Living in Cardiff: An International Student’s perspective

June 15, 2015

Cardiff is a city with something for everyone. It’s friendly and easy to get around, and one of the most desirable student cities in the UK*.

Gustavo Alexandre Wobeto studied BA Computer Animation with us in 2013 and tells us about his experience living in Cardiff!

Cardiff has a vibrant arts scene, great nightlife, history, culture, top sporting venues, fantastic shopping – and that’s just for starters. Cardiff has everything you’d expect to find in a major city and a bit more, so you’ll never get tired of discovering new things!

Image of Gustavo Cardiff is also home to our ATRiuM building, which provides a base for many creative disciplines, right in the heart of the city centre and is a short train journey to our campuses in Treforest, Glyntaff, Caerleon and Newport City.

Cardiff: Key facts

Location: Glamorgan, South Wales
Population: 447,287 (2011 Census)
Famous for: The Senedd building (home of the National Assembly of Wales), the Millennium Stadium, watersports, BBC Wales, rugby, football, coal mining, castles
Famous Cardiff people: Roald Dahl (author), Tanni Grey-Thompson (11-time Paralympic gold medallist), Craig Bellamy, Gareth Bale and Ryan Giggs (footballers), Frank Whitcombe and Colin Dixon (rugby players)
Cardiff musicians: Shakin’ Stevens, Shirley Bassey, Catatonia, Super Furry Animals, Charlotte Church, Ivor Novello
Major football teams: Cardiff City FC (and several smaller clubs too)
Major rugby teams: Cardiff Blues, Cardiff RFC, Glamorgan Wanderers RFC (Welsh Rugby Union Premiership) and Cardiff Demons and UWIC Rugby League
Closest airports: Cardiff International Airport, Bristol International Airport
Train to London takes: 2 hours direct
Train to Edinburgh takes: From 6 hours 20 minutes (with changes)

The vast majority of people in Wales speak English as a first language – but many also speak Welsh, and you’ll often see Welsh translations in Cardiff. Click here to find out more about the Welsh language and learn some Welsh phrases!

A USW Student Insight
Gustavo Wobeto, is an international student studying BA Computer Animation at the ATRium under the Brazilian ‘Science without Borders’ scheme. Gustavo has provided us with an insight into his experience living in Cardiff.

What is your favourite Welsh phrase?
Tîm rygbi Cymru yw’r gorau! – ‘The Welsh rugby team is the best!’

Where can I find out what’s on in Cardiff?

I normally check out websites like Visit Cardiff and Whats on Cardiff and keep an eye on the University and the Student Union groups on Facebook – they can be really helpful about what’s happening.

What’s the best way to get around the city?

The city centre is very concentrated so you can have most things you need in walking distance.

What’s the best way to spend a cultural evening in Cardiff?

I enjoy going to the Millennium Centre – and there are also concerts at Motorpoint Arena and great dancing in a few pubs during the week. There’s always something cultural to do in Cardiff.

What’s the best way to spend a sunny weekend in Cardiff?

Cardiff Castle is great when the sun’s shining, but I have to say that Cardiff Bay is the place to be on a sunny Saturday – great shops, tourist attractions, and the best part is the great view.

What’s the best way to spend a rainy weekend in Cardiff?
Go to the National Museum Cardiff. It has a great range of art and natural history pieces, and all for free!

What’s your top restaurant in Cardiff (with student-friendly prices)?

Being Brazilian, I recommend Viva Brazil. It’s a great Brazilian-style steak house with a good price for lunch.

What’s your favourite bar or pub in Cardiff?
There are lots of good options – Gwdihŵ, The Moon Club, Metros, The Waterguard in Cardiff Bay. The best student prices are usually at JD Wetherspoon pubs – my favourite of those is The Prince of Wales on Mary Street.

Where’s the best place for sport in Cardiff (watching or playing)?

If you want to play sport, there are lots of different options all over the city such as tennis, football, climbing, rugby of course, and even a dry slope for skiing and snowboarding at the Cardiff Ski and Snowboard Centre. But yes – in terms of watching, make sure you go to the Millennium Stadium and watch the Welsh rugby team – preferably playing against England!

Where’s the best place to go shopping?

St David’s Centre shopping mall. It’s really big with all kinds of shops, and even if you don’t find what you need within the shopping centre, it is situated in the city centre and close to lots of other shops on Queen Street.

What’s your top tip for getting a student discount or bargain?

For those who like going to the cinema, the BAFTA Wales membership card lets you watch as many films as you like for free in lots of cinemas most days of the week, and with discounts at other times. It gets you invites to preview screenings and special events, and deals at other places around Wales like shops and cafés and hotels… and it only costs £35 for the whole year.

What’s your number one Cardiff experience… the one you’d tell your grandchildren about?

Without a doubt, all the friendships I’ve made here. Cardiff is a very welcoming city and the people here are really nice, and I think that’s the reason why so many international students come to Cardiff. I have lots of good friends from all over the world here and they’re exactly what I’ll be telling my grandchildren about.

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