A home away from home in the UK

Arsheen Mir. University of Sheffield

As a child, I always enjoyed watching TV shows like ‘Mega Factories’ and ‘How It’s Made’ on National Geographic. Watching machines operate and deliver products with such precision and accuracy intrigued me. However, I never imagined that this peculiar fascination would become my future field of study and career.

I pursued my Bachelors in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in Dubai. Working hands-on, learning new things and making circuits function were my motivation to take up projects and involve myself in research work during my undergraduate course. This is when I discovered my interest in the control and industrial automation field.

Striking right balance

In my opinion, an individual can prosper in an environment which supports his or her zeal and the University of Sheffield seemed to be the ideal place to study. The university is one of the very few universities having an independent department for control engineering. The university’s state of the art facilities, eminent and knowledgeable professors, research conducted and industrial collaborations made my decision easy. I therefore decided to pursue an MSc in Advanced Control and Systems Engineering at the University of Sheffield. The course, with its modules, lab work and dissertation project strikes the right balance between theoretical and practical knowledge.

In addition to the vast array of modules ranging from foundations of control systems, signal processing and estimation to advanced industrial control, we were offered about 80 different project options to choose from. Selecting optional modules and a dissertation topic of my interest helped me further tailor the course to my liking. I will soon be working on my dissertation, which involves fault identification in metal 3D printed structures using machine learning algorithms.

In addition to academics, the University of Sheffield has given me a lot of opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities, become a member of different societies and clubs, and also take up volunteering work. The ‘Give it a Go’ programme helps you try new things and discover new opportunities without any prior background. I am currently the Academic Representative for my course and also a member of the Sunride II (Sheffield University Nova Rocket Innovation Design Engineering) avionics team. 

Learning ground

The aim of the team is to educate and prepare engineering students to successfully enter the space industry upon graduation, having acquired technical confidence and set the theoretical foundations that will differentiate them from other candidates. Sunride was the first student-led rocket team from the UK to compete in the world’s largest intercollegiate rocket engineering conference and competition, the Spaceport America Cup 2018. In fact, the team also won the James Barrowman Award for flight dynamics last year for an apogee of 10,000ft.

With its multicultural and diverse environment catering to students from over 125 countries, the University of Sheffield has helped me make friends from all over the world. Moving to a new place, all by myself, would be a daunting task if the university didn’t provide any support. The student services and support, the staff and even the people of Sheffield are very friendly and welcoming. There is incredible support for international students, from meet and greet services to pick you up from the airport and easy collection of your residence permits to wonderful social gatherings to help you make friends.

The University of Sheffield Students’ Union provides opportunities beyond imagination. In addition to the conventional departmental societies like the ACSE (Automatic Control and Systems Engineering) and cultural/ethnic societies like the Indian Society, we also have societies for things like tea and Harry Potter enthusiasts! It has been the well-deserved number one Students’ Union in the UK for the last 10 years according to a survey. To add to this, the city of Sheffield can cater to students from any part of the world. There are number of restaurants, cafes, museums, cinemas and parks close to the student accommodation. This positive environment has not only helped me enhance my skills and knowledge, but has also helped me grow as a better individual and to make new friends.

I feel extremely proud to be associated with the University of Sheffield and be able to call Sheffield my second home.

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