The midst of second semester marks the beginning of spring for Cardiff’s student population. Young adults all over settle in again and get back to the ritual of shoving their noses into pages of books.
Cardiff has acquired somewhat of an identity as a student town, given that it hosts Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, University of South Wales, Welsh School of Arts and Music, and other renowned institutes.
As per the British Curriculum, the academic year begins in September, often international students take a little longer to adjust to the new environment. They confess that it would have taken them a little less time and effort had someone provided them with tips for living in Cardiff.
So, here they are. These experienced students from different parts of the world recall what they wish they’d known when they first arrived in Cardiff:
- Nadja Lederer, Germany, Teacher in Training, Cardiff Metropolitan University
I wish someone had told me: That it was going to be hard to find a house for only six months. I spent a long time looking for a house on different websites and it was only later that I realised that a lot of houses had already been booked.
Nadja says she had to travel to Cardiff especially to book a house, prior to moving here.
Student housing is a crucial part of moving to a new place. While there is some truth in the fact that a new comer may have difficulties finding a home in the city, there are some websites that new students can explore for more help.
It is highly advisable to start looking for a house as soon as students receive their offer letter. Nonetheless, students can always ask for help from student organisations.
Expert tip: Refrain from signing important documents prior to viewing the room.
- Zoe Kacungira, Tanzania, Business School, Cardiff Metropolitan University
I wish someone had told me: Just how much it rains. It rains 365 days a year. Maybe then I would have been better prepared.
It may not raining everyday, Cardiff has its occasional sunny days, but it there is no denying that it rains more often than not. Be it winter, autumn, spring or summer, the one accessory every student must carry with themselves, at all times, is an umbrella.
However, it is also highly advisable to make raincoats a permanent item in the wardrobe for windier days.
- Ayush Sachdeva, India, Engineering School. Cardiff University
I wish someone had told me: Too much rain can really make you gloomy and that it’s a good idea to keep busy in positive activities.
On similar lines as Zoe, Ayush says, “the horrible and gloomy weather can affect your mood. You might not feel like doing anything, or going out of the house or going for lectures”
Evidently, weather is a huge issue amongst students and residents alike. It can sometimes take a toll on your mental and physical health.
Even though, course works consume large part students’ lives, it may help to indulge in sports, arts and other recreational activities once in a while.
Being a student town, Cardiff is popular for its DJ nights, exhibitions and other events.
It helps to acknowledge that universities in Cardiff have a special department helping students with their mental issues and also many societies and organised trips that students can explore.
- Haixia Chen, China, School of Economics, Cardiff University
I wish someone had told me: That there is more to Cardiff than it meets the eye.
Over the years, Haxia has learnt that Cardiff, being a part of Wales, has a rich history and is home to many cultures. Although, she isn’t too happy about the weather either, she sees Cardiff for what it is; more than just another student town.
- Vahaj Sayed, Pakistan, School of Engineering, Cardiff University
I wish someone had told me: That first year grades are counted on the final transcript
Usually, the university professors make sure to clear out such confusions before the beginning of the session. It would still be helpful for students to refer to their guides and handbooks in case of any miscommunication.
For the first few months, international students may lag on the academic front in efforts of trying to grasp the new curriculum and settling down in an unknown place. It is important to know that university professors and the educational faculty urge their students to communicate with them and will help in resolving academic doubts.