Focus on Romanian students
The Department of Computer Science at the University of Sheffield has a significant number of students from Romania, and we are delighted that they perform so well. Romanian schools provide a strong foundation in mathematics, so we find that Romanian students typically come to Sheffield well-prepared for studying the discipline of computer science. Indeed, some of our best-performing students in recent years have been from Romania.
As a Romanian student at The University of Sheffield you will be part of a large, friendly community of Romanian students. The Union of Students has a Romanian Student Society, which is very active in organising social events and has a thriving facebook group.
Here we present profiles of some of our Romanian students, and find out what they think about studying computer science at the University of Sheffield.
- Antonia Horincar (first year BSc Computer Science)
- Tudor Daniel Sirbu (first year BEng Software Engineering)
- Popa-Matei Mihai Alexandru (second year MComp Computer Science)
- Raluca Lehadus (second year MEng Software Engineering)
- Radu Popescu (third year MComp Computer Science)
Antonia grew up in Satu Mare and did her high school years at the "Mihai Eminescu" National College. She studied languages during her first year in high school, and then transferred to a mathematics/informatics department of the same school in order to prepare for her undergraduate studies in computer science.
Are you enjoying the first semester? Is it what you expected? Actually, it is more than I expected. The University is very well organised, most of my classes are interactive, and students have many facilities, such as free Internet in all University buildings or discounts to various pubs, shops and outlets. I can say that my timetable is not very crowded, I’ve got plenty of time for personal activities. Actually, I didn’t expect to have so much spare time, since in my country University classes can last up to 8 hours a day.
What kind of accommodation are you staying in? Do you like it? I live in a catered student hall and I don’t regret taking this decision. Why? Because I cannot find anything wrong with it. It’s relatively close to the University buildings (It takes me about 20 minutes to get to the Uni), my room is really big (unlike many rooms in other types of accommodation) and I never have to cook since I have an eatWithUs card that I can use in various places on campus.
Why did you choose your particular course? I’ve always been intrigued by the many abilities of a computer and I wanted to learn how to use a machine in such a way that it would create something that serves a purpose to this world, even if it is a small one. I believe that today’s society depends more and more on technology and my goal is to contribute at its development. I very much appreciate innovation and that is why I am thrilled by the people that succeed in bringing something new in a world where is more and more difficult to be original.
What do you do in your spare time? I always try to diversify my spare time activities, this is why I joined some of the University’s societies, like UNICEF On Campus, the Salsa Society, the Romanian Society. I usually try to spend my free time in a useful way like learning to use some of the Adobe products. Of course, there are times when I’m really lazy or tired and I just want to sit in my bed and read books or watch TV Shows. I also enjoy spending time with my friends and sometimes there’s nothing better than a good laugh with them.
Do you have any advice for Romanian students who might be considering study in the UK? I would suggest them to use different student forums, because they can be quite useful (I personally recommend www.thestudentroom.co.uk). Also, it might be good for them to meet some of their future colleagues, it makes it easier to settle in when they first arrive at the University (Facebook is great for this particular aspect). There’s one important factor that prospective students need to take into account: money. Sometimes, the Internet is not very accurate regarding information about living expenses and students might set up an unrealistic monthly budget. This is one of the reasons why students who want to study at a foreign University should get in touch - before their freshman year starts - with some of the current students at that particular University.
Tudor Daniel Sirbu
Tudor was born in Targu Ocna, Bacau County, and studied at high school in Onesti. Prior to coming to Sheffield, he studied at the "Dimitrie Cantemir" National College where he completed a Baccalaureate in Mathematics with Computer Science. He also completed the course IT Essentials: PC Hardware and Software and the Certificate in Advanced English from Cambridge ESOL.
Are you enjoying the first semester? Is it what you expected? Up until now everything has been wonderful. Before leaving home I expected to get home-sick in the first few weeks but that did not happen - probably because I am always doing something, and the fact that there are so many Romanians I got accustomed to the UK and the university life faster. Also, the British culture is not that different from the Romanian one. The only thing that I found hard to get used to is the driving on the left side. I still feel weird when I see cars driving on the left side of the road.
