Hi, I’m Bronwen from https://generationtephra.wordpress.com/ and I’m coming to the end of my first year studying European Languages at Aberystwyth University.
Aberystwyth (Ab-er-ist-with) is a small seaside town on the coast of west Wales and, as I’ve learnt, not that many English people have ever heard of it and neither had I until I stumbled upon it by chance when I was in Year 12. I wanted to be able to study three languages simultaneously (even though most unis only let you study two) and the only universities that offered three language courses were in Wales.
Aberystwyth was the one that jumped out to me. The course had everything I was looking for (strong focus on grammar and real life use) and although it’s nowhere near being a Russell Group uni, it looked like an amazing place to study compared to the other places I had looked at.
So I made the seven hour car journey in September 2015 to see if it was as good in real life – it was everything I’d hoped for and more.
The local area was beautiful; the sun was shining, there were groups of people having bonfires on the beach and the locals all spoke to each other in Welsh. As a linguist, I absolutely fell in love with the place – so much so that I didn’t even bother applying anywhere else.
I have had the time of my life here.
Aberystwyth is the most laid-back, carefree town I have ever been in. Nobody bothers getting all dressed up for a night out, no one hesitates in approaching people to make friends and most importantly, Aberystwyth holds the record for the highest density of pubs in the entire UK. Nobody seems to feel that they have to put on a front for anybody either.
The only bad thing I can really say is that other than drinking, BBQs and hiking, there’s not a lot to do around here and we had a massive tornado a few months ago, which you can see here.
I surprised a lot of people when I told them that I was going to a Uni that isn’t exactly a high flyer in the league tables. I got 11 A’s and A*’s at GCSE and I did well enough in my A-levels to get into a top scoring uni but I just knew I wouldn’t have had the quality of life in somewhere like Newcastle or Sheffield that I have now. As for the really posh Unis, I knew that if I did get in, being broad Geordie, I’d stick out like a sore thumb.
My advice to everyone is to not rule places out if you’re a grade A student. Just because you’re bright does not mean that you have to go to Oxford or Cambridge. You’re going to be at University for at least 3 years so make sure that you go somewhere that cares for its students and gives you a great quality of life.
You will do so much better in your degree if you’re happy.