Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Vaenthan Pirahaspathy. I am from Malaysia. I was born in a state in Malaysia called Selangor. I was brought up in the capital of the country, Kuala Lumpur. I completed my schooling and college in Kuala Lumpur. I am a true city boy!
What course are you studying?
I am currently enrolled in the final year of the BEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering course in the University of South Wales.
How did you find out about the University of South Wales?
Every year there is an education fair held in Kuala Lumpur organized by the British Council, whereby many universities in the UK come down to Malaysia to participate in the fair. In the year 2012 I attended the fair and had come across the University of South Wales booth (then University of Glamorgan), where I got to know a little about this university.
Why did you choose to study here?
I spoke to a lecturer from this University who was present in that particular education fair. He was very polite and patiently answered the numerous questions I had. He explained many things, which I needed to know as a foreign student intending to study in the UK. He also explained the fantastic atmosphere in this university and highlighted the quality of education provided in this university. He told me about the fantastic relationship that students have with the lecturers in this university and the high satisfaction levels amongst the students once they have completed their course. Besides that, I had also done further research about this university on my own. I was absolutely thrilled about the location of my campus, as I very much wanted to experience living away from the city. The fact that this university was ranked at no. 19 in the whole of UK for the mechanical engineering course in 2012 by the Times convinced me further as well. Besides, this university also has one of the lowest tuition fees for international students outside the EU.
Tell us about the course you are studying and how you find the lectures?
The course is very interesting. As I moved into the second and third year I gained a better understanding of the learning material being taught. The lecturers are devoted in completing the syllabus and tend to go out of the way to ensure that students have a firm grip in the understanding of the subject.
Tell us a bit more about studying at the University, what is it like?
The best part of the studying in this university is the interaction between the students, the lecturers and the staff of this university. Everyone seems to be very helpful. They do not hesitate to offer assistance especially when you are evidently scared or shy. During the first year of my study, my lecturers and the staff in this university helped me a lot to settle in comfortably.
Did you attend the International Welcome Week? If you did, would you recommend it to new students?
Yes I did and I sure will recommend it to new students. It definitely helps students settle in to a new life away from home as well as set up a platform for you to meet a whole lot of awesome people from all over the world. I enjoyed the Welsh night the most. That definitely has to be the best!
What are the facilities like at the University?
The recent developments in the library have been amazing. It is a very comfortable and modern looking place, which I find suitable to study and complete my assignments. The collection of books available in the library is also fantastic. Moreover the Students Union amazed me a lot. It is an amazing place to hangout and chill with friends. It has a very relaxing atmosphere with many eateries and its always fun to hangout there. I feel the university has also given a lot of emphasis on its sports center. The sports center is fully equipped for a wide range of sports activities from squash to 5 a side football and this definitely interests students a lot.
What have you enjoyed the most (Lecture, project, trip, particular moment etc)?
My mechanics lecturer in first year organized a trip to the Royal Mint. The trip was very interesting as we got a whole lot of knowledge about coins and medals. We learnt a lot whilst having a fun day out. It was very nice for the lecturer to organize this trip. I am also currently finding my dissertation project to be interesting. I am working on impact testing and composites which I am thrilled about as I get to be involved in a whole lot of hands-on experiments and tests.
What’s the most useful thing you have learnt?
I have definitely learnt to be more courageous and confident in everything and anything that I face in my life. Be it a tense situation or an elated moment, I tend to be more prepared for it.
What is the biggest difference between life in the UK and back home?
It had to be the society and the culture. I feel life here is more laid back and less tense compared to life back home. People are more open and friendly and are always with a smile!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to study in the UK?
Please do! The UK has been fantastic to me so far and there are plenty of good people around me and trust me you will get used to the weather, eventually! It is definitely a rejoicing experience and one you will never regret.
What do you do in your spare time? Have you joined any sports or social clubs?
I was in the photography club in my first year. Besides that I play a lot of badminton and use the gym often. I also hangout with my friends at the hub. Occasionally, we will watch a film in Cardiff.
What has been the social highlight or highlights?
Definitely Score night in the Basement in the Student Union. I meet many people there and I do have a good time. The music is good and the atmosphere is awesome!
How have you surprised yourself? For example, did you turn out to be really good at something you didn’t expect to be?
I never thought I would make many friends here. Being an international student, I was afraid I would be neglected most of the time, but I was definitely surprised. I gained many new friends here who are very dear to me. So, I guess I am really good at socializing!
What moment will you never forget?
My first day in this university. I had come from a very far place and travelled for a very long time. I couldn’t find my room in halls and I had to ask someone for help and that person was very kind and helpful. He even helped me carry my bags right to my doorstep. As a foreign student, I was afraid but somewhere at the back of my mind, I knew that I made the right decision to join this university.
Tell us something that you think would be useful for prospective students to know?
I believe prospective students should enquire about their course as much as they can. They should do a little research about the modules and subjects they will come across to make sure they know what they are in for to avoid dropping out of university midway through the course.
What will you miss the most about University when your course finishes?
The friends that I have made here and most of all my lecturers. They have been very helpful and university life would be very difficult without their guidance.