From South Africa to South Wales 0

As a South African studying in Wales, I’ve had to adjust to many things. I grew up in Cape Town, where it rarely rains and everyone has a swimming pool. Things are a little different here, I’ve had to invest in an umbrella, and for the most part people do not smell like sunscreen every day. Saying that, deciding to go to university in Wales has been the best decision I could have made in regards to many aspects of my life.

The biggest reason I’m happy to live in Wales is my University. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David has campuses in Carmarthen, Lampeter and due to a merger with Swansea Metropolitan, Swansea. In my previous blog I mentioned how I applied for the Psychology course, which is based in Carmarthen, as well as how nervous I was about being accepted. When I found out that I had a place I was so excited. I did not really know what to expect when I arrived. Attending University in a foreign country can be really daunting and before I arrived I often wondered if I would be able to fit in. I knew I would miss my family and friends back home, but I just knew that Trinity Saint David was the place for me.  I was really excited about the course and focused on that as I left the life I knew behind me.

As I said in my previous blog, the staff and students I met during my first week (and ever since) were all really helpful and I felt accepted straight away. No one seemed to mind that I was not from Wales and in fact I was far from alone. Half of the students in my year were from England; there was even one from Russia. I also met another South African girl studying Primary Ed, which I’m still really excited about. Rather than being isolated, as I feared, my nationality and accent were excellent ice breakers.

My lectures were also something that I was really happy about. If I had stayed in South Africa I would have attended a university that was much larger. When I went to the open day I was lost in a sea of people in the lecture room. Here at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David I was literally a name, not a number, as the slogan suggests and by my first lecture my tutor knew my name. It helped that the lecturers were amazing. They just inspired me as soon as they started talking about the course. I knew that it would be easy to stay motivated with them as lecturers.

The student life at Trinity Saint David is just another reason I am happy I decided to live in Wales. I really enjoy going out with my friends, whether it’s to the cinema, shopping or going out at night, I know I’ll have a good time.

Obviously there are a lot of cultural differences to adjust to, South Africa can be quite dangerous at times, so you always have to be careful about going out at night and walking alone. During my first week here the University had police officers come to talk to students about safety and how to be secure. Just seeing a police officer made me feel really safe, but when they said that Carmarthenshire remained the safest place to live in both England and Wales I knew I had picked the right place.

I know I made the right choice when I decided to move to Wales to go to Trinity Saint David, not only have I made friends that feel like family, but I’ve also found a new home. I feel really safe living in Wales, especially Carmarthenshire, which was really important to me. I would advise any international students to consider the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.