A Crash Course on Wales
If you are geographically challenged like myself no worries, I have you covered (in all honesty I had little knowledge of my new home until about five minutes ago, ha!).
The UK is comprised of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. When I fly in, I will be arriving in London, England and will then be shuttled west to Cardiff. Cardiff is the capital of Wales and is where I will be attending school for my five months abroad. Wales itself has geography of all sorts including mountain ranges, bays and plains. One spot along the coast is Cardiff Bay (a definite destination point on any resident!).
Although Welsh is the native language of Wales, English quickly took over during the 16th century as English law replaced Welsh law. Although Welsh isn’t as prevalent as it used to be, the people of Wales continue to work to keep the language alive by having both English and Welsh translations on literally everything. Visiting students are able to take a course in learning Welsh language. Although I didn’t embark on that venture, I am taking a course on the mythology and folklore to learn more about the country and its past. Mythology and Celtic culture is a huge component of Welsh history and can be used to help explain some of its traditions and symbols.
One landmark that stands out is Cardiff Castle. This castle is located right near city center, only 20 minutes from campus, and is an iconic part of Cardiff’s history. Actually, castles are iconic to Wales in general! As for sports, rugby is the hot topic here. With Millennium Stadium located right in Cardiff, game-days get the city hopping with street vendors and fans. At the games, people can often be seen wearing leeks and daffodils – symbols native to Wales. However, the more iconic image for Wales is the Red Dragon that resides on their flag.
Are any of you Dr. Who fans? Then you would be delighted to hear that the BBC studios is not only located in Cardiff, but that scenes for Dr. Who are recorded in Cardiff and right on Cardiff University’s campus. If you look close enough in some of the buildings you may recognize a corridor or two from the show! The Dr. Who experience is an attraction located in Cardiff that is sure to please any and all fans. Camera crews can be spotted parked along campus for days of filming. Who knows, maybe you’ll get to spot the scene yourself!
Now that you have a crash course of the culture, go ahead and explore even more for yourself! Since this could possibly be your home for a semester (or even a year) begin to create your destination hot-spot while living in a place full of culture, history and home to the iconic red dragon!