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Class of 2014

Spotlight on: Bethan Williams

7 July 2014

“My time at Cardiff University has been the best three years of my life. I feel at home, I belong, and I met friends for life. Cardiff is a great university city because there is always something to do.” 

Meet Bethan, a journalism student who started her university life when she was just seventeen. 


Hi Bethan! Are you a budding journalist then?

I am a musician and that has always been my first love, but I knew I couldn’t study it. I had done a lot of writing and worked for my local radio station and journalism always fascinated me, I think it is so crucial for people to have a say and that journalists do such an important job, as storytellers and a watchdog for the public. I wanted to gain a critical eye and the course sounded like a prime way to do this. It offered varied modules, enabling me to specialise in my individual interests. Cardiff School of Journalism is world-renowned and I had some extremely talented professors that are highly recognised in their field.

You’re younger than typical university students, aren’t you?

I started university at just seventeen and actually completed the degree at nineteen (as my birthday is in June!).

Wow – you’ve got a year on everyone else then! Did this lead to any problems?

I didn’t want to be seen as different because of my age, which was a challenge at first. When I started university people sometimes referred to me as the ‘one that was seventeen’ because I was unable to go on any nights out. I was lucky to have a great group of friends that were happy to go to the Students’ Union though. I lived at home during my first year but during my year abroad I lived away and learnt how to be extremely independent. Work-wise, it has not been particularly challenging, but socially it has been. However, I am immensely proud of myself and I’m so glad that I went to university a year early.

What other challenges did you face?

My biggest challenge was during my Erasmus semester. I chose to study abroad at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus, Denmark. It was as amazing experience, but at just eighteen it was my first time living away from home. Living with twelve Danes and learning a new language and culture was terrifying at first. As part of the course, I also worked in Copenhagen, Brussels and Athens so it was rather scary but I am so proud of myself that I decided to go and grab the opportunity with both hands. It was such a valuable and enriching experience and now, I look back on it as one of the best parts of my degree – both academically and socially.

Do you have any fond first memories?

It would have to be the first welcome lecture I had. It was the first time in the Bute lecture theatre and I sat next to two lovely girls who later turned out to be two of my closest university friends. We often talk about the memory and laugh about it – we were so nervous and were all nearly an hour early!

What else did you get up to over the three years?

I joined a lot of societies and am always busy. I joined student media – both Xpress and Cardiff Union Television, and both were fantastic. I had a weekly radio show in the first year, and then in the second and third I was a newsreader and researcher for daytime shows. I also joined the Art Society and quite a few more.

You sound busy!

It was often difficult to manage to have time for everything. As a musician I was gigging a lot around Cardiff and the surrounding area with my band alongside my study. I also work for a local radio station so I didn’t really ever have much time to myself. Work came first however, especially in my final year. I was careful to be sure to try to work and gig less hours when busy essay/exam periods were coming up.

What are you future plans?

At the moment my plans for after I graduate are a little unclear. I will only be twenty so I feel no rush to get a job and join the ‘real world’. I would however, like to continue my education, as I don’t feel like I have finished learning just yet. I have applied for a number of masters in International Relations, Politics and European Governance but am not yet sure when or where I would like to do this. I would also love to do a PhD in the future.

I am currently traveling Scandinavia and I’m hoping to go to America later this summer. I love traveling, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures and try to do that as much as possible. I know that I would one day like to work in the field of either radio/TV news and political broadcasting or something to do with politics. During my Erasmus I got the opportunity to work in the European Parliament and have been a bit of an EU nerd ever since. I would like to make a difference, it sounds cliche but as long as I do that somehow I’ll be happy.

So.. graduation day is looming. How are you feeling?

I am really excited, actually. I have already bought my graduation dress and shoes which is rather unlike me! It will be great to share the celebrations of getting a First with my family and fellow students.

Do you have any tips for fellow students?

Enjoy it, embrace every moment and make the most of every opportunity you have. Cardiff is such a great city so make sure you see it and don’t just stay in the university ‘bubble’.