Ada Beltrán - Swansea, Regne Unit
My name is Ada Beltran and I did my mobility in Swansea, Wales, specifically at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (http://www.uwtsd.ac.uk). When I left, I was in my 3rd year (out of 4, in Barcelona) but British university degrees take 3 years. Their third year was the Final Project so I studied their second year.
Their university system is quite different. Classes weren’t theoretical, they simply presented the project to be done and you started working. You went to class but it was just a follow-up. You talked to the teacher, showed him your progress and that’s it. This was the case in most subjects, although there was some exception. We also worked in groups. Personally, I didn’t learn many new things, conceptually. However, it was a completely different experience as for way of working and culture, mainly. On Mondays there were no classes, it was just Tuesdays through Fridays.
The University itself was brilliant, really well-equipped. The classrooms had state-of-the-art equipment (Apple comuters, printers for all kinds of measures, inks, etc). There was a 24-hour classroom with computers and working tables. You only needed your student card, which you had from the very first day. With this card, you could print at a very low cost at the university. You only had to charge it with money, as if it was a credit card.
The communication with teachers was amazing. Whenever you had a doubt, you sent an email and they answered you back in hours. This really surprised me: they really cared about you, which is really nice.
The university also organized out-of-class workshops and anybody could attend them.
The students association was really active: they kept organizing trips for international students. We did a route throughout the coast, stopping at the best-known beaches. We also visited castles and other cities, both in Wales and England. We visitged Cardiff and Bath. So, if you are an active person, there was always some activity to do.
I stayed on-campus, at the so-called Townhill Campus. There were two possible campuses, but I stayed at the cheapest. I don’t recommend stanying there because it was a 30-minute walk from the University. When the weather was nice, there was no problem but it usually rained. On the way back, it was all uphill and the umbrella was no use because rain came from all sides. I would recommend a shared house, near the university. If you really want to meet people, stay on campus, but take into asccount that you will find dirty bathrooms and kitchens, noise and sometimes problems with pepole but also community, communication and party. There is a little bit of everything, but that’s what coexistence is all about.
The price of buses varied depending on the time. It was a little bit confusing. Sometimes I went to campus and it cost 2,20 pounds and some other times it cost 3,80 pounds. Buses are very useful there but it was an extra expense. However, it was necessary because of the bad weather.
All in all, I would say it has been a great experience and I would recommend everybody to make the most of this opportunity we have, since you grow as a person, learn many things, other ways of working and lifestyles.