Name: Diana Tasheva
University: Cardiff University
City and country: Cardiff, Wales, UK
Major: Business Management
Year: 1 (just finished)
Cardiff University is well-known educational centre situated at the heart of Wales. The university is not only a high-quality educational provider, but it is also composed of breathtaking buildings. The main building, for instance, is an old historical monument, attracting all people passing by. Cardiff University is well-known for its contributions and is one of the top universities in the UK, being part of the famous Russell Group which is committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience. Besides, the university facilities are extremely up-to-date. The Business School, for example, is about to have a new building this September, equipped with the latest technologies, attracting even more students from all over the world.
The major I am studying is Business Management. It is a three-year course, which allows the students to either commence their Masters degree earlier or to have an internship or any other job faster than most of the students. It is an extremely flexible degree- I, for example, have changed my degree from Business Management to International Business without any problem after my first year, hoping to experience a semester abroad the second semester abroad during the next academic year. The modules I have been studying throughout the 1st year at uni were wither double or single modules. They were the following: Introduction to Accounting; Introduction to Economics; People in Organisations; Marketing; Statistical Analysis and Research Methods; Principles of Business Management; Business Environment. I was examined by both assignments and examinations in some modules, but I had examinations in all of them. Frankly speaking, the major is enthralling, the material is presented by means of lectures, tutorial groups and various presentations. If I have any questions, I can always post them on out Learning Central Notice Board, which is a special kind of peer to peer help, including the responses of the lecturers throughout the academic year. I would like to admit that even though I had no clear idea about the major and its modules, the way in which the information was given and the assistance of the staff was extremely helpful, but the studying process MUST be unremitting- never leave the studying for the last moment!!!
Difficulties experienced during the first year
Honestly speaking, the difficulties experienced during the first year are the most due to the fact that the life for a student changes so quickly and an adaptation process follows naturally. As anything completely new people undertake in life, the first year at uni abroad is full of challenges and unknown feeling so far. For me, the adaptation year was not easy at all in the beginning, because I had neither friends nor acquaintances in the completely new place and surroundings. However, the university accommodation that is specially designed for first-year students gave me the chance to live with girls the same age as me and not to be alone. I have been living with English girls and a philippino girl- we have been supporting and helping each other during the year. My native flatmates assisted me in improving my spoken English, getting used to the pronunciation of the English people. Being far from home and from the beloved is extremely hard, but thanks to the communication technologies development and thanks to the people from my course I stroke friendships with, the challenges and difficulties experienced due to the first-year seemed not so scarifying. Living alone, hundreds of kilometers from home is helpful and enriching experience that has definitely prepared me for the real life and the harsh difficulties lying in store for all of us.
University library & literature
The university libraries for all schools part of Cardiff University are provided with tones of useful information. As the libraries are equipped with lots of copies of the same books as well as with online versions, there is no student who can be left without the resources needed. The Business school library’s opening times are very flexible- it is working till late in the afternoon, but after its closure times, students can always continue studying in 2 of the learning centers that are in the vicinity of the main library. Those centers are working for 24 hours. In difference from Bulgaria, in the UK most of the students prefer studying in the libraries and learning centers, as they have a close access to books, internet there. Besides, those comfortable places are also provided with coffee machines, snacks, couches for relaxation and other ways allowing the students to recharge their batteries and keep on studying hard.
Career Center and professional development
The Career Center which is part of the University is located between the University and the Cardiff University Students Union building. It is a place, which is of extreme help to students, as it gives loads of information about the professional development. The always warm and welcoming staff working there is giving advice as well as showing the right places, where students can look for information. Besides, students have the chance to go the the Career centre with their ready Cirriculum Vitae which can be checked there and corrected before handing it in.
The Sports opportunities in the university are numerous. There is a Students Union building which is part of Cardiff University and it has lots of societies and sports clubs that are led by other students. The sports clubs are various- tennis, kickboxing, cheerleading and many more. The interests of all students are met by means of providing that wide range of sports facilities. Cardiff University has a special building that is located inside the biggest accommodation halls which is called Talybont Sports Centre. It is easy to access and at the same time pleasant way to combine studies with the so important exercises.
The capital of Wales- Cardiff is a vibrant city, full of disparate activities to do. As it is located by the ocean, Cardiff Bay is a perfect place to spend an afternoon with friends and have a pause from the studies. The bay is on a 20-minute walk from the city centre, which makes it easily accessible without the need to use public transportation. By the same token, Cardiff not a small city, but it is really compact at the same time. As everything a student needs is situated in the city centre, which is not far from the main University building, the students are able to save money from transportation. The capital of the so popular rugby often plays host to rugby matches. The atmosphere, therefore, is incredible. Besides, Cardiff is a city that has a castle in the middle of its city centre. Isn’t this amazing? Students make use of lots of discounts everywhere. Thus, there is a 3-year discount for the pass needed in the castle which makes it possible for every student to spend lovely afternoons in the beautiful gardens there. And last but not least, the parks around the city are so green that it is impossible not to be in love with the nature.
Cultural and social events
Cardiff city is popular with its cultural life with its museum, City Hall, Millenium Centre at Cardiff Bay and so many more. Well-to-known singers are regularly visiting the city. Besides, there are many cinemas, opera house at the city centre that everyone can enjoy. Students receive discounts and leaflets with concerts on a daily basis. Consequently, Cardiff is not only a sports capital, but also a cultural one, offering something foe everyone.
Cut the costs
Undoubtedly, UK as whole is much more expensive than Bulgaria, but when it comes to comparison within the island, Wales is relatively cheaper in comparison to England. There are shops that are suited to students such as Poundland, Aldi, Lidl and even some Eastern European shops which offer food from home such as Bulgarian cheese and meat. Besides, students receive discounts in nearly all kinds of shops on a regular basis which makes life easier and a lot more accessible.
Insurances and transport
Honestly speaking, I have never used the public transportation in Cardiff first because I enjoy walking and second- there is even no need to spend money on it. Everything a student needs is 20 to 30 minutes walk at the maximum. If someone is willing to use transportation, however, there are discounts when it comes to the trains and buses. Megabus is the cheapest bus which reaches nearly every part of the UK. For example, I have booked tickets to London for only 1 pound once.
Jobs and work permit
When it comes to jobs, there are plenty of opportunities, as well. Usually, students are permitted to work 20 hours a week. In Cardiff University, for instance, there is a JobShop centre which is working every day. Once you go there, you can sign up and the staff sends you job offers nearly every day via the e-mail. Therefore, if you have time and desire to work, there are always outstanding job offers, waiting for you to join them.