Hi everyone, my name is Bryar Mohammed and I’ve been an exchange student at the University of Amsterdam since the beginning of September. To quickly sum up my experience so far in one word would have to be ‘groot’ (just showing how ‘groot’ my Dutch is as well).
Having the opportunity to study abroad really strengthens your viewpoint of how a different part of the world tackles university life. One things for sure, Dutch students really like to read.
Plus you can call yourself an international student #weareinternational. Choosing Amsterdam wasn’t difficult at all for me. Purely for being a world renowned university and ranked as number one in the country, and also being one of the friendliest cities I’ve been to with a welcoming atmosphere everywhere you literally end up. I also wanted a challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone and grow as a person, and what better way to do so by attending a highly reputable university in a different country. Also, the modules that were provided tailored my future career ambitions, which allowed me to take a greater step towards building my degree aligned to my future career.
To be honest, I missed my orientation week due to some work, which I hugely regret since I missed such a great opportunity to explore the city while the sun was still out, but making Dutch friends has been so easy that touring around the city has been ticked off my list. One of my advices for future students would be not to miss orientation week! Also make sure to check the golden portal that is also known as blackboard to check for any pre-works before the modules start.
But so far it has been nothing short of an amazing experience. My first two months have literally flown by. And I’m sure my remaining time at Amsterdam will be treasured for many years. Stayed tuned!
Hi! I’m Claire and studying International Business Management at the University of Hong Kong.
If you’re reading this you’re probably wondering what Hong Kong or the university is like, and are perhaps considering studying here yourself. Well I’ve been here for two months now and can honestly say choosing Hong Kong has afforded me a very full experience so far with lots to write about! I’ll keep it brief in this first post but I’ll cover topics like Hong Kong culture, campus life, exchange students, challenges I’ve faced and tourist hotspots in upcoming posts!
So…why Hong Kong? Hong Kong seemed unpredictable, a vibrant hotpot for cultures all over the world, and exciting. When I was debating where to study abroad, everyone’s views on Hong Kong were different so naturally this polarising city drew me in.
What’s Hong Kong like? Hong Kong is a city with so much to do that it feels overwhelming at first. When I first came here I thought it was pretty similar to London, a metropolitan city with a charming shabbiness but with cat cafes lining the streets. But everyday my perception of Hong Kong changes as I experience more of the things Hong Kong has to offer and meet new people – and I found that cat cafes I thought were so common in HK, just happened to be prominent in the street outside the youth hostel I stayed at for my first week in Wan Chai.
There’s so much to learn here. Politics (Hong Kong’s views on Mainland China and perceptions of the West), philosophy (in a place whose older generation emphasises study and structure you’ll find debates on the meaning of life pretty common amongst students), extracurricular pursuits (surfing, K pop, judo) and food! The amount of different food offered here is crazy! From Vietnamese, Korean, Taiwanese, Japanese, there’s so much to eat. Think egg puffs, shark, jelly fish and ingredients like matcha you may never have heard of but dominate recipes over here. There’s something here for everyone. There’s beaches, close by islands to hike to, film festivals, music festivals, rooftop bars, a good art scene… I’d say Facebook is key to discovering these events and finding a good group of friends who are keen to explore these happenings with you.
With regards to studying, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The stereotype is that Asian people study all the time, but I’ve found that the different grading system suits me better over here. Group projects and participation in class count for a good degree of your grade so the lack of independent essays has meant I’ve had a good amount of time to explore events in Hong Kong outside of class. I’m also able to take modules outside of my curriculum like Buddhist Art, Photography and Sustainability. With most people taking on a range of modules you’ll meet a whole range of diverse people. And I believe that this is what university is all about. Making the most of our ability and privilege to explore a range of subjects and interact with a diverse scene of people to develop an understanding of the world which others are not so fortunate to be able to do.
