Exploring Wales: Settling as an exchange student


Now that I have settled in in Wales, there are some things that I feel are a priority in the first week of settling in at Swansea University. The first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Take a campus tour, explore your new neighborhood, and learn about the public transportation system. It’s also essential to get to know your new classmates and professors. Attend orientation events, join clubs or societies, and participate in extracurricular activities!

One of the culture shocks I experienced as an American living in Wales was the use of the Welsh language. While English is the primary language spoken in Wales, the country is actively trying to encourage the use of their original language. As a result, you will see Welsh written everywhere, but you won’t hear it spoken much among your classmates.

The education system in Wales may be different from what you are used to in the United States. For example, the grading system may be different, with a minimum passing grade of 40% on a scale of 100 points. It’s possible to score 100% on a test, but this is highly unlikely, and 70% becomes the “highest” a student usually gets. Additionally, there is more emphasis on independent learning and research.

In the first week, it’s also important to familiarize yourself with the resources available to you as an exchange student. Swansea University provides a variety of support services, including academic advisors, health services, and counseling services. Take the time to learn about these resources and how to access them if needed.

Another important aspect of settling in as an exchange student is the social aspect. Wales has a friendly and welcoming community, and there are many opportunities to meet people from all over the world. However, social interaction in Wales may be more reserved and formal, with more emphasis on using titles and surnames when addressing each other. Don’t be afraid to ask your classmates or professors about social norms in Wales to ensure that you are respecting their customs.

Additionally, take some time to check out nearby places you can visit on the weekends, such as hiking trails or national reserves. I went hiking at a nearby national reserve with some friends, and it was an awesome experience. Wales has some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the world, so take advantage of the opportunity to explore them while you’re here.

In conclusion, settling in as an exchange student in Wales can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to take the time to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings, academic system, and social norms. Keep an open mind and embrace the opportunity to learn and grow in a new environment. Remember to take advantage of the resources available to you, participate in extracurricular activities, and explore the beautiful natural landscapes that Wales has to offer.