Why did you choose to study at Sheffield? Why did you choose your particular course? From the 10th grade I have known that Sheffield is the place where I want to study, when I decided to go and do a degree abroad. Since then I have been researching about the city, the university and the department of Computer Science. The University of Sheffield has one of the best Computer Science departments in the UK and it is also ranked very well worldwide. About 95% of the students that graduate here get a job in the first few months. I believe that this is due to the modules that are up-to-date with the newest technologies as well as to Genesys. Students who decide to do their fourth year at the University of Sheffield have the opportunity to work in Genesys. This is the only company in the world which is run by students. By working for Genesys you get the experience of a real company which is invaluable to your CV.
What do you think of the Sheffield Student's Union? The University of Sheffield Students’ Union is the best in the UK. It offers a wide range of services and events specially designed for students’ needs. You can go to the union to get advice about any problems that you are facing. They even offer short-term loans in case you face financial problems and at the Job Shop you can get advice about your CV or you can consult the list of available jobs and apply. The Students’ Union is also home to some clubs, pubs, restaurants, fast-foods and shops. It is a great place to chill with your friends between lectures. Also, there is a wide variety of societies that you can join. From leisure societies (Cocktail Society), Arts, Music & Dance Societies (Salsa Society) to departmental societies (Computer Science Society) and National Societies such as the Romanian Society.
What do you do in your spare time? In my spare time I like to go out with the friends that I have made so far; most of them being Romanians. In the first few days, I was overwhelmed by the number of Romanians that study in Sheffield. Therefore, it is quite easy to get accustomed with the university life.
Another thing I like is getting involved in extracurricular activities such as the International Engineering Ambassador or the Computer Science Department Open Days. Not only do you get to know new people from all over the world but you also gain and develop skills that are important for your future career.
Moreover, the Romanian Society is periodically organizing events and socials in which I like to get involved. Currently, we are working on organizing a stall for the World Food Festival where we will present Romania’s finest dishes.
What do you think of Sheffield? Do like the city? In my opinion Sheffield is a really wonderful place to live. It is one of the greenest cities in Europe with about 200 parks, one of the safest cities in the UK and it offers a wide variety of entertainment opportunities that please even the pickiest ones. One thing I did not expect was the fact that it is very hilly. You either go up or down. But after a few weeks you get used to it. The friendliness of the locals will help you get around the city. Everyone is really happy to give directions. For example, once I wanted to go to a store in a zone of which I did not know anything about. On the way I stopped someone and asked for some directions. Not only was that person kind enough to tell me where the store was, but he told me that it was not the best choice and advised me to go somewhere else where the quality-price ratio was better. Another great thing is the weather. Personally, I was amazed by it. Before I came here I expected a gray sky, wind, and LOTS of rain. Fortunately, that is not the case. It hardly rains at all, usually there are short showers, the temperature is higher than in Romania during Autumn and you even get to see the sun from time to time.
Popa-Matei Mihai Alexandru
Before coming to Sheffield, Mihai lived in Bucharest where he studied at the "Tudor Vianu" National High School of Computer Science. He is currently in the second year of our MComp Computer Science programme.
Why did you decide to study at Sheffield? The reason I chose to study at Sheffield is that from all my applications I felt that the response gave by the University of Sheffield was the warmest one. This is what I was searching for; a university that would make me feel welcomed and wanted.
Why did you choose to study Computer Science? I chose to study Computer Science because I felt comfortable in both mathematics and computer science. I enjoyed both of them and I thought that this wide ranging subject could represent my future.
What do you think of Sheffield? Do like the city? I personally love the city of Sheffield. There are lots of green areas, the air is clean, the people here are friendly and helpful and the buildings in the city centre have a beautiful architecture.
Do you have any advice for Romanian students who might be considering study in the UK? In my opinion any student that wishes to come to study in the UK must be prepared to make a big step in their life and to face different challenges: either missing a loved one, making new friends, adapting to another learning system or to live on their own.
