Once you’ve set your mind on studying abroad, you’ll delve straight in to those first stages of research and find you are bombarded with choices of where you want to go…
Universities, academies, colleges, trade schools – further education institutes come in all shapes and sizes. You can choose if you want big-city living or quiet, tranquil countryside; campus college or dispersed.
One of the big decisions to consider is the size of the prospective institution. Some prefer big-hitters with a huge student body that takes over the town, while others think a smaller, more intimate university is the perfect fit for them.
While there’s never a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach for these decisions – that would be too simple – the benefits of small universities, particularly for international students, can be significant.
A common concern for those leaving their home country, often for the first time, is how they will integrate or ‘fit-in’ with their new university home. To ease this concern, an institution that makes you feel welcome in your new home, while also giving you time to explore a brand-new culture, could be exactly what you need. Many small universities are able to provide this personalised experience.
And some of them, such as the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), go above and beyond to ensure your time with them is one of great memories and friendship – as well as learning, of course!
Right from day one, UWTSD works to ensure you feel welcome in their tightknit Welsh community.
A new culture can be dauting, but don’t worry – staff and students at UWTSD are there to make sure you don’t face it alone. The orientation programme offered in the first few weeks will prove invaluable when you’re settling in and scoping the place out. It’s also a fantastic way to make new friends, giving you the chance to mingle with old and new students alike.
With an introduction to the university and a brief on studying in the UK, the support staff work to ease any anxiety or culture shock you might be feeling. They also help you out with any visa issues you may need to handle, and run you through the registration process to get you up and running.
Help is also close hand for all those crucial necessities that can be so easily forgotten in the excitement of the move – like registering with a local doctor or setting up a bank account.
Orientation can be a real bonding experience and it certainly won’t be long before you realise everyone else is going through the same thing.
UWTSD is a community, and staff and students work to make sure you feel a part of that right away. The university ranked fourth in the UK for personal relationships with staff, according to the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2017. It also ranked first out of 45 institutions for personal tutors.
This tailored approach to learning means that faculty know who you are and are aware of your individual needs and concerns. As the Teaching Excellence Framework points out, UWTSD’s small class sizes and staff attention “ensure that students are effectively supported and are challenged to achieve their full potential.”
As they cover both academic and personal aspects of development, the fun and sense of community doesn’t end after orientation. The university also offers a cultural programme for international students that gives you the opportunity to get to know the beauty and wonder of the stunning Welsh culture and landscape.
Through a variety of excursions, students can explore the surrounding area of Wales and England, accompanied by UWTSD staff to make sure you get the best out of your experience. Here, you can learn the historic and cultural background of your new home. Or, you could just chill on the beautiful sweeping beaches of the Gower Peninsula or enjoy a rugby match in Cardiff city centre.
While the university itself represents a warm and welcoming environment, the location in southern Wales has its own unique appeal that you can’t afford to miss when you’re in this part of the world. You can go from the buzzing cities of Cardiff and Swansea to some of the most impressive beaches in the world, or the rolling hills of the countryside in just a matter of minutes. Not to mention you’ve got the historic town of Bath just over the border in England, and London sits just a couple of hours away by train.
The cultural programme offered by UWTSD gives you the chance to take in all of these sites while mastering your way around, learning the idiosyncrasies of a new culture, and making lifelong friends along the way.
The warm welcome, the tightknit community and the endless opportunities for adventure sure left a lasting impression on Canadian Acting graduate, Kelsey Robertson.
“The cultural trips provided for international students were a huge bonus. It allowed students to interact with others who were not in your course, while exploring other beautiful parts of Wales,” she says.
“The university also offers events in the students’ union which assists in increasing the interaction among students, and this really helps to keep you busy and meet new people while you’re away from home.
“Spending the last year in wales and seeing the beautiful sights and meeting the wonderful people, makes me want to stay and continue my career in the UK.”