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Vida de estudante em uma universidade galesa

The first steps of my journey from Curitiba to Aberystwyth with a detour in Detroit were tiresome, to say the least. But after hours and hours of swerving roads and seeing more sheep than I could’ve imagined, the little town of Aberystwyth was in sight.

After a pit stop at the hotel, Plas Antaron (a bit far from the centre of Aberystwyth but highly recommended — great service and rooms, excellent staff, and breakfast is cooked for you in the morning), I headed off to town to exchange everything I had on me into British Pounds at the local post office (the banks don’t exchange anything). Afterwards, I went to the accommodation office of Fferm Penglais, the area I had chosen, in order to pick up my keys and finalise the registration process. Everything was relatively simple, and more importantly, all staff members were communicative and open to help anyone in need. Even security helped me take my suitcases in!

As an incoming student, settling into your room should be a relaxing experience, and it genuinely was. After unpacking (most) of the necessities, meeting and getting to know the flatmates you’re going to be living with is the next exciting thing.

The Welcome Ceremony for International Students occurred the day after, with an introduction and speech explaining everything that was required for international students. The information given ranged from police registration forms to visa regulations, and accommodation questions to tuition inquiries. (If you get the golden ticket within the folder and hand-outs that you receive, you’ll receive a small prize at the end like I did!) A bus tour was offered for all international students shortly afterwards and got to have a feel as to the size of Aberystwyth and what it had to offer. The views are breath-taking and I recommend visiting Constitutional Hill, the Bluebell Trail in April, the incline on the road between Pentre Jane Morgan and Fferm Penglais, the lighthouse, and the path from Aberystwyth to Borth.

For the first few weeks, the difficulty lied in finding the right places to shop for food. There’s Tesco which delivers to your front door, Morrison’s that has a wide variety of almost everything imaginable, Iceland with just frozen foods, and Lidl with their life-saver of a bakery. I decided to keep Tesco as my main place for food shopping, and leaving Morrison’s for the days in which I needed something very specific as their products are slightly more expensive. Also used Mayan’s Taxi Service if you need a cab, as it’s £3 to get to anywhere within Aberystwyth.

The first semester commenced smoothly with lectures and laboratory sessions varying from 25 to 300 students. Each professor was an expert in their own area, which made lectures quite interesting. In the end, by balancing endless lectures and extrenuating sessions at the library, with newly made friends, coffee, takeaway, going out drinking, and a bit of travelling, the semester couldn’t have ended any better with a week long trip to Berlin for the holidays. The only downside to this time of year is the weather. With the sun setting around 16:30 and rain pouring down while leaving lectures, the conditions were quite the mood dampener. Winter is coming; don’t ever take a sunny day for granted next semester!

The second semester consisted of a similar routine, but all in good fun. The only notable difference is that I started to work part-time by teaching English to foreigners. Although teaching English part-time didn’t interfere too much with lectures and exam periods, if you’re an undergraduate student, I recommend working as much as you can during your first year as your results for that year aren’t added into consideration for your overall degree. With only a 40% requirement to move onto the second year, it’s an advantage to consider if you’re looking for an additional source of income to cover for tuition fees.

As a general rule of thumb to students planning on studying at Aberystwyth University — no, it’s not a large town, and there aren’t an infinite list of things to do. No, the experience you’ll obtain here will probably be a little different than the expectations drawn from movies. But after a year of fully immersing yourself into everything Aberystwyth has to offer, I can bet you that you’ll be calling it your second home before you realise it. Look forward to the barbecues on the beach during the summer!

P.S. The sunsets at Aberystwyth are top-notch.

By Yugo Sato – estudante de bioquímica na Aberystwyth University, fluente em japonês, inglês e português e estagiário na gradeUP durante suas férias no Brasil.

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