There are inevitably challenges you’ll face given that not everyone speaks English very well outside of the university campus, and the seven-hour time difference from England makes communication with friends and family back home slow and forces a degree of independence I’d never experienced, but with this you’ll find you’ll grow so much as a person. I can honestly say that I love it here for the reason being that in the short time I’ve been here I’ve been able to explore so many different things within a compact space, cheaply and with a group of like-minded people.
Though Hong Kong feels intimidating at first, its penetrating vigour full of misfits from all realms of life and grand skyscrapers really creates an inspiring atmosphere to live and study in and I’m excited to continue my journey here in the next coming months.
I arrived in Lisbon a little over one month ago to start my Erasmus semester abroad. I had previously not visited Lisbon but had heard incredible things, so when I arrived, I wanted to see it all for myself.
I couldn’t wait to get out and get active making use of the last summer days in September/October. I found myself immersed by a city full of beautiful old buildings, cobbled streets (old streets of Alfama), viewpoints (Miradouro Santa Catarina, Nossa Senhora de Monte are two favourites) and rooftop bars at sunset (Park, Topo, LX), great contemporary art (Museu Coleção Berardo) not to mention the surfing (Costa de Caparica) and most importantly the incredible nightlife here (cheap drinks in Bairro, great electronic music at Lux and a festival called Brunch). But hands down the best aspect of Erasmus is the exposure to new people, new cultures, new languages and most importantly new food!
But, me being me…I just can’t seem to ignore my keen interest in startup’s and Lisbon’s thriving ecosystems makes it even harder to ignore. Once I got confirmation of my place here at NOVA , I quickly added Web Summit to the list of ‘must-dos’ whilst here. Building on my past work at Leade.rs and VivaTech earlier this year (check out my medium profile). I am very much looking forward to being part of their Live team covering social media for this momentous event — boy do we have a task. Previously based in Dublin — 2016 was the first year Lisbon hosted the event and what an event it was…attracting 53,000 people, 15,000 companies, 7,000 CEOs and 700 investors it became Europe’s largest tech conference, and it’s poised to grow in 2017. This all demonstrates that Lisbon is not only capable but eager and yearning to establish itself on the world stage as a leader in creativity, technology, and innovation.
So how is Lisbon doing so far?
Paddy Cosgrove Web Summit founder put it well…
‘Lisbon is like Berlin five years ago, but with a southern European climate.’
Currently Lisbon is a rising star and an underdog — ranked by Allianz as the fifth-best-performing startup community in Europe, ahead of front-runners like Stockholm and Dublin. In fact, according to Preqin, the number of VC deals closed in Lisbon 2016 jumped sixfold from 2015, delivering it’s best year yet $18.5 million spread across 9 deals. But that is just the tip of the iceberg — the Portuguese have had to make do without swaths of international investment which countries like the UK and Germany have received and that has translated into making Lisbon one of the best locations to bootstrap a startup.
There are a few factors that contribute to Portugal’s rapidly thriving and evolving ecosystem…
One of Portugal’s main attractions is the combination of low-cost of living and high quality of life, two things that are very rarely found in one of Europe’s capital cities. On top of that, the OECD considered it the 3rd easiest country to start a company. This makes it makes it cheaper and easier to build great products utilising their highly skilled and ubiquitous talent. Fun fact: Lisbon has the highest percentage of founders with Masters or Ph.D. a whopping 82%.
Their rich history also plays its part, their Age of Discovery inspires a sense of exploration and due to Portugal’s small size; it fosters an outwardly focused mindset. It’s this very mindset which makes startups here think ‘international from day one’ giving them access to a larger addressable market, vital to startup scalability. According to the 2017 Startup Genome Report, Portuguese startups have high proportion of customers from outside Europe. A great example being F*ck Marry Kill, the gamified dating app, was founded in Lisbon but also enjoys popularity in German markets too. Furthermore, another advantage is how widespread and well spoken English is here, EF reports English proficiency at 59.68%.
