By Amric Sangha
If you are looking to study in Wales, chances are you will not be alone – did you know that in 2012 over 18,000 international students from outside Europe enrolled on higher education courses in Wales (they make up about 13.7% of the student population).
You also won’t be disappointed; the University of Aberystwyth has been voted the best university town in Britain. Not to mention that Swansea University has won an award for being the best student experience in the UK. We are also not forgetting the highly sought after and popular destination - the University of Cardiff.
In this article you will find a basic guide to student life in Wales, which holds a vibrant and vivacious culture, various locations of interest and of course, caters for your personal academic growth. If you were not aware of the fact already, you will also be pleasantly surprised by the economic benefits of studying in Wales too.
Wales has an excellent track record for producing word class academic institutions that cater to and for any student. In 2015, Cardiff was ranked 23rd in the UK Complete University Guide, boasting a better student satisfaction score than the likes of UCL, Exeter, Bristol and Edinburgh. With 24/7 run libraries across both the Cardiff campus and Swansea Campus respectively, students are never left behind with their own personal development in not just academia, but in the world after higher education.
For a small country, Wales offers a diverse culture and social life. The country’s capital, Cardiff is an internationally renowned place of entertainment, culture and history. Contemporary dance, theatre and concerts are available at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, and the historic New Theatre. The Millennium Stadium is home to everything sport related, not to mention the concerts it also hosts, with a 73,000 capacity stadium, enough for anyone to lose themselves in. Need to let loose? Go forth to the many pubs, clubs and bars around the city. Many venues hold strictly student nights or have special offers with NUS (National Union of Students) cards. Want to know a fun fact? You can immerse yourself in the world of Doctor Who, the iconic television programme filmed on location in Cardiff. Some Cardiff University buildings have actually been used as part of the set, and there is a permanent Doctor Who exhibition in Cardiff Bay, which houses, amongst other exhibits, actual props and clothes from the popular series.
Swansea City's nightlife is based on a street of numerous restaurants, pubs and clubs known as Wind Street. In addition it has the city’s oldest licensing establishment called the No Sign Wine Bar. This was frequented by Dylan Thomas many years ago. It also has The Adelphi which apparently was where Rocky Marciano was knocked out in a pub fight. Who would have thought?
For all you camera snappers and outdoor extraverts out there, Wales is an excellent choice. The country as a whole is very picturesque, and it stands out for several reasons.
The cities in Wales combine the busy metropolitan lifestyle with beautiful coastal scenery that surrounds their borders. If you love walking, climbing and generally understanding the lay of the land along with its cultural landscape, the universities of Wales cater to your hiking needs, with societies within the institutions co-ordinating regular hikes in the national parks and mountains, most notably Snowdonia which is located in north of Wales. Swansea University’s campus is located just moments away from some of the most breath-taking coastal sites the country has to offer, with the Gower Peninsula in full view from student accommodation. The University is also currently building a major new campus - the Bay Campus - which is a 65 acre development on the eastern approach into Swansea.
There are few limitations to what you can do and see in Wales. If you weren’t already sold, here’s what may sway you. Wales has some of the lowest living costs in the United Kingdom and the student population enjoy a very high standard of living. Historically Wales has had lower costs on items such as accommodation, travel, food, entertainment, shopping and services. Property prices, council tax and basic expenses all generally fall below the UK average. If you’re thinking about studying in the UK, Wales should be considered in your search for the right University for you.
For more information on studying in the UK, click here.