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Chicken’s Tale    Most recent entry: Jan. 3, 2011

Here is the on-going story of a former Jiangnan University student from Wuxi, China as written in emails to me.
He is now studying at Sheffield University in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.
He is working on his Masters degree, majoring is Screen Translation.

Chicken’s Tale (in his own words)

October 12, 2010                                                                Next

I’ve been in Sheffield for more than 2 weeks and I just adapted the life style and rhythm. Everything goes well and I have lessons everyday during the weekdays. Before I start my diary I took quite a long time to adjust myself and get familiar with the environment. After all, this is my first time to go to UK and study alone abroad. Fortunately, I can get used to it now and all I need to do is to study hard and enjoy the life.

Well, I have to say that Sheffield is really a beautiful city. Although it’s the 4th largest city in England, its environment is truly fantastic, even in the centre of the city. The whole city is built on the mountain. So the roads in the city are rather steep. In this kind of situation I didn’t buy a bike and now I walk every day to the class with my roommate, no matter how far the classroom is.

For the University of Sheffield, it is totally different from the college that I took in China, Jiangnan University. It contains quite a few parts of campus and some of them are quite near to the city center. Every day when I come out from my dormitory, I just go into the city and walk with the citizens. This feeling is quite strange for me as the university is broken into pieces and I even cannot feel that it exists. I think I still need some time to accept this fact.

Today we had the lessons of theory and practice of subtitling, which are the compulsory courses of my major. It is the first time that we get to know the software about the subtitle and learn how to use it. Obviously it is a little bit difficult for all of us as we are not computer experts. But it is just the beginning. We still have a lot of time to study.

One of the most terrible things, especially for Chinese students is that nearly all the courses are required to hand in an essay at the end of the semester as the final exam. We are afraid of writing most, but it is inevitable. Now there is an essay that about 1000 words for us to handle before November 4th and it should have at least 6 references! Oh my god, this is truly a great challenge for me!

I will have a lessons morning tomorrow, called “Translation Technology”. Actually it is not belong to my major. However, it is said that the teacher teaches some really practical computer skills and it is worthy of sitting in. So I decide to go there and have a try. And I would like to stop here and go to bed, as it is 11:20 in the evening.

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October 13, 2010, Wednesday sunny   Previous Entry     Next

I planned to get up at 7:30 do the morning exercise. But when it was the time, I was so sleepy that I turned off the alarm clock and kept on sleeping. And for the result, I got up at 8:30, almost no time for me to have the breakfast! God, I cannot be such lazy like this anymore and I must go to bed earlier this evening to ensure that I will have the exercise tomorrow.

In the morning I went to the “Translation Technologies” class, which is not the course of my major, Screen Translation. But we’ve heard that some of the computer skills are quite useful so that I came to have a look. Our teacher is an Doctor. He also teaches us 2 other classes. And when he talks, it’s just like a machine gun firing as his speech tempo is really fast. Even I tried my best I still cannot catch all he said. Surely it is good for us to practice our listening, but we will definitely be very tired if we want to follow him. And for the teaching content. Today he taught us how to use “Google Translate”, which we had used for years since we were freshmen. And we all knew the work that Google translated into Chinese is rather terrible. Then he introduced another translating software, systranet. But the result of translation was much more terrible. If we still can understand what Google translated, then the work of systranet was totally a mess! All of us were quite disappointed for it.

I’m not sure whether the class will continue being like this. Maybe I still need to come next week to see. [editor's note: the course did present much new information in future classes, providing much benefit]

In the afternoon we have the “Advanced Chinese Translation” class, and the teacher is a Chinese. We love her class. But every time we have only one hour, which seems not quite enough. Unfortunately, the timetable cannot be changed. So we have to speed up during the lesson. By the way, we all Chinese, but during the class we all have to speak English. And that’s what our teacher requires. I think it’s good as we can practice oral English as much as possible. And for the rest of my classmates, I don’t know.

