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Study Full Time Degrees in Wales with Across The Pond

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Across the Pond from Maine, USA to Swansea, Wales

Swansea University has great programs rising in the national and international rankings making a degree from Swansea an increasingly good investment. Without Across the Pond, I would not have been able to secure such a great opportunity. With a selection of up to five universities to apply to and 100% chance of placement with at least one university, the applicant is basically guaranteed a placement at a British institution.

Overall Rating

6/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    4

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

A Questionable Experience to a Tolerant Ending

Upon arriving at Aberystwyth University I didn't realize I would enter into a culture shock for the frist two weeks. There was nothing familiar and when I walked into a cafe shop I was met with hesitation and a delayed greeting. There was nothing familiar and the food options were not ones of health or a decent substitute. If I wanted to experience home then I was going to have to cook it myself; this included chicken noodle soup. I thought at a global university different cultures would allow me to feel more a part of a global community, but instead my ethnic features stood out until I open my mouth and the American accent brought comfort. Some people in the town were the typical description of the Welsh, warm and friendly, while others demonstrated the closed off approach of a society that only mixes with its own kind. In between this confusion I looked to my first induction in the school of art to provide reprieve. I am a shy person in normal social situations, except when wrong is done, so to walk in and see everyone quite familiar with each other and no immediate hello to the new girl in the room, I questioned whether this decision was right. In America it is not 'normal' to go to the undergraduate university for your graduate program. In fact, one is encouraged to attend another university for graduate study to see the rest of the country and to engage with a different group of thinkers in order to learn new ways to solve problems. In my postgraduate program, at Aberystwyh University, this type of academic philosophy is not practiced, so when you are the lone wolf who did not attend undergraduate course here, you suddenly realize the large hill you will climb. The structure of classroom style is different, so the first term is all about adjustments and I was not used to leaning on my contemporaries for assistance with papers, which may have been my own selfish pride. When term two came around I decided to, for the first time, use the Aber bubble to my advantage. I began to associate with members from my social club instead of my contemporaries as it provided a good break between work and an actual social life. I am not pretentious and do not feel my head needs to remain stuck in the school of art bubble. Once I decided to explore my interests and began individualized research I found the tutelage a little more adaptable. Perhaps, unknowingly, I began to feel as though the 'outsider' title might be slowly escaping from my mind. By the end of term two, I felt a shedding of this mental block I had and in time to begin my dissertation. The dissertation experience was probably the best of the entire year. My supervisor was brilliant because he worked with me to find a rhythm of writing and editing that worked for me, instead of making me produce at a level that was comfortable for him. It was the first time I felt someone in my program believed in my thought and the potential of my writing. By the time I left I had individuals who didn't utter a word to me for months speaking to me as if they knew me their entire lives. I left Aberystwyth on a tolerant note. This little seaside town is in a world of its own, far removed from the hustle and bustle of a Birmingham, Liverpool and, especially, London. The town will force you to question your own culture, your beliefs and how you choose to reform those ideals or become further rooted is your choice. The right of choice is what makes the end of my UK postgraduate experience tolerable. I was able to find my the part of myself that I missed and a peace through the nothingness that surrounded me. There are some people who inspired me to be a better individual for myself and to, at least, be aware of how culture can influence decisions, which effect the global community. I may not have gotten the full experience of a UK university I have heard from others and I am fine with that. I do not feel my money was wasted because those I was involved with the most seemed a small version of standoff-ish. I left an impression on how the school could do better and they left an impression on me. If you need the full bells and whistles experience of the UK and university, I would not pick going to Aberystwyth because you will be disappointed. I would encourage you to pick a school in London, Liverpool or Glasgow if you need the city life and remnants of your hometown, if it is a largely populated city. In turn, if you want to find yourself, your limits and come out a more tolerant person yourself then give Aberystwyth a thought because everyone needs to be a bit more tolerant in the world.