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Life in Cardiff University – Jin Hyun’s Journey from Dublin High School to Welsh Castles

February 11, 2016

IMG_4609CARDIFF, UK–As I peered out of my airplane window, the only words my mind could conjure up were “how did I get here?”. There was no bitterness behind my thoughts; only happy confusion. I grew up in Dublin, California and moved to New York shortly after my high school graduation, and then all of the sudden there I was; watching the sun rising over the city of London as the plane began its descent to Heathrow.

I chose Cardiff University because of its location, reputation, and affordability. The university is located at the center of a thriving city but also footsteps away from castles, fields, and forests. The school’s journalism course was named the best in the UK and the institution belongs to an exclusive group of universities called the Russell Group (often called the UK equivalent of the US Ivy Leagues). Films and television series such as Doctor Who and Sherlock are being filmed on campus, making it easy to run into actors from these shows from time to time.

When I received my unconditional acceptance to Cardiff University along with the International Dean’s Scholarship, I wasn’t completely sure whether or not I would accept the offer. Going to Cardiff would mean abandoning all of the classic American college rites of passage I’ve dreamt of all my life. But in the name of being spontaneous, I made the decision to move to Britain.


My cosy dorm room

The first day of moving into accommodations was probably the strangest day of all. Making awkward small talk with my flat mates, not knowing at that time that these boys would soon become like brothers to me. As I unpacked my bags in my small but cozy, private ensuite room, it had finally hit me that I was about to begin a new chapter in my life.

The coursework load is fairly light, I have one essay assignment and one exam for every course per semester and attend 4 lectures and 4 seminars per week. The lectures are given by published journalists who have been interviewed by news stations such as the BBC. Studying in Cardiff has allowed me to study journalism and international politics through a whole different perspective, the experience has been unlike anything I could have gotten in the states.

IMG_4306As I begin my second semester, I now know for certain that Cardiff is the right place for me. My new life includes castles, fancy balls, and foreign accents, all while studying my two favorite subjects – journalism and politics- at a prestigious university. After lectures I can travel to Oxford, London, Bath, or Dublin (Ireland) by hopping on a bus or ferry. On my weekends I can enjoy my new-found hobbies such as horse riding, hosting a radio talk show, and working as a barista at the local coffee shop.

To be completely honest with you, studying abroad has been a lot more challenging than I anticipated. I’m over 5,000 miles from where I grew up and over 3,000 miles from my family. Being multiple time zones away from friends and my parents have made it difficult to keep in touch and I get very nostalgic at times. But to be even more honest with you, I don’t regret a single thing.

For any Dublin High School student considering earning a degree abroad, don’t hesitate to contact me, I would love to lend a helping hand; more information is available here. Studying abroad was the right choice for me and it could be the same for you.

I traded in Friday night football games for rugby matches, sororities for societies, and skyscrapers for castles and I’m loving every second of it.


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