If you wanted to explore Wales, where would you go and what would you do?
From cities to beaches, music to art, and plenty more, the possibilities are endless. But when there are so many things to do, how do you decide? To help make things easier, we teamed up with our friends at Study UK to show 7 international students a taste of what’s on offer when you choose to study in Wales.
Zipping through underground caverns at Zipworld, Snowdonia National Park
Set in a historic slate mine, the various nooks, crannies, tunnels and chasms of Caverns, Zipworld have been brought back to life with 13 zip lines, as well as via ferrata, rope bridges, tightropes and more, to push your bravery and endurance to the ultimate test.
Hira Amjad, a Pakistani student studying Film at Bangor University, dusted off her nerves and threw herself into the course: “Zipline was on my bucket list since forever and doing it in a cave was equally exciting and nerve wracking, but it all added to an amazing experience. It was challenging for sure, but having made it through was so satisfying. Will I do it again? YES!”
Also braving the caverns was Malaysian student Sarah Ch’ng, who’s studying Law at Aberystwyth University: “One of the reasons why I’m glad to have chosen to study in Wales is because we have plenty of adventure sports such as this around! I conquered my slight ‘fear of heights’ and thoroughly enjoyed zip-lining through the caverns. It was so awesome, and I had the best time!”
As Bangor and Aberystwyth students, both girls spoke enthusiastically about Wales. Hira said: “If you ever get the chance to study abroad in the UK, do it. There’s so much international exposure, experience, and diversity here. You learn a lot from the different cultures, and you get to meet amazing people.” Sarah added: “I really enjoy studying in Wales because there's just so much to do, and so much to see. One of the reasons why I came here is because I like to live in these kinds of picturesque surroundings.”
A night-time reading retreat in Gladstone’s Library, Flintshire
Housed in a Grade I listed building and complete with a residential wing, this is the only library in the UK which allows visitors to stay overnight. The perfect retreat for booklovers, guests can experience the reading rooms by day and night and can even take books to their room.
Aishwarya Ganesh, an Indian student undertaking her Masters in Marketing at Cardiff University, adored exploring the gorgeous library. She also loved visiting the nearby Hawarden Estate Farm Shop: “It was such a cute and cosy café, and the food was delicious.” Speaking about her time studying in Wales, Aishwarya said: It’s very inclusive. My university includes a diverse range of courses and you’ll find it very interesting – if you like learning a lot and trying new things, maybe you should try Wales!”.
Discovering the capital with a tour of Cardiff
If you’re exploring Cardiff city centre, you’ll pass beautiful parks and key landmarks including Cardiff Castle, the Principality Stadium, Millennium Centre and the Senedd Building (Welsh Parliament).
Taking part in the landmarks tour of Cardiff was Lavinia Bonfatti Sabbioni, an Italian student studying Classics at UWTSD: “Exploring Cardiff and tasting some of Welsh cuisine has been an amazing experience and a perfect way to dive into Welsh culture. The breath-taking nature, the ancient traditions, the welcoming people: what’s not to love about Wales?”
Joining Lavinia on the tour was Mahe Ndao, a Senegalese Chevening scholar studying her Masters in Finance at Swansea University. She said: “In Wales, there are wonderful landscapes to discover. The combination of modern and old architecture in Cardiff makes the city so unique.”
Speaking about their study experience in Wales so far, Mahe said: “As an international student, there are many benefits to studying in Wales. At Swansea University, I have been exposed to various facilities that will contribute to developing your skills academically and personally.” Lavinia added: “I feel supported by my teachers at the UWTSD, and during my time in Wales I would love to learn the Welsh language”.
A serene staycation in the hills, Trehafod
What’s more relaxing that a gentle walk in the countryside, exploring a quaint village and their local attractions, and enjoying good food? Not much!
American student Lillian Wolford is studying Journalism and Communications at Cardiff University, and thoroughly enjoyed exploring a hidden part of the country: “Having stayed mostly in the city during my time at university, it was refreshing to get away and take in the greenery and beautiful scenery of Wales. I truly got to experience another side of Wales, that I really loved.”
Thanh Nguyen from Vietnam is studying for her Masters in Project Management at University of South Wales, and joined Lillian on the trip: “It was such a nice, friendly and interesting experience. I had the chance to recharge myself after busy studying time at university. There are hidden places in Wales that can heal your soul from the hustle and bustle of life that definitely should be explored. Wales to me is just like a ‘breath of nature’’.