Picture yourself – considering all of the above whilst relaxing in the hot summer sun after a surf on a stunning beach; sipping a caipirinha and eating some freshly caught and perfectly cooked seafood —then you know how it feels to live in Portugal.
It’s international accessibility, low cost of living and enriching lifestyle is catching ever more attention of global talent and press. All of these factors coalesce to accelerate the momentum it has recently accumulated — but to become sustainable, the ecosystem needs founders to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs by spreading their knowledge and expertise through mentorship and re-investment.
A vital channel for mentorship, funding and networking is incubators such as, Beta-i producing 40 startups and raising more than $166million. They have worked with over 500 startups and run various acceleration programs, including Beta-start and Lisbon Challenge which attract applicants from 60 countries.
Some other major players include:
Canopy City a social impact-focused coworking space and incubator.
Impact Hub part innovation lab, part business incubator, and part community center.
BET Ventures an events company aimed at empowering entrepreneur’s.
Talkdesk, joined 500 startups — received 21 million dollars of investment from Salesforce. Uniplaces, a disruptive force in the student accommodation industry that started in Lisbon and has spread to 30+ European cities — raised $24 million Series A last November CLICK HERE for more.
In many ways Lisbon feels like Europe’s version of San Francisco — not to mention the look-a-like Golden Gate Bridge, tanned surfers, streetcars and hills (lucky no sharks though).
So, what I am doing here in Lisbon?
Sheffield’s Universities Portuguese partner and my host university, Nova School of Business and Economics is in the unique position of having a great interface with the Lisbon startup community due to their newly opened NOVA Venture Lab, running its flagship Zero Gravity incubator/accelerator programme designed to invest in and develop innovative startups both nationally and internationally.
This innovative mindset filters into their teaching here too. In particular one of the main driving forces behind this renewed perspective and practice is Miguel Munñoz Duarte my Entrepreneurship professor and CEO of iMatch an innovation, marketing and sales focused collaborative consultancy. He has great connections to the vibrant ecosystem here and often arranges guest speakers to shine some light on the practical workings of the methodologies and techniques that we learn. A great example of this was our first guest Christian Vismara — a product manager at Build-Up Labs who came to talk to our class about his role there and specifically his work on F*ck Marry Kill.
First off, Build Up Labs is a Lisbon based Startup Studio also known as a Venture Builder — they create startups from start to finish (wherever that may be). A Venture builder is an all in one ideation, building/development, and growth house. They leverage a lean process and a cross-disciplinary team using shared resources to grow successful businesses. Think of it as the diametric opposite of ‘all your eggs in one basket’ — instead their approach is ‘put lots of eggs in different basket and nurture them until they either fly or die.’
Recently parent Startup birdie (Build Up Labs) celebrated it’s first successful hatch and fly- in other words, their first exit with NVY.LIFE to L’Oreal, it’s a beauty and lifestyle club via blog/news/app — they help readers to realise the best versions of themselves. Check it out HERE.
Christian however, talked a little more about F*ck Marry Kill (FMK) — dubbed “Tinder of the university students” by Jornal de Notícias and as the name suggests, it’s not your standard dating service it’s a game that is designed not to be taking seriously and is best at making it more fun to meet new people. They are now attracting a growing and addicted user base in Portugal and Germany too. In total, they have 72,600 users and has already registered 1.2 million hits and more than 550,000 messages sent.
Some other startups under the same roof:
tapmyback — a peer-to-peer motivation and feedback tool for teams. ToyToy a kids toy product discovery app. CLICK HERE to check out their Portfolio.
“The only thing worse than starting something and failing…is not starting.” — Seth Godin
Startup is a game of failure and if you fail, you learn and if you learn, you succeed. At Build Up Labs they strongly head the words above.
