Nathalia Lawen grew up with picturesque vistas of her home country The Seychelles. The ocean was her backyard; its waves soothed and inspired her.
It’s hard to beat this – but it didn’t take long for Aberystwyth University (AU), a stone’s throw away from the scenic coastline of Cardigan Bay, to remind her of home.
“Aberystwyth is the gem of Wales!” says the BSc Economics and Climate Change student. “You have everything you need at a walking distance plus you get a scenic view of the ocean and the sunsets are to die for”.
Nestled between the charming Victorian seafront and the lush greenery of the Cambrian Mountains, AU offers a culturally enriching experience for international students. Often referred to as the “Culture Capital of Wales,” Aberystwyth boasts the largest Arts Centre in Wales and is famous amongst enthusiasts and connoisseurs across the arts.
Inspiration and connecting with your peers are commonplace in Aberystwyth. Mingle as you walk, jog or ride along the sweeping two-kilometre promenade. Spot some dolphins from the three beautiful beaches: North Beach (designated as a blue flag), South Beach and Tan-Y-Bwlch Beach and watch the sunset with a small fire or BBQ. Or join hiking and walking groups to make the most of the beautiful countryside.
Life on campus is just as dynamic. Otar Davitaia, who completed a bachelor’s in law (LLB) in Aberystwyth and now pursuing a PhD here, has made new friends and learned about different life experiences from joining societies and socialising as much as possible. “During my bachelor’s, I was part of a society where I took part in different plays as an actor and even had a wonderful opportunity to direct a play,” the Georgian shares. “AU has a wide range of clubs and societies that cover many different interests. They are a wonderful way to find new friends.”
Excellence in teaching and support
The university holds dozens of awards and accolades for its remarkable teaching quality and student experience. It is #1 in the UK for teaching quality and student experience, according to The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021.
“It ranked second in the UK on both measures in 2019 and has been the top Welsh university for student satisfaction for five successive years,” comments the publication. “It is rare for a university to achieve this double success in student satisfaction scores … It’s not just the students who think the teaching is good; the university was awarded gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework. Its panel found ‘outstanding levels of stretch’ ensuring that all students were significantly challenged to achieve their full potential.”
In 2022, AU is top three in the UK for the subject of Agriculture (Good University Guide, The Times and Sunday Times 2022), top five overall in the UK for the subject of Agriculture & Forestry (The Guardian League Table 2022), and top 10 in the UK for Student Experience and Teaching Quality for the subject of Animal Science (Good University Guide, The Times and Sunday Times 2022).
These remarkable achievements have successfully drawn more talented students to AU, including BSc Veterinary Biosciences and MRes Parasite Control student Abbey Chan. When asked what she has enjoyed most about her programmes, the Hong Konger highlighted the immense support she’s received. “I have been incredibly lucky that I had very supportive and encouraging tutors during my courses, and the connections I made with my lecturers made me enjoy the courses a lot more and overcome my shyness when it came to asking questions about the materials taught,” she says.
Support from AU comes in many forms, including peer guides and mentors, wellbeing services, careers support and financial aid. In terms of scholarships, Aberystwyth University offers the incredibly generous and unique International Accommodation Award – giving recipients free accommodation for every year of their studies. International undergraduates and postgraduates can apply for the award, which is the only kind offered by a UK university and worth up to £4,000 pounds per year of study.
AU prides itself on the wide range of services and initiatives to help students make the most of their time at university and to maximise their opportunities for life after graduation. To achieve this, the Aberystwyth Business School focuses on friendly, informal relationships between staff and students and an emphasis on employability throughout the course. One of the advantages of Aberystwyth is that you will easily make personal contact with members of staff, who are always ready and willing to help out with any issue you may encounter during your studies,” says Professor Andrew Thomas, Head of Aberystwyth Business School. “Aberystwyth Business School offers you the opportunity to study in a school which combines an international academic reputation with a friendly, welcoming and hospitable atmosphere.”
Over at the Department of International Politics, the first of its kind in the world, innovative teaching has always taken centre stage. It was the first in the UK to run crisis simulations to connect classroom learning to the real-world complexities of international politics. The annual event is the most popular event in any InterPol student‘s academic year.
Students can join the Parliamentary Placement Scheme as well. For four to six weeks during summer, they will gain valuable experience working alongside an MP (House of Commons, Westminster) or an AM (Welsh Assembly, Cardiff). They write reports and speeches, undertake research projects, and respond to constituency issues.
Whichever route you choose, AU is your place to study, explore and grow. To find out more about AU and hear what students from your country have to say, click here. To contact a university representative, click here.