What second year topics are you finding interesting? So far in my second year I became quite interested in the aspects of Haskell (which makes me think in a new and exciting way, compared to object orientated programming), Matlab (which brings out interesting aspects of matrices and statistics) and automata.
Raluca was born in Galati, and initially studied there at the "Vasile Alecsandri" National College. Before coming to Sheffield, she studied for three years in Ploiesti at the "Mihai Viteazul" National College, where she obtained English language qualifications (Cambridge Advanced English and IELTS) and the Baccalaureat, in which she achieved a score of 9.95/10.
You're now in your second year. How does this differ from the first year? In the second year, the amount of work to be done is more than last year, more practical work, more condensed lectures, but it is not something overwhelming, although it requires a lot of individual work.
What do you do in your spare time? In my spare time I like doing activities within the Students' Union, my biggest passion being salsa. I joined a few societies from the first year, and I help them organise the activities they have in my free time.
What do you think of Sheffield? Do like the city? It is said that each person loves the first University he goes to, but hates the second one. If this saying is true, this might be a reason why I fell in love with Sheffield. If not, it means that it is indeed an awesome student city, with a great community of friendly people!
Do you have any advice for Romanian students who might be considering study in the UK? First of all, congratulations to all the people who want to study abroad, this is the best option for the young people in our country! Secondly, my advice would be for them to come with an open-mind, ready to enhance the great variety of opportunities offered to them.
What second year topics are you finding interesting? All the topics I am studying this year are very interesting and diverse. They help you develop the mind of a true computer scientist.
Radu is currently in the third year of his MComp Computer Science at Sheffield. He was born in Giurgiu, but for most of his life he has lived and studied in Bucharest.
Can you tell us a little about your life before you came to Sheffield? I was born in 1990 in Giurgiu, but at the age of one I moved with my parents to Bucharest. For my first 4 years of school, I went to School 197 in the "Drumul Taberei" neighborhood and since the 5th grade I have been a student at "Spiru Haret" National College, one of the best colleges in Bucharest. During school I won many awards in competitions and school olympics (especially in mathematics and computer science) but also piano competitions, as I have studied piano since I was 5. In 2009 I graduated from High School and got an average of 9.4 in the Baccalaureat.
Why did you choose to study at Sheffield? Me and some of my friends decided to go to a UK University and first I had to choose 5 possible universities. My baccalaureate final grade allowed me to choose from any of them, but I decided on Sheffield because it had the highest admission conditions and also the Computer Science department had very good references.
What do you do in your spare time? In my spare time I like going outside hiking or just for a walk. I also like going to the gym, swimming pool and sauna. I still play the piano, I even bought myself an electric piano. On Sundays I go to the Romanian Orthodox Church in Leeds for the Liturgy.
Do you have any advice for Romanian students who might be considering study in the UK? First of all, when studying in the UK, you can see the real applications of everything you do. The learning is based heavily on projects and teamwork with less theoretical elements than in Romania. On the other hand, student life is full of activities in many areas (volunteering, trips, parties) and also it's not very hard to find a part time job that can help you with the expenses. All this considered, I would strongly advise them to come and study in the UK.
You´re currently working on your third year project. Can you tell me about this? There was a long list of projects to choose from and I chosen to do Synthetic Pinscreen Animation using the Kinect Sensor. In the first stages of the project I have to write some documentation about the requirements of the project and what literature I read so far. Next step will be implementing the software which I'm sure I'll enjoy very much.
You´re now in your third year. How does this differ from previous years? This year we have fewer lectures compared to previous years, as we have to allocate more time for the third year project which is half of this year's credits.
What do you think of Sheffield? Do like the city? I love Sheffield. It is a green city with many parks and places where you can spend time and the atmosphere is very cheerful and youthful. I also like the architecture and historical places, but the beautiful Peak District National Park is the place that impressed me the most.
What are your future plans? I'm doing a four year course (including one year of masters) so I still have another year to thing about it, but probably I will find a graduate job as a programmer.