Multiculturalism is an often used word in this day and age, but I do wonder how many of us actually embrace it fully. Sheffield, as one of the major UK universities, welcomes thousands of international students to the City every year and therefore every department becomes a rich mixing pot of cultures.

On the 12th of October 2016, Materials Society (MatSoc) joined forces with the Department to try and showcase this though an international coffee event. It was an incredibly enjoyable occasion, held in Revolucion de Cuba, and I for one was delighted to meet fellow students at various stages of their education, from all corners of the earth. On the far wall, there was an A0 size map of the world, with an open invitation for students and lecturers alike to mark on their nationalities. The finished result was really rather impressive!

We have students and staff from over 50 different countries. #WeAreInternational


There were several discussions about food, with welcome packs containing restaurant recommendations from selected international students.

Some personal highlights of the afternoon included being taught the difference between authentic Mexican burritos and the ones we have here in the UK, and discussing what the traditional breakfast of Saudi Arabia is! It was so interesting to be able to share knowledge of our cultures and both answer and have questions answered.

It was also lovely to see so many lecturers there – there really seemed to be a sense of community and care within the Department. Thank you to those members of staff who took time out of their days to come along!

In summary, I would like to thank everyone who made the coffee social possible, from those who helped organise it, to those who came along for a drink and a chat. I am extremely keen for socials like this to become commonplace, as they have the power to open minds and build networks and friendships with the people we work with from day to day, even if we didn’t grow up in the same country.

To see photos from the event, visit the Department Facebook page.

Emma Green
Inclusions and Community Officer for the Materials Engineering Society (MatSoc)

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