Un-afraid to talk about their past mistakes they view their failures as a portfolio of experience and after all, their motto is…
“Grow fast or kill fast”
The venture building model was new and interesting to me, so after the great talk Christian gave; I approached him to find out more…I was invited to visit their office in the up-and-coming industrial end of town, Marvilla which is located in a co-working space called The Hood (pictured left)— I was introduced to all the members of the team; Rui Gouveia CEO, João Duarte data scientist, João Pereira and Salvador Barros, I am really excited to help develop their social profile and produce an effective strategy.
CLICK HERE to find out more about the venture building model.
Finally, I have to say that I have never felt such a strong affinity to a city, let alone the one I luckily chose to study in. There is so much to do and see and it’s impossible to tire of it. A trip to Oporto is next on the agenda.
If you are reading this and you are;
A. interested in startup/tech/innovation
B. going to web summit
C. need a social media helping hand.
Then reach out to me via email: email@example.com
Hi! My name is Emma and I am an International Business Management student.
This year I am spending the year abroad at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU). I have already been here for almost two amazing months, both of which have been extremely full of exploring and learning, hence why this blog post is slightly delayed. However, I will introduce myself now and try my best to explain everything Vienna has had to offer me in the following posts!
Back in Sheffield I am a home student, living within a 15-minute drive of the University. This was not because I didn’t want to move away but rather that I very much wanted to do a year abroad, and Sheffield was the only university that offered this integrated into the three-year course. Consequently, the thought of spending a year abroad seemed even more daunting/exciting for me as I was so used to my surroundings. But so far, I have had nothing but fun! The weather has been beautiful, I have explored the city, country and met people from all over the world.
When deciding where I wanted to go, I was very open and researched lots of universities but in the end, Vienna was definitely my first choice for so many reasons. Not only is it a beautiful city, the location is perfect being in central Europe! This means are lots of travelling opportunities which is very important to me and I have been really making the most of so far, but I’ll dedicate a post to that. Also, the university itself also has such a wide variety of courses it was very easy to find topics that really interest me. The fact that I speak virtually no German didn’t faze me because English is so widely spoken in Vienna, however I really hope to become as fluent as I can whilst here.
Finding accommodation here is incredibly easy, most people use the national housing platform OEAD who have multiple different student accommodations all over the city. I chose one that was very close to the city centre but a little further from the university because I think this is more important when exploring and I am happy with my decision.
My next post will be dedicated to the trips I have been on so far (hint: Oktoberfest!).
Guten Tag! My name’s Sophie, I am an International Business Management Student and I’m spending my year abroad in Mannheim, Germany.
I chose to study in Germany as I loved learning German at school and couldn’t wait to improve and develop it to help me in my future career. Mannheim is ranked as the number one business school in the country, so I feel honoured to be representing Sheffield here!
There is an expansive and intriguing module list, which also enticed me to this course. Modules I am most excited to study are Social Media Marketing and the Fundamentals of E-Business.
The University is set in a Baroque Palace, so is a stunning building and definitely feels strange to be walking into every day! Mannheim itself has everything we need, a vast amount of restaurants, bars and clubs, and most usefully a Primark, which my bedroom is now a showroom for!
After hearing the university accommodation is less than ideal (basic and expensive), Myself and a friend, also from Sheffield, decided to find private accommodation. The process was much harder than anticipated, as landlords where extremely reluctant to rent to international students! But we finally found a flat share only 15 minutes from uni. Something I have noticed about Germany is most buildings don’t have lifts, which made taking three suitcases up four flights of stairs quite interesting! But now we are settled in, our new friends in university accommodation are all very jealous!
We have already been on a few day trips to nearby towns/cities, most recently Bad Durkheim for the world’s largest wine festival, which was so much fun! Our next trip planned is to Oktoberfest, which I will tell you all about in the next post.
I hope you enjoyed my first blog post, and will try to keep you updated (and jealous) of all the things I get up to!
Hello everyone! My name is Carlo Vidal Miranda and I am a Peruvian International Business Management student, who is currently studying at Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (WU) as an Erasmus student.