I’ve been in Sheffield for more than 2 weeks and all seems settle down. But I just became feeling a little upset, due to the homesickness. I was shocked when I first time realized this as I’m always careless and taking the world as it is. I really didn’t know that I can also be homesick. Now I really miss my family, my girlfriend, my former roommates and of course, the whole Jiangnan University. Well, sounds reasonable, as I’m studying abroad and no matter how great UK is, it is not my country, not my motherland.

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October 15, 2010, Friday rainy              Previous Entry     Next

Hallelujah! Today is Friday; the start of weekend and this is so good!

We didn’t have the class in the afternoon and I went with my roommate to go to the Castle Market, the market of fruits and vegetables. I bought the tomatoes, eggs and the shrimp. If we want to buy something for eat and cooking we usually come here as the price here is rather low while the quality of the goods is still high. We saw a lot of Chinese in the market and it is obvious that this is quite suitable for us as we need all these materials to cook Chinese food.

Tonight the school had the activity called “Sports Night”, which means that the sports center and all its facilities, grounds are free for us to use. So we five came there and played rock climbing, basketball, table tennis and squash. Among them rock climbing and squash were quite new for me and I had a really wonderful time! However, as I hadn’t done exercise for quite a long time so that I’m really tired now and my hands are even shaking! So I’d better go to bed earlier!

And by the way, we will go to see a football match tomorrow and one of the team is the famous Sheffield Wednesday! Although this is not the top match, we all would love to go and enjoy it. So I just stop here and go to bed.

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October 18, 2010, Monday sunny         Previous Entry     Next

A new week again and I have to face the class every day from Monday to Friday. But more or less I have completely get used to it and I’m sure that this is not a big deal.

We just had lessons today and not too much to talk about. I was still a little bit addicted in the football match in the weekend. Although it was not a top level football match and we could clearly find out that the skill of the players were clumsier than those in the Premier League teams, the fierce extent of the match and the enthusiasm of the fans still burnt the whole stadium. Actually I didn’t like Sheffield United and my favourite football club is Manchester United. However under that kind of circumstance, I also became a fan of it. At the end of the match there was a draw of 3 to 3. And all the audiences were satisfied with this result. After all, the opponent was much stronger than Sheffield United and it lead 10 positions at the scoreboard.

I think that in the future I will go to Manchester City to enjoy a Premier League match. That must be much better and it is fantastic to enjoy the performance of my favourite team.

As I have the compulsory class in the tomorrow morning, I’d better go to bed earlier. And hope that it will be a fine day, as it just rained heavily outside.

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January 3, 2011                                  Previous Entry     

We went to London to enjoy the Christmas and the whole trip was just OK. It is quite different enjoying a holiday here from China. On December 25th nearly all the shops and restaurants were closed. We had no place to go so that we had to stay in the hotel instead. The next day was the "boxing day" and we saw the madness of the people here about shopping. Along the shopping center in London, Oxford Street, all the things were on sale and for those big shopping malls many shelves were even bought empty! That was quite shocking to me.

Now we are still in the Christmas holiday and we will start our 2nd semester on January 17th. But we have 2 essays to finish before the new term and I was quite annoyed about these. It is much more difficult to study in England and all the essays are highly required. I have to work really hard to pass all the courses. Our college is the strictest one in the University of Sheffield and the average failing rate during the past years is 70%. And nearly half of the students cannot get the degree. Therefore for all the students in my major, it is a great challenge.

Sheffield is a clean and beautiful city. It's comfortable living here. But I still want to go back to China after my graduation.  After all, that is my motherland and I miss my families, friends and teachers a lot.

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Map of England showing Sheffield

Photos from Chicken

Chicken beside a fountain in Sheffield

Chicken by the base of a ferris wheel in Sheffield

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Chicken in a sports stadium in Sheffield

Chicken outside during fall in Sheffield

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