Hello! Bonjour! I am Devika and am here to share my experience of studying in the Cardiff University. I am from Kerala, India, (you can google it later) and am studying BA media, journalism and culture at the Cardiff university. I just completed my first year at the university and trust me when I say, it was amazing!!
Being an international student, Cardiff was both mentally and physically challenging for me. New country, new people, new culture, new cuisines, crazy weather, completely different education system… it felt like the beginning of a new life and it would not be wrong if I say, it really was a new life! I learnt something new every day, be it about the country or that interesting mandatory study material that leaves me thinking… Wales’s love of rugby, the eye-capturing forts, the variety of sweets, the difference in accents across the UK (one thing that surprised me the most). I’ve read, I’ve seen pictures on the internet, I’ve heard other people’s experiences but being in that space and experiencing it myself, was a whole different feeling.
I had a lot of expectations while coming to Cardiff. I wanted this journey to worth the sacrifice of staying away from my home and my country. Being from an extremely tropical environment, my first wish after coming here was to see snow! Kerala is a coastal area with an average temperature of 24°C so you won’t find any signs of snow in any aspect. My friends would show me pictures of snow in Cardiff from the previous years and I remember checking the snow alert every single day so that I don’t miss it.
To be honest, the first month of the university was more about adjusting to the new life than my studies. From getting used to the frequent showers, learning about new cultures, making friends from all across the world, adjusting to a whole new education system, enjoying the nightlife, gaining work experience, applying for jobs, being part of societies and yes, trying out new things that I might have never done! That’s what I loved about my whole university experience the most, the most unexpected things!
Food was the next challenge that awaited me. India is known as the ‘land of spices’, and for someone who is used to eating a plate full of spices, adjusting to English food was a really hard. Food played an important part in the whole process and I was a terrible cook in the beginning! But then, I started trying out my mom’s recipes. My mom would be on video call with me and I remember asking her every minute if this is how it looks because I had no idea!!
The first month was a struggle to survive. It was like starting life all over again from the very beginning, just that you are not a kid anymore. It took some time to figure out the things and I did end up making a lot of mistakes and learning from them. Even while going to the university, there was a time when I would continuously get lost, especially during my first week..haha.. every street seemed the exact same to me.. Google was a saviour in those times, just that it would end up showing the longest route!!
I am someone who believes that you have to come out of your comfort zone in order to grow and university was one such thing for me. My Cardiff journey was a roller coaster of emotions and experiences. As an individual, the journey has helped me grow in numerous aspects. Evolution, as I like to call it, is what this journey was! Coming to Cardiff was my dream and fulfilling that dream gave me hope. The best thing Cardiff has taught is to dream! To dream higher, to dream without limits! Because they do come true!