Some people might be wondering (my parents and friends did as well), “why did you opt for a year abroad if you are already studying abroad?”. The main reason is that I only managed to truly understand how much an experience abroad can benefit you and make you grow as a person during my time in Sheffield. Therefore, even though I had already settled in, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone once again in order to grow even more, and what a better way to do so than going to a completely different country where even the language is unknown.
There were two main reasons that explain why I chose Vienna. Firstly, it was the university that offered the widest array of modules to choose from. This allowed me to pick modules that I am very keen on and that I am looking forward to learn more about. Secondly, its geographical location. When I came to the UK, it was my first time in Europe in general. Therefore, I still have a great amount of places that I want to visit and one would be amazed to know how easy it is to travel to other countries from Vienna. For instance, you can go to Bratislava, Slovakia, for only 12 euros approximately and it is only one hour away.
So far it has been an amazing experience. To begin with, I enrolled in the pre-semester German course and my German has considerably improved. Before coming here I didn’t even know more than ten words in German apart from football teams or cities. At least now I am able to go to a shop and order (some products) in German. Also, I went to Graz as part of the orientation programme and it was very beautiful. It reminded me of Prague and Warsaw. Moreover, I have met people from all over the world. You would be amazed by how many people from different continents are coming to Europe as exchange students.
Last, but not least, two weeks ago I went to my first UEFA Europa League game when FK Austria Wien played AC Milan. Conveniently enough, the stadium is only five minutes away from my house by using the underground or 20 minutes away on foot. That is why I am going to the stadium next week again too as the Austrian National Team will play Serbia for the European World Cup Qualifiers.
My semester officially starts next week, so I am definitely looking forward to it!
Yanyan Gao is studying MSc Global Marketing Management, an exciting international programme offered by Sheffield University Management School and Hong Kong Baptist University. In this series of blogs she talks about an exciting field trip to Singapore.
Before we arrived in Hong Kong, we’ve been told that the University was organising a four-day field trip to Singapore at the end of the second semester. I decided to join this trip immediately as I haven’t been Singapore before and I have a passion for travelling.
I was still worried about the flight, the hotel, and the itinerary planning – fortunately, my anxiety was uncalled-for! We had a guide to pick us up at the airport and recommend some good sightseeing and local food, the hotel was really clean and quiet, with a breakfast buffet served each morning. This trip was so enriching and complemented the programme – we visited Pearson Education South Asia, CNBC Asia Pacific, W Hotel, and the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore. After the group visits, we had lots of time to explore the city, go shopping, or have fun with friends.
Visiting CNBC’s live news studio was intriguing. The digital screens, television cameras, lights and many high-tech devices are placed in a small room, we were encouraged to sit in the news anchors’ seats and take photos. CNBC’s manager shared the company’s business, tendencies, and existing issues. We also discussed the challenge of the internet to their TV channel and why their internet news service needs to be operated differently to their traditional TV news service.
Pearson Education is the first company we visited in Singapore. We received a warm welcome and some small gifts. They introduced their business in detail and I was surprised; they are a responsible educational organisation rather than a publishing company. I was very impressed by their corporate culture and company philosophy.
We enjoyed the sunset and the city view from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel’s rooftop bar after all the group visits.
Yanyan Gao is studying MSc Global Marketing Management, an exciting international programme offered by Sheffield University Management School and Hong Kong Baptist University. In this series of blogs she reflects on the employability support she has received in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is a thriving global city which attracts a great number of people from all parts of the world to work and live. A one-year work opportunity following the MSc Global Marketing Management is one of the reasons why I choose to study the programme. Although I already knew there were lots of opportunities in Hong Kong, the employment support from Hong Kong Baptist University still astonished me.
At the beginning of the second semester, we were given a speech from the Career Service Office staff about how they can support us to step-up our career. They conduct seminars, workshops, recruitment talks and career visits where we could join to get feedback on our resume, improve our interview skills and gain internship opportunities. Their career counselling and advising services are also available for alumni. One month ago, while attending a mock interview workshop, I experienced a formal interview processes: wore business attire, introduced myself and answered interviewers’ questions during the group interview. Every participant received detailed feedback and suggestions, and then they had a chance to make an adjustment and practice it again. So it’s perfect for the students who are going to graduate and get a job.
During the semester, we had numerous guest talks, company visits and company projects. It’s amazing to converse with senior managers and directors in global companies like Google and Swire Group. They shared their experiences and understanding of the markets and consumers, answered all the questions we asked, and told us what kind of staff they employ and their company’s recruitment requirements. I enjoyed these unforgettable experiences which were not just field-trip study but a pathway for us to the real business world.
Yanyan Gao is studying MSc Global Marketing Management, an exciting international programme offered by Sheffield University Management School and Hong Kong Baptist University. In this series of blogs she discusses how alumni are intregrated into the second semester from the very beginning.
Hong Kong Baptist University’s Welcome Dinner is the first time we met the alumni. It’s also the first time all the programme students gathered with tutors, directors and other staff.
At that time, I have just arrived in Hong Kong. The new situation, new people and new language (Cantonese) made me a little nervous, but everyone at the dinner is affable; they’re happy to communicate and share their experiences and opinions. The atmosphere was very casual and pleasant, so I made many new friends and felt more at ease and confident.
And not only that – the University alumni are entrepreneurs, senior managers, and experienced people from various industries. They’re willing to help new students in their study, life and future career. They asked if we needed help, gave us the necessary information about the city, and tried to help us get used to living here.
Most of them were invited to give us lectures or participate in our projects. They used their own experiences to show the application of marketing theories and provide a new perspective to analyse problems. I learned a lot from these activities.
Better yet, they gave us their business cards and stay in touch with us by email or social media, so that we still can get their guidances after graduation! I think that’s why I have no doubt I have made the right decision to choose this program!
Emily Smith is studying MSc Global Marketing Management, an exciting international programme offered by Sheffield University Management School and Hong Kong Baptist University. In this series of blogs she discusses her experiences of studying her first semester in Sheffield and second in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is well known for its gargantuan skyscrapers and huge crowds of people navigating the bustling neon-lit streets and teeming MTR stations. Hong Kong Island is lively, boisterous, and edgy. Riotous laughter, pumping music, and endless good times can be heard throughout the party district of Lan Kwai Fong most evenings. Live bands coverings your favourite songs can be found in the nightclubs of Wan Chai at weekends.
But don’t worry if that sounds overwhelming. Hong Kong has some gloriously laid back surprises that it’s less well known for. As a stark contrast to the unapologetic city lifestyle, Hong Kong has some breath-taking green spaces, tranquil sandy beaches, and countless hiking trails to help you relax and unwind.
There are 263 mountainous outlying islands in Hong Kong, with the majority located in the New Territories. Lantau Island is the largest island in Hong Kong. The airport is located on the highly developed northern side of Lantau, while the south of the island is home to beautiful hiking trails and country parks. Ferries to Lantau from Kowloon and Hong Kong Island are cheap and frequent. Get the ferry to Mui Wo and make the invigorating 9km hike over to the village of Pui O for chilled out beach bars, burger shacks and spectacular vistas.
Lamma Island offers a gentle walking trail that sweeps along the picturesque coastline. Start from Yung Shue Wan village and head towards Hung Shing Yeh Beach to cool off in the glorious water and dry off on the clean, golden sand. Continue on the trail to the quaint, relaxed village of Sok Kwu Wan, where you’ll find excellent seafood restaurants.
Hiking is a great way to escape the Hong Kong crowds. The carefully signposted trails and refreshment stops along the way will offer you endless enjoyment during your stay in Hong Kong!