As I was brainstorming for this blog, I – more times than I’ll admit – found myself totally stuck. I felt like I had to write about the greatest, most underrated “alternative” location that readers could go to and have a life changing experience. I put all sorts of pressure on myself to pick the right place. I scrolled through my photos, trying to justify place after place as the best alternative spot, but none of them seemed quite right. I define an alternative travel destination as one without tickets, lines, and crowds – a setting that allows you to soak in your surroundings. In short: a place that takes you on an adventure, while making you feel right at home.
I may be biased, but I think my university town of Aberystwyth is the best hidden gem in Wales. It’s hidden so well, it’s right in front you, and you still can’t pronounce it, can you? (I’m kidding, it took me months, think: Aber-wrist-with.) In this blog, I'd like to make sure you get a better idea of what Wales has to offer and why it is an untapped gem of the UK.
Wales is one of the most magical places in the world. While there are literally countless reasons to choose Wales as your UK study destination, I’m going to outline the top 5 reasons below!
During your time in the UK, it’s very likely that you will encounter memorable experiences that you’d like to treasure forever, perhaps on nights out with friends, or while traveling Britain and beyond. Oftentimes on vacations to unfamiliar places, we seek mementos, such as postcards or shirts, to remember our experiences by. However, your study abroad experience is much more than a vacation, and as such, you may be wondering if there are more engaging ways of documenting your experience. Here are three great ways to document your trip that don’t involve souvenirs:
Topics: Student Ambassador
We’re taught to use the buddy system the moment we start Kindergarten. Take a buddy to the bathroom. Take a buddy to the office. Here’s your field trip buddy. That’s your recess buddy. We have lab partners. We have PE dance class partners. We find a best friend. We find groups of friends. We go to dances and parties in pairs. We’re assigned a walking partner for high school graduation ceremonies. We’re assigned a college roommate. The list goes on.
Now – don’t get me wrong – I don’t disagree with the buddy system. I’m sure I’ll enforce it with my own kids someday. But I do think there are times in life that you should walk alone.
As we head into February, you may be beginning to get excited about the prospect of studying in the UK, and thoughts may have run through your head regarding what you should bring. If the excitement’s gotten the best of you, here’s five things you should consider adding to your packing list that you may not have thought of already:
Rich: having a great deal of money or assets OR plentiful and abundant
I left California thinking I was a well-rounded, well-travelled, rich (the second part of the definition) person. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Many of us create and collect our opinions, we determine what we value, and we decide who we want to spend our time with (as well as where we spend it) based on the environments we’re raised in. We – sometimes subconsciously – inherit these things from those that came before us: grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, friends, etc. It’s safe and comfortable to believe and continue living within the “familiar”, and I’ve learned that there’s really nothing wrong with that. However, those that do seek and find the opportunity to travel come to know richness much greater than material or monetary items can provide.
Most of us aim to study with thoughts of a future job in mind. One of the best parts of studying abroad is that it opens up many avenues of networking that can lead to new contacts and resources that can help your future self, whether it be in the job market or even just for some tips and tricks down the line. Here are some of the best ways to network during your studies in the UK!
When I realized that I would be studying in Wales, my father did what many parents do and found some books about Wales. We spent a while flipping through the books, trying to find information about Aberystwyth (Aber-wrist-with), where I'd planned to study, and enjoyed the various facts we stumbled into along the way. However, some of the most interesting facts about Wales are best learned by visiting in person. Here are some things I have learned about Wales from my time studying here:
Sometimes I forget how completely, and amazingly might I add, different England is from America. We may speak the same language (sort of), but there’s also so much that we don’t have in common. For example, while the holiday rush in the last two months of the year in the US is focused on Thanksgiving and Christmas, in the England it’s focused around Guy Fawkes Day, Remembrance Day and Christmas.
If you can imagine celebrating the US Independence day in November, then you have successfully imagined Guy Fawkes Day. On November 5th every year, and the days leading up to, a slew of fireworks are set off all day long all around England in celebration of Guy Fawkes day. It’s a strange experience as an American where I’m used to watching fireworks on a hot July day in sandals, a pair of shorts and some ice tea, whereas here I was in my full winter ensemble with a hot cocoa in hand.
Topics: British Traditions