Wales is one of the UK’s hidden gems. Although it is a part of the United Kingdom (along with England, Scotland and Northern Ireland) it is also a proud nation in its own right, with its own distinctive history, culture and language.
With a total population of just over 3 million it offers a quieter, gentler pace of life than many other parts of the UK. There are a handful urban areas (concentrated in the south); these include Cardiff (the capital city), Swansea and Newport. The rest of Wales is defined by rugged mountain scenery, beautiful beaches and quaint towns and villages.
What often surprises international students is the fact the Welsh language in no way resembles English. It has completely different origins to English and even has its own alphabet! Whilst only about a quarter of the people in Wales speak the language fluently you will notice that it appears everywhere from road signs to official documents, and there are many TV and radio stations that broadcast solely in Welsh. But don’t worry everyone in Wales speaks fluent English too so you’ll be able to communicate with no trouble.
The Welsh people are renowned for their friendliness and you’ll be sure to have a warm welcome if you choose to study there! As well as experiencing unique culture, great scenery and a friendly welcome, another benefit of studying in Wales is that the cost of living can be much cheaper than in most English towns and cities.
Getting to Wales is easy enough. You can get from the centre of London to the centre of Cardiff in under two hours by train. North Wales is also easily accessible from London and is near to the cities of Manchester and Liverpool.
However, due to the Welsh mountains, travelling across Wales can be more challenging. Getting from Cardiff in the south to Bangor in the north takes around least 5 hours by train!
Things to see and do in Wales
Go to a rugby match: Nothing quite stirs the Welsh passion like the national sport of rugby! If you get a chance you should definitely watch a live match. Getting to watch the national team is a delight with the crowd wearing daffodils (the national flower) and singing traditional Welsh songs along with more 'modern' Welsh classics such as Tom Jones’s Delilah!
Explore the history: There are more than 600 castles in Wales. That's more per square kilomentre than anywhere else in the world! You'll find beautifully preserved castles along with historic ruins - each with their own stories orfepic battles or romantic encounters.
Watch a male voice choir: Every Welsh town tends to have its own male voice choir so it’s not surprising that Wales is often referred to as ‘the Land of Song’! Many of these choirs trace their roots back hundreds of years, often starting amongst coal mining and church communities. These days you can enjoy listening to male voice choirs in concert halls or (often just as impressively) in a local pub!
Visit the beach: Wales has around 2,500 km of coastline, most of it unspoiled by development. Some of the best beaches can be found around the Gower Peninsula (near Swansea) as well as Pembrokeshire and Ceridigion in the far west and the Island of Angelsey in the north (where you can also catch a ferry to visit Dublin!)
Visit Snowdonia: Snowdonia is a breathtaking national park and home to ‘Snowdon’ the highest mountain in Wales. With hundreds of lakes and views across the sea to Ireland, Snowdonia is unlike anywhere else in the UK!
Universities in Wales
There are eight universities in Wales. They range from large universities (such as Cardiff University, Swansea University and the University of South Wales) to smaller universities such as Bangor, Aberystwyth and Wrexham Glyndwr (in the more rural west or north of the country).
If you would like to explore your options for studying in Wales book a consultation with our team.