Skip to main content

Second yearStudent Life

A realistic week in the life of an international student – Thanksgiving edition

8 December 2023

Hello everyone. So, I wanted to show you all what a realistic week in life looks like as a 2nd year international university student. As an American, I celebrate Thanksgiving so I wanted to show you what my Thanksgiving week looks like at university, away from family. 


10:00 – Today I had a nice lie in as I don’t have to be at university until 14:00. I woke up and made myself a cup of tea. I got ready and then went to coffee with a friend of mine at Citizen Coffee. This coffee van is right outside Citizen church and makes the best holiday drinks, just in time for the Christmas season.

13:30 – I walked through town, passing the Christmas markets, to the Journalism building. My seminar for the day was over data journalism. This course is more practical, so we practise writing stories based on data sets.

15:00 – I ended my seminar but worked on two essays due before the Christmas holiday. It is a very busy time of year with deadlines however, it is very manageable.  Word of advice, begin your assignments early! It will save you so much time in the long run.  

17:00 – I packed up my things and walked from town to my house to grab some dinner before attending a leader’s night at my church. This event was full of student leaders planning events for the church for the new year. The church was lit up with Christmas trees

21:00 – I finished my night off with a cup of tea and watching “The Devil Wears Prada.” Would you believe me if I told you watching this film was part of my essay work for my film class? 



Tuesdays are quite the opposite of Mondays.

9:00 – I begin my day with a 9 am lecture on data journalism. I swiftly rushed out the door by 8:45 to barely make it in time. Instead of going home between lectures, I spend my day in the journalism building, getting ahead of uni work.

11:00 – I budget lunch out for Tuesdays, so I don’t have to walk all the way home. I of course went to my favourite sandwich place, Fresh. Fresh is a must visit if you are coming to Cardiff. Their turkey sandwiches are to die for.  

11:30 – After picking up my sandwich, I went back to the building to work on an essay for my Film, Media, and Cultural theory course. This course analyses films and breaks down how they portray different aspects through cinematography.

15:00 – I attend my film lecture on gender in film, ending my uni day at 17:00.

17:30 – Tuesday is such a busy day, so I rushed home, changed, and went back to my church for a social with my friends. We had a pizza and mocktails social with live music and bonfires. It was such a lovely time to get to meet new people and end the night off.  



Wednesday is my day off from classes. I usually use this day as a catch up to do any readings or assignments necessary for the rest of the week.

10:00 – I began with a coffee morning with my best friends. They have uni all day, but we had coffee at 200 degrees in the city centre. From then, I spent the day with my boyfriend doing uni work while also giving myself time to clean my room, exercise, and anything else I can think of.

14:00 – This Wednesday in particular was extra busy as I was prepping for a Thanksgiving dinner with my housemates. Because I celebrate Thanksgiving as I am American, I was spearheading this dinner, so I was in charge of purchasing things and making the menu as well as cooking. Luckily, I was able to get a ride from my boyfriend to do a bulk shop at Tesco Grocery, however Lidl ended up saving the day with everything else I couldn’t find.

18:00 – After I finished shopping, I went to work as an RLA for the university. As an RLA, I assist with coffee lounges where students can pop in to talk, I run the social media group, promoting events that the team has coming up, and I assist students in settling into university life.

22:00 – I ended my night early, with another cup of tea and some “I’m a celebrity.”  



Today was a bittersweet day. It was my second Thanksgiving away from home however, I had a lot planned for the day to keep me busy.

10:00 – First, I got ready for my 12:00 seminar for my film class. I woke up, packed my things, and began the walk into town towards the James building.

12:00 – At my seminar we discussed gender in film as the topic for the week. After a quick hour of group discussion, I quickly turned around to make my 1:30 train to the bay where my friends and I were meeting to go see Shrek the musical.

1:30 – It was my housemate’s birthday today so to celebrate, we went and saw Shrek at the Millennium Theatre. I met my friends at the station and we got to the theatre and watched this amazing performance. The show was lovely, and the bay was beautiful. As we exited the doors at sunset, the sun shining over the bay was the perfect view to end the night.

17:30 – We surprised my friend with a decorated house for her birthday, a small cake, and some gifts. She was very excited about all the surprised but quickly had to leave for work.

19:00 –  I called my family to see them on Thanksgiving. It was again, bittersweet, but amazing to get to talk to them. As my mother’s side was ending their thanksgiving lunch, my father was starting his Thanksgiving dinner with his family I hung out with my boyfriend after this and ended the night with some more “I’m a celebrity,” and a cup of tea. 



Today is yet another crazy day.

9:00 – I start the day with a 9 am lecture on Public Relations and a 12:00 seminar on the same subject.

12:30 – After classes, I sprinted home to begin cooking for a late Thanksgiving meal with my house. This is the first time cooking a meal like this myself so I allotted 6 hours to finish everything. 

1:30 – I started with the Turkey and began making my way through every dish. This was the first time I had ever cooked a turkey, so it was a bit of touch and go but ended up being beautiful in the end. After the turkey, I made casserole, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, and left it at that.

19:30 – My housemates slowly helped when they could but by 7:30, it was time to eat. We set our tables and dished out food. We spent the rest of the night in each other’s company, playing cards, listening to music, and just being together.  It was so amazing getting everyone together over a meal. It felt like a piece of home and I enjoyed being able to share a bit of the traditions I have with my friends.


11:00 – I began with a double shift for the RLA program, from 11-17:00. I was fortunate enough to start my morning with a coffee date with my boyfriend. On my shifts, I had lovely conversations with students and ran a culture café about the middle east. We had food and drinks from the culture and a short presentation for students attending the event. I also worked on social media for the program before ending my shift.

17:00 – Straight from work, I had to drive to Bath with my boyfriend to support him at a work function. At this, we formed connections with people in the field he works in and had a night full of Christmas carols and dancing. It was such a lovely way to start the holiday season. As my boyfriend is from Bristol, we were able to stay at his parents’ house that night, having a fire, and watching movies. 



Ending the week, I spent the day in Bristol’s town centre, exploring the Christmas markets. Bristol is an amazing day trip away from Cardiff and has beautiful Christmas markets. I highly recommend taking a day trip here when you have the time as it has the best town centre and beautiful places to see. We spent the day here and were able to make it to Cardiff to end the night at church. 


 Thank you for viewing a very realistic week in the life as an international student. It may have not been too eventful but that is how uni life goes sometimes. 

– Lilly