For the first time since 1958, Wales is a participating country in the FIFA World Cup and as a nation, we couldn’t be more excited. By competing on an international stage, we’re introducing Wales to the world, inviting people to learn more about our rich culture and warm, welcoming people.
Students and staff across our Welsh universities and colleges, and around the world, are supporting Wales, and joining our world-wide red wall. So we’ve rounded up just a taster of the activities and events that are taking place throughout the tournament.
Swansea University is kicking off the tournament with ‘More than one way to be Welsh’, a campaign that encourages support for our Wales team while also promoting inclusivity – because sport is for everyone and we’re stronger together. Keep an eye out on their social media channels for support and well wishes from the Swansea community of students, faculty and alumni.
Oh, and if you want to get into the football spirit, listen to this rendition of Dafydd Iwan’s ‘Yma o Hyd’ performed by Swansea University Choral Society, Swansea University Show Choir and The University Staff Choir, featuring their Men's and Women's football teams.
Continuing the love for the Welsh football anthem ‘Yma o Hyd’, Bangor University’s Welsh language choir Aelwyd JMJ is also recording a version of ‘Yma o Hyd’ on campus, helping to build anticipation and momentum for their students. As Wales v Iran is taking place at 10am on a Friday, the game is being shown at Pontio, Bangor’s Arts and Innovation Centre, for students and staff alike. C’mon Cymru!
Students and staff at St David’s College will also be taking on ‘Yma o Hyd’ so keep an eye on their social media to see how incredible they sound! Decorating their communal areas, students are being encouraged to wear international dress related to the World Cup teams and their heritage, as well as wear bucket hats and red clothes on Wales match days. The college is also offering subject-based content related to the World Cup where relevant; for example, debates within pastoral lessons about the challenges of hosting the tournament in Qatar.
In Wales, singing is clearly in our blood, and the Cardiff Met Welsh Choir is no different. Kitted out in bucket hats and scarves, you can listen to their special performance of ‘Hen Wlad fy Nhadau’, the Welsh National Anthem which translates to ‘Old Land of My Fathers’, here. Oooft, there’s nothing quite like hearing the National Anthem sung with such pride and passion!
Coleg Gwent are fully behind the Wales team, screening Wales v Iran at their campuses for students to enjoy, while giving equal prominence to equality, diversity and inclusion, and their opposition to certain attitudes and culture in Qatar.
Similarly, Coleg Sir Gar have suspended lessons for students to watch Wales v Iran, who are invited to watch the match in campus-based fan zones (with a fabulous free breakfast). The college has filmed Welsh-language learners singing 'Yma o Hyd', with contributors from all seven of their campuses, and several iconic red walls have been created, displaying banners of the Wales team and Gwyl Festival.
And the University of South Wales is in the midst of a Football Festival. They are so excited about Wales reaching the Men’s Football World Cup for the first time since 1958 that they have a range of activities taking place across campuses for the duration of the World Cup, with a priority focus on inclusivity, equality, and tolerance.
A World Cup themed USW Walking Football Tournament is taking place in December, which is open to students and staff with the support of the Coalfield Regeneration Trust and Game On Wales - rainbow shoelaces will also be offered to players taking part to wear. Matches are being shown on tv screens at Stilts in Treforest alongside deliciously themed burger menus, as well as at the USW Sports Park, and at the Students’ Union in Treforest. Make sure to also keep an eye on the USW Alumni page, which will be featuring six graduate profiles as part of their Women in Sport campaign.
Gower College Swansea is creating a buzz around the World Cup on their campuses, with flags of the 32 participating countries being hung in communal areas to celebrate the diversity of the tournament, and the college’s very own 'red wall' has been set up for Welsh learners to write and display their bilingual good luck messages to the Wales team. The Welsh-language team have also worked with learners to create their own ‘Yma o Hyd’ rendition to showcase before the Wales v Iran game, while a suspension of classes means all learners can attend one of their communal fan zones to enjoy the game. Expect to hear traditional Welsh music to set the atmosphere, with flags, banners, scarves, bucket hats and face paint a-plenty! Working with ‘Show Racism the Red Card’, the college wants to use the World Cup as an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity, diversity and their anti-racism stance.
Also broadcasting the Wales v Iran game is Cardiff & Vale College, which will be played on the big screen in the Atrium of their city centre campus with the Welsh-language department leading both the Welsh National Anthem and ‘Yma o Hyd’ before the game starts. Students from the beauty department are also getting involved in the action, offering face stencils and painting to eager viewers.
Interested in learning more about Wales’ journey to the World Cup? Check out our recent blog here. After 64 years of waiting, Wales are taking their place on biggest stage in world football and it’s glorious to see. C’MON CYMRU, AMDANI!