Cultural Opportunities at Cardiff University
In an ever-fast-moving world, where the perception of distances is becoming shorter and shorter, understanding the different cultures becomes crucial and benefits us in many ways.
First of all, the term culture means "the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time" (from dictionary.cambridge.org). When talking about culture, we can include terms such as language, religion, values, traditions, food, clothes, etc.
"Culture" is a broad topic and it is intrinsically related to the geography and economy of a place. Culture is something that changes over time, and people change their culture or integrate other cultural aspects into their own.
Our University is one of the most culturally diverse University in the UK. People from over 100 countries are part of the University population (students and staff). It creates a truly international environment and promotes diversity. Personally, this is one of the reasons I chose to study at Cardiff University.
Opportunities in Cardiff
Joining societies is one of the best ways to meet new people, get to know a new culture or get in contact with people from your own country. Here at Cardiff University, there are more than 200 societies, so you will surely find something you that interests you. Most of the societies organise something special for their traditional holidays and usually have social events with their local food! You can even start your own society if you cannot find what you are looking for. It is fairly simple; all you need is 20 people willing to be part of the Society. You can find all the Societies using the CU link.
Figure 1 Global Week: Dance Festival
As the name says, Global Week is a week dedicated to the different nations, where the various societies present their country, its traditions, clothes, values, food (is always welcomed!), etc. Events such as “Global Village”, “Dance festival” and “Global Opportunities fair” take place during this week. So, it is worth attending!
Global Village gives you a chance to get to know different cultures and nationalities through dedicated workshops, food, drinks and performances. It is one of the most attended events at CU as you get to experience the world within the safe walls of the University.
Follow the link to get more info about the event (link).
Languages for all
Learning a new language will allow you to absorb a new culture more easily. Personally, languages are one of my main passions as they give me not just a way of communicating but also a privileged way of viewing the world. Knowing some of the main languages makes me feel more secure when I am travelling to different countries.
The Languages for All school offers free language courses for students enrolled on a degree at CU. Most of the courses start at 5 or 7 p.m., so it means you can attend them after your lectures (no excuse here!). There are many options to choose from, like Spanish, Italian, French, Mandarin, Japanese, Arabic, German, etc…
Welsh for all
As you may have assumed, the Welsh for All programme aims to promote the Welsh language and the local culture between the university’s students. As with the Languages for All courses, taking the Welsh course is also completely free, and you can easily find a time slot that best fits around your studies.
So, if you want to learn some Welsh, check this link for more info (link).
Language Exchange Scheme
The Languages Exchange scheme enables you to find a partner with whom you can practice the language you are interested in. Usually, the people participating are learning about the other person’s culture as well as have the opportunity to practice with a native speaker. It is a “conversation exchange” where both sides learn from each other and have the opportunity to share their experiences.
It is similar to the Language Exchange Scheme but in a more relaxed environment. It is a casual gathering of people from different countries who meet at I Want to Ride My Bike Café once a week and talk about culture, customs and their interests. It is organised by the Languages for All school and the Erasmus society.
For more information join the Language Café group (link).
Cardiff Fringe festival
It an annual event organised by the Guild of Societies to promote and celebrate the different societies at Cardiff University. It is a week of art, music, culture and dance. The past festival included Variety Performance, Anime Screening, Music Showcase, etc. The main event of the week is Go Global.
You can get more information about the festival at this link.
Go Global is part of the events held during the Fringe festival and celebrates the different cultures through music, dance, theatre performance and more.
You can get more information about the event at the (link).
Opportunities offered by the University to travel abroad
Travelling is a great way to get to know the cultures, custom’s, values and other characteristics of a place and its people, but travelling is not for everyone as it requires a lot of planning, organising and a brave heart as it involves getting out of your comfort zone, meeting new people, staying in an unfamiliar place, etc. At the beginning, it may seem like something scary; however, I think it helps you grow up, be more tolerant and get to know yourself better.
Cardiff University offers a range of opportunities to its students and supports them throughout their stay abroad.
The Global Opportunities team gives students the chance to study, work or volunteer aboard as part of their degree or on a summer programme. It is a great way to get to know a culture, learn a language, travel and make friends. There is a range of funding available, a variety of places to choose from and a wide range of opportunities. All you have to do is to get in contact with the Global Opportunities team (link) or participate in one of their events.
Global Opportunities is a great way to get to know more about the opportunities available to you to enjoy a period abroad (link). In addition to this, the Global Opportunities team offers you support with and throughout your stay aboard. So be sure that someone will be there for you in case you need support.
European Exchange Programme (Erasmus+)
Erasmus+ is an EU programme that aims to support people in education, training, youth and sport in Europe. The best thing about the programme is that it is available to not just European students, but also to people from other countries (i.e. international students can apply for it too). You can choose to study, do an internship or volunteer also outside Europe (i.e. with the partner countries).
As part of the scheme, participating individuals will get a monthly grant (amount depends on the living costs of the country you want to travel to, what you will be doing, etc.). It is a great opportunity for the students to experience a new culture and immerge directly into it. Check the Erasmus programme website to find eligibility criteria (link).
Another scheme worth checking is the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degrees (link).
International Exchange Programme
The International Exchange Programme enables you to study or do research abroad with a partner university. Cardiff University is in partnership with over 80 institutions in countries such as USA, Canada, Asia, Australia, South America, China, New Zeeland, Republic of Korea, Japan, etc.
Following this link, you can find all the partner institutions and information on how to apply for the programme (link).
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