Mark Llangco - 5 November 2014

Cardiff – the city and the university – has given me these joys over the past few years: 


1. An opportunity to engage

Cardiff gives international students a space to engage with ‘the Other’. I had the pleasure of meeting postgraduates from all over the world in my graduate classes at the School of Social Sciences and training workshops delivered by the University Graduate College. It was an opportunity to be ‘at home in the world’. This year, I am sharing a flat with an Italian researching innovation, a Mexican doing engineering, and a Brit doing astrophysics.


2. A place to learn and teach

One of the key strengths of the Cardiff School of Social Sciences is presence of a critical mass of UK’s top-notch social scientists. The modules under the Social Science Research Methods programme were taught by leading experts in both quantitative and qualitative social research. In 2012-13, I took the task of being a graduate teaching assistant for the Year 1 and Year 2 undergraduate module on research methods. Our responsibility was to introduce sociology, education and criminology students on the value of and skills in computer-aided analysis of quantitative (i.e. SPSS) and qualitative data (i.e. NVivo).




3. A space to walk

At Cardiff, all the key places such as the city centre, the National Museum, and theatres are within walking distances. But what I particularly enjoy the most, especially in balancing the demands of an academic life, are the morning and afternoon walks at Bute or Roath Park. Through these green spaces I learned solitude and that literally, life can be a walk in the park.



Polina Baum - 21 February 2014

The weather here (which often seems to be the main thing people talk about!) is different from my country (Israel), although this change is sometimes refreshing. As with everything in life, I got used to the weather! After settling in private accommodation, I started attending various induction events aimed at international students, and later on events from the School of Social Sciences. During my initial stay, I got to know Cardiff from different angles by walking a lot from place to place and by taking a couple of tours with the Graduate Centre. I went to see the main attractions of Cardiff, which include Cardiff Bay, Cardiff Castle, St. Fagans outdoors Museum, the National Museum, and many other amazing places. After over a year and a half in Cardiff, I still discover new things and new places to go!


   "On the Voyage" by Conghua Xue - 17 March 2008 

The story began - on the 22nd floor of the Pan Pacific.  A fine day, ships were crawling through waves in the distance. The landscape was wonderful! Yet, the wonderland didn't suggest my frame of mind. While the lift was descending, Goldbach’s Conjecture started hovering...

‘Welcome...Welcome…Welcome’! Smiling faces, warm greetings, handshakes and hugs… Tiredness, uncertainty and strangeness were gone with the wind. The key and the keyboard woke me up from daydreaming. A new life began…

In terms of resources, Cardiff has a ‘huge deep pocket’. ‘Reading, reading and reading’ … there is no other way round. I understood, and the five of us deeply understood… Sagged as we loaded, and zigzagged as we proceeded.  Wow we made it!

Baptised by ‘force majeure’, we made it - for the first leg. Thanks to collective efforts and firm faith... We celebrate … we drink. We try different brands, but we are not getting drunk. We drink…

Living in this city with heritage and ambition, we are not alone. There are so many people that we need to appreciate. There are so many things that are worth treasuring. Escorted by the SIRC, Nippon Foundation and indebted to their love, we are sailing…we are sailing…

Annotations:  I. Goldbach's Conjecture: is one of the oldest unsolved problems in number theory and in all of mathematics. II. Key and keyboard: ‘Key’ means key for the SIRC; ‘Keyboard’ implies the computer assigned for me. III. Force majeure: French for ‘greater force’, is a common clause in the contracts of maritime laws.

    "Life in Cardiff - My Second Spring" by Mohab Abou-Elkawam - May 2007 

Coming from the predominantly sunny Egypt…..I welcomed the sunny start of my second spring in Cardiff. It is now my chance to melt the glue from my chair and start going out to embrace the beauty of Cardiff and Wales in the spring. My family welcomed the move as I was mainly busy the last year trying to explore the literature of the social sciences which was new to me…I confess that now I feel much better. Wondering about the colourful gardens in Cardiff recalled to my mind the long forgotten sonnets of Shakespeare that I studied in my Scottish school back home more than three decades ago…The Darling buds of May …..Well I must admit that I fell in love with the daffodils at first sight!

Life in Cardiff allowed me also not to get detached from my greatest love ever…the sea…I can’t miss to go every week and sit beside the calm waters of Cardiff bay…watching some of the aquatic activities or just breathing the smell of the Ocean that I dearly miss. I suppose being able to come close to the Ocean whenever I need is one great incentive that boosts my motivation in my research and my life here in Cardiff.

I started some of my research related field study a couple of months ago in London….However now I will start to pursue collecting data from some of the Welsh ports…this would allow me to travel more around Wales in this beautiful and blossoming time of the year…I confess ...yet again…that I am enjoying not only my research but also the intellectual change it brings to my way of thinking about life around me. With time passing I am getting more sure about the aims and objectives of my research….this allows me to feel more comfortable and to try to socialise more with the growing fantastic group of the Nippon Fellows in SIRC…..I wish all of them the best of success and urge them to hold tight to the ties that we have created here in Cardiff…as they should last for a life time ahead. 

   "When You Want It Wet and Academic" by Nelson Turgo - 17 November 2006

Before coming to this charming city of falling leaves and wet pavement, Cardiff seemed like Macondo to me – that fabled city of windy houses and one hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The city was an illusion, a ghost-like pigment of my imagination. Never did it come to me – even when I indulge in endless fantasy production – that one day, I would be among its denizens, comfortably trapped in one of its colourful row houses, looking out the window and feeling the cold air in my face.

Far from the madding crowd that is London, Cardiff is both a sanctuary and a refuge. It is most appealing to contemplative soul. Its student life is both exhilarating and overwhelming. The parade of faces in the morning excites me no end. The cold weather unnerves me but gives me a sense of wonder: is Cardiff a city of dreams? Or a space to feel the pulse of life? Or maybe that sense of old and new where old that is solid melts into air? The answer could be all. Or it could be blowing in the wind.

But studying in Cardiff is to put it simply refreshing. I like the laidback atmosphere and the provincial air that it exudes. Being lost in the myriad of faces could be a disenchanting experience but not in Cardiff. I love long walks and Cardiff has served it to me on a silver platter. And what a walk! Down Park Place to the City Centre – where images converge, where all that matters is seen and felt. Academic life is daunting. Books to be read look sinister. Oftentimes, confronted by books borrowed from the Bute Library and the Social Studies Library, I could not get over the feeling of awe: so many books to read, so little time. But believe me, I am enjoying what I am doing. You see, I am your regular guy. I do more than read and walk. I dream, drink coffee, go to the gym, wash my dishes, and go to Lidl for my post modern therapy: hunting for the cheapest grocery item.

I love Cardiff. It is both academic and wet.

  Lijun Tang - 24 October 2004

Cardiff is a small, but beautiful and colourful city. It is a modern city, while at the same time, it homes many traditional architectures, historical treasures, and natural gardens and parks as well.

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