Living in Cardiff as an international student
An unforgettable student experience
Cardiff is an amazing place to be a student. There is so much to see and do in this friendly city, and the Students’ Union offers endless opportunities to meet people who share your interests.
Live in Wales’s buzzing capital city
Cardiff is a thriving modern city with a brilliant arts and music scene, as well as plenty of international restaurants and all the major high street shops. It is a compact city, and most students live only a 10-minute walk away from town. You’ll quickly be able to find your way around and feel at home here.
The city centre has some beautiful architecture, dating as far back as the twelfth century. Cardiff’s famous old arcades have a great selection of independent shops and cafés. Cardiff Castle and nearby Castell Coch are well worth a visit. Explore Welsh culture at the National Museum Cardiff or nearby St Fagans National Museum of History, where you can go back in time and see buildings from the last 800 years of Welsh history.
Parks are a big feature in Cardiff. The beautiful Bute Park is a 5-minute walk from the University and is a peaceful place for running, reading or chilling out with friends. Cardiff Bay is a five-minute train ride from the city centre and is a great place to go on a sunny day for food at one of the waterfront restaurants, or you can walk over the barrage to the pretty town of Penarth.
1/5 Bute Park, a five-minute walk from the University, is a fantastic place to relax with friends.
2/5 Cardiff has a thriving food scene, with a huge range of cafés and restaurants serving food from around the world.
3/5 Cardiff's beautiful and historic arcades, built between 1858 and 1921, offer an alternative shopping experience.
4/5 Wales has some of the best beