sure you explain your main findings, even if they are not what expected. This is also very important for understanding. Include diagram, tables and graphs where necessary to further elucidate your work. Word limit: depending on the amount of  words/pages specified, e.g. the result section for a  15-20 pages essay would be about 1500-2000 words.

Summary: In the conclusion, do not make mistake of bringing in new ideas. Summaries all you findings for your paper, but do not simply restate everything. Make the reader know if there is still need for improvement and  if further research is to be done. Also  give some implications of your findings and possibly recommendations if necessary. Word limit: depending on the amount of  words/pages specified, e.g. the summary section for a  15-20 pages essay would be about 500-800 words.

References/ Bibliography:
This section comes at the very end. It basically acknowledges all the sources, academic journals and articles you have used in your paper. The most used format is the Harvard referencing.

Happy Writing!!!! :)

By Olamide Akindele
Email: nigeria@sheffield.ac.uk
International Office Ambassador for Nigeria

Olamide tells us how to plan your dissertation - Part 1

Hello Everyone!

     Its Lamide here, International Office Ambassador for Nigeria,

its been ages since I have written a blog. Well I'm finally done with exams and I can kick back and relax for  just a little while before I begin the journey of  my 'The 10,000 word' dissertation. I haven't exactly started my paper yet but I have had my initial proposal approved and marked, so I  wanted to give a few pointers as to what to expect, what to do, what not to do , etc.
Depending on which department you're studying in, there will be different regulations and rules/ guidelines in which to follow. Before you begin your dissertation, you may usually be required to write up a proposal. As the name suggests a proposal is basically a plan or scheme on how you are going to execute your research project. In my department, there was a format to follow, in which we had to answer questions related to our chosen topic (check with your department as some departments may require actual write ups/essays).


Choosing a topic may be the most difficult part when preparing your initial proposal (it was for me, anyway). Some departments make require you to come up with a topic on your own while others give a list of topics to choose from.
We were not given a list of topics to choose from so we had to come up with a question (topic) ourselves. We had workshops prior to the hand-in of our proposal in order to help guide us into thinking of a suitable topic. Therefore choosing a topic requires a good amount of research, asking questions, meeting up with supervisors ( I'll get into more detail about this in part 2) or even carrying out experiments. Choose a topic that interests you! It could be related to topic taught during your course or maybe something entirely different, as long as it is interesting and you won't get bored so quickly. There's nothing worse than working on a topic for 3 months when you have no interest whatsoever in it.


Being real with yourself is another important factor to consider. Ask yourself some questions; can I truly carry out this work in the time given? Do I need to make some adjustments? Do I need extra help with executing my ideas? Is the data needed readily available? Do I know how to use this software? What are my aims, objectives and end goals? Is the topic specific enough? Do I need to change my topic?
All these questions require you to think and be realistic, if not you are going to waste a great deal of time doing nothing. Give yourself enough time and plan each stage, Benjamin Franklin once said that 'If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail', which is the truth. So make plans and try to stick to them!


This part of planning is unavoidable. You may not want to but you need to read! Look for books in the library, the IC or Western Bank, hey! even in the Diamond Building. There are several books you can use to help with planning your dissertation; I have gone through a few and listed them below. You can find them in the IC (literally make StarPlus your friend - The University Library catalogue):
There are several others you can find online in Waterstones and AbeBooks.

Once you have mastered these first few steps you can then move onto Part 2!

By Olamide Akindele
Email: nigeria@sheffield.ac.uk
International Office Ambassador for Nigeria

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Chineze waves a fond farewell and heads off for a brand new start

Hi guys,

It’s Chineze again; International Student Ambassador for West Africa. You can read more about me and my experiences at university here.

You know that feeling of being excited but nervous at the same time? Yeah, that’s how I’ve been feeling a lot lately. I have just recently completely my third year of a five year programme here at the university and I am currently preparing to embark on my job placement programme which I would be doing for a year. I will be working as a Mechanical Engineering intern at a refinery in a little city just by the eastern ports of the UK. As much as I am looking forward to it, I am also very scared as to what the future would hold. In a way, it very much reminds me of how I felt just before I came to university. Trying to sort out my accommodation, those never-ending worries like whether or not I would make friends, what my new life might entail and the constant general fear of the unknown. 

A friend of mine helped me move into my new house. I was really pleased with how it looked once we were done unpacking.
Last week, I went into the International Office for my final shift, and the feeling of nostalgia that hit me was new. No more call lists, campus tours, bulk e-mails and not forgetting the termly IOA socials which every ambassador secretly looked forward to. I have been an ambassador since my first year of university and it has become such a part of my life that it feels surreal to think I will not be doing it anymore. Being an international ambassador has taught me so many things which I know will stay with me for the rest of my life. 
The International office awarded me with a certificate of achievement for my work as an ambassador (see left) and I was also gifted with a lovely "University of Sheffield" hoodie (see right).
More than anything, I have learnt things like time management and organisation. There were many times I used to think that I was at a disadvantage because I felt that my course-mates without jobs were getting ahead of me and I was losing good hours which I could have spent catching up on school work.  But now I think of it; that could not have been further from the truth. The commitment of the ambassadorial job forced me to make up for those hours and push myself to accomplish more than I could ever imagine. I was able to map out my day more wisely, making a firm resolve to utilise every single second of the day. The self-discipline and ability to motivate myself to get things done I acquired in this process are definitely skills that cannot be bought. 

In addition, speaking to students on a one-to-one basis improved my social skills and inter-personal relationships immensely. I mean, it was like free practice. Putting myself forward to help others in a non-compulsory manner, coupled with the routinal nature of the job increased my awareness of the needs of others. These and many more are transferable skills which I believe have prepared me to take up my upcoming job role in the real world.

Here I am with two former West African international office ambassadors at a welcoming social for new students.
I have changed so much from the girl I was before I first came to university three years ago. One of the most important things I have learnt is to always seek out activities that contribute towards your self-improvement and development as an individual. University is a place for learning, but it is important to remember that this is not just limited to academics. In fact, that’s one of the best things about university; is the growth and independence you get. You could choose to join a society or get a job, doesn’t matter which, but what is important is that you do get involved!

So here’s my advice to you who are coming to The University of Sheffield for the first time and to me as I move off to my new city. Here’s to new experiences. New memories. Here’s to new friends. Here’s to a brand new start. New responsibilities but also more importantly, new possibilities. As we embark on our new journeys, live. Enjoy the moment. It’s all up to you to make these the best days/years of your life.

By Chineze Agbu
International Office Ambassador for Nigeria

Chineze has now finished working with the International Office, but you can still contact her colleagues on nigeria@sheffield.ac.uk with your questions.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Laila goes on a Journalism field trip!

Hello lovely reader! This Laila again! I am the international office ambassador for Ghana and I want to share my recent field trip with you!

One of the highlights for me this semester was the MA journalism studies’ field trip to London. Of all the places we were scheduled to visit, Westminster was what “kept me awake at night.”

A tour guide gives us a brief history of Westminster
For an MA International Political Communication (IPC) student like me, I appreciate the role The Palace of Westminster has played in the political culture of the UK and other countries (eg Ghana). Therefore, being able to walk through the corridors and rooms where history has been made and is still being made was surreal. Believe me, even if politics does not interest you so much (it should though; politics makes the world go round!), after a tour in Westminster, you will begin to understand what it means to be in power and to be able to make laws/decisions that directly and indirectly affect citizens.

Paul Blomfield - MP Sheffield Central

We had the opportunity of meeting the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Central, Paul Blomfield and because he had served as vice-chair on the Parliamentary Inquiry Into Immigration Detention, there were so many questions about the state and future of International students in the UK.

We also had the chance of meeting political journalists from media houses such as BBC, The Guardian and The Washington Post who had worked on key political stories that made headlines. My favourite encounter however, was the one with two former MA IPC students from the University of Sheffield. Ben Cooper works with the current prime minister, David Cameron’s campaign team whilst Briony Robinson works for an MP. They shared their experiences working in politics and how essential/influential MA International Political Communication course has been for them.

Briony Robinson and Ben Cooper - Former MA IPC students

This was a truly inspiring meeting and it has motivated me to study harder and not take anything for granted during my course. For you reading this right now, I hope you are looking forward to the University of Sheffield experience. Whatever your course may be, I'm certain you will enjoy it here!

By Laila Abubakari
International Office Ambassador for Ghana 
Email: ghana@sheffield.ac.uk

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Laila spends her Easter in Devon

Hi everyone! This is Laila, the International Office Ambassador from Ghana here, and you can find out more about me on-line.

After Christmas and New Year, I always look forward to the next longest holiday of the year; Easter. As excited as I usually am about the holiday, I never get up to much. This year, however, was different. I accepted an invitation to go down South to the Devon County to spend Easter in the countryside.

Woodbury, in East Devon was the destination and the road trip started at about 6am on Good Friday. A playlist of all genres of music ranging from rock, hip hop, soul, house and blues made a rather enjoyable 4 to 5 hour drive. Arriving in Woodbury, I immediately fell in love with the serenity of the village and even more, the house I was to stay in for the rest of the weekend. Eager to see some more of my new environment, I was offered a walk to the Budleigh Salton beach which was about 45 minutes away.

A wonderful “Fishy mushed potatoes” dinner laced with good conversation sealed my first day in Woodbury.

Day two, I ashamedly woke up quite late (I must have thought I was in my bed in Sheffield) but was on time for my short trip to Sidmouth, a beautiful town on the coast. The weather was beautiful and quite a number of people had come out to enjoy the scenery. A typical fish and chips lunch was my choice and I was assured the fish I was about to devour had been caught moments ago from the sea in view. I must say, I was nearly emotional as I stared at the delicious looking source of protein and delight on my plate. Returned home later after spending some more time watching a sailing contest.

Some friends of my host family came by that evening and after exchanging pleasantries, we got down to the business of the night; board games! We had a wide variety of games to choose from, most of which I was seeing for the first time. We had enough time for three games (one of which yours truly, won). My competitive self was so bent on winning I forgot to capture the moment. My apologies.

Day three, I woke up late again but everyone else did because we stayed up late. It was Easter Sunday and by tradition, chocolate eggs are hidden around the house to add to the fun of the holiday but I guess mine was too big to be hidden.

It was such a beautiful day and it was suggested that the best way to see other villages was by riding. Why not? I had not ridden a bike in over a decade so riding about 12 miles from Woodbury to Exmouth was no biggie. My thighs were grateful for the fact that the ride was mostly on flat ground (unlike a certain hilly Sheffield). It was one of the most enjoyable things I had done that weekend.

Monday, my last day in Woodbury, was the most beautiful of them all. The sky was clear blue freeing the beautiful sun and giving us a glimpse of summer. Spent the morning out in the garden and thinking about how I was going to tell everyone I had a good time.

By Laila Abubakari
International Office Ambassador for Ghana and West Africa

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Olamide talks Money! Money! Money!

Hi there! Welcome back! It's Olamide here, International Office Ambassador for Nigeria. Find out more about me on my web page.

Have you ever heard the phrase "more money, more problems"? Yes? Well I say no more, 'more problems'! I'm coming to you guys today with some tips for making that cash, cheddar or moolah (as some may call it) - and also keeping it! -  while you're here in Sheffield.

At the start of the month, most  people are financially happy,or would I say satisfied, and then closer to the end of the month, you often hear the anthem 'the struggle is real.' Well...  prioritised spending, saving, planning and budgeting all work hand-in-hand. If you don't learn to manage your money, then you may be singing that same anthem at the end of the month.

Ideas for making money in Sheffield

Get yourself a job
Whether it's part-time, full-time, temporary or even seasonal, get yourself a JOB! There are several ways this can be done and the University has made life easier for you to find work. You can either walk right into the Student Jobshop in the Student's Union or register with them online. This will give you access to many job opportunities for you to apply.  You can also get help and advice on how to apply for jobs from the Career Service, too, who often do events to help with writing CVs and interview skills to help you land that job!  Once you have that job and a steady source of income you can then decide to budget well.

Ebay /Amazon /Complete Entertainment Exchange)

If you have items that you don't use anymore -  clothes, TVs, iPads etc - just basically items that are still in good condition that will be of more value to someone else than you, then you can sell them and earn some money that way. It is an easy and quick way to make cash without hardly any work. A couple of days ago I decided to sell my old laptop (as it was just lying around begging to have a new owner) and I made some cool cash from the CEX store in Sheffield City Centre.

Ideas for keeping your cash!

Once you are aware of how much money you have coming in weekly, monthly or yearly, you can attempt to carry out "step 1". This is basically budgeting for your regular expenses (i.e. what you frequently spend your money on).

Once that is done, divide the list up into two categories; needs and wants. Really take some time to figure out your needs versus what you want. Obviously the first and most important category to focus on would be your needs, such as any necessary bills, grocery shopping, toiletries, textbooks etc.

While your wants, for example; a new pair of Nike trainers (even though your old ones are perfectly alright) or a holiday to Spain which in most cases are luxury items should come second or even last.  The University website has online tools to assist with your money planning  as well as such other on-line tools more generally, like an international student calculator website that also gives some advice on spending money and ways to stick to your budget.

Making the most of your money

After budgeting, your ability and discipline to save can go a long way. This requires you to prioritize your spending, (i.e. do not spend unnecessarily) transferring some of your money into a savings account with a good savings rate, use vouchers and use your student card as you'll get discounts. A particular method which helps me every time I go out, is taking only the amount of cash needed for the particular activity I was going for and then a little extra for emergency, so I wouldn't need to take my bank card out with me.  The University web site offers advice and money-saving tips.

I'm pretty sure if you follow these steps regularly, you'll be laughing straight to the bank and even when it gets closer to the end of the month, you'll be able to make the most of your time in Sheffield.

 By Olamide Akindele
International Office Ambassador for Nigeria