Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Weekend in Wales

Before going to London, students at the University of Westminster could sign up for a series of activities called The Social Program.  This program had a list of different events for the students to attend, including weekend trips to: Wales, Oxford and Cotswold, Hampton Court Palace and the London Eye.  Through IFSA-Butler, there was a social networking site set up for all the students who would be studying at the University of Westminster during the Fall 2011 semester; so, we posted on the site to see who was signing up for The Social Program.  Luckily, my best friend, Rani, and I both signed up for the program and attended the events together.

Our first weekend of the Social Program was in Wales.  While in Wales, we went to the Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre and the Caerphilly Castle.   Both of which had breath-taking views.  Then, we checked into our hotel and got dinner in Swansea.  The city was so interesting because it had pieces of an ancient castle in the middle of the town!  We ate fish and chips at a local pub and went dancing after.  It was a great opportunity to meet students who also went to Westminster but did not live in the same housing units as Rani and I.  The next day, we drove through the Brecon Beacons National Park on the way to the Rhondda Valleys and the Big Pit Mining Museum.   The mine was one of the largest sources of jobs and caused severe unemployment when the mine closed.  We learned that some children as young as six would work in pitch-darkness in the coalmines.  There were small horses that would pull large buckets of coal through the mine, and canaries would warn miners of gas in the pit.  We got to walk through the coalmine and see exactly how coal was extracted and how supports were structured throughout the mine.  The visit to Big Pit was very educational, without actually seeing the horrendous conditions of the coalmine, it would have been hard to imagine the very unfortunate lives that those who worked in the coalmines had to endure.

After Big Pit, we visited Tintern Abbey in the Wye Valley, a romantic ruin that inspired William Wordsworth.  This Abbey had all of the valuables stolen from it and is merely a frame of outstanding architecture.

We headed back to London after Tintern Abbey and concluded a fun-filled weekend.  It was great to meet other students who we would see and become friends with throughout the semester, as well as, get a different cultural experience than London.

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