Student Unions, Clubs, and Societies: Your Life Outside of Learning

When you study abroad, you’re diving into a new, exciting world of adventure and opportunity. But we know that meeting new people and building new friendships can be daunting. Fortunately, Wales is renowned for its warm welcome and with our bustling student unions and a range of societies and clubs, you’ll quickly build your own community and find your tribe.

Our students’ unions

A good student union is at the heart of everyone’s university experience. And in Wales, we pride ourselves on having the best of the best. In fact, both Bangor University Students’ Union and Cardiff University Students’ Union were rated in the top 5 student unions in the whole of the UK at the 2022 WhatUni Student Choice Awards.

Each of our unions is run by students for students. Once you enrol at university, you’re automatically a member and best of all, it’s free! Your student union is here to represent your best interests to university authorities while also providing welfare and advice services.

From food outlets and bookstores to cafes and bars, your student union is a one-stop shop for all your university needs. Plus, with a full programme of entertainment including club nights and gigs, you’ll make some of your best memories – and friends – at your union. 

Clubs and societies

However unique you think your hobbies and passions are, you can bet that there’s a club or society to celebrate it. And perhaps more importantly, that means there’s a group of like-minded people ready and waiting to meet you. Some of our societies focus on bringing people from the same cultural backgrounds together, some are course-based, and others are entirely random. Whether it’s a medieval re-enactment society or a club that celebrates all things Disney, there’s something for everyone. And if your hobby is so niche that a club or society doesn’t yet exist, you can start your own. 

Your primary reason for coming to Wales might be to study, but as they say, life is for living, and learning isn’t just confined to lecture halls and libraries. With our wide variety of clubs and societies means that you can find new hobbies too. Or if there’s something you’ve always wanted to try or find out more about, the people behind the clubs and societies will be more than happy to welcome you to join.


Sporting activities

In Wales, we’re a nation of passionate sports lovers. Rugby, football, hockey, badminton, ultimate frisbee, quidditch – you name it, and there’s a sporting society for it. 

Whether there’s a sport you practised back home or a new one you want to take up, there’s something for everyone no matter what your level is.  

Each of our universities have their own teams for the bigger sports, and you could end up representing your university all over Britain. But if you’re just in it for fun, that’s okay too. Once a year, more than half of Wales’ universities run Varsity events, and you’ll quickly come to realise why ‘Varsity’ is every student’s favourite day. Our rival institutions get together to battle it out in a range of different sports – all in good fun, of course! Whether you’re playing on a team or happy to cheer your university on from the side-lines, it’s not to be missed.


As well as giving you the opportunity to have fun, make friends and try new things, Students’ Unions run in the same way as other unions; they’re there to stand up for your rights as a student. They do this through Academic Rep systems, where each course and college/faculty will have a student representative who you can talk to about the way you’re taught and examined. The reps will then share your feedback with the university, with the aim of improving the way you’re taught for all students. 

Students’ Unions also often offer wellbeing advice and support to students, including help with mental health and welfare issues. Students’ Union advice and support centres are a safe place where you can talk to someone if you’re struggling or would like general wellbeing advice; they’re also well informed on issues like money, housing, and employment, should you need assistance around those things.

Find out more about the unions, clubs, and societies that are enriching the university experience of students across Wales:

Aberystwyth University Students’ Union
Bangor University Students’ Union
Cardiff Met Students’ Union
Cardiff University Students’ Union
Swansea University Students’ Union
University of South Wales Students’ Union
UWTSD Students’ Union
Wrexham Glyndwr Students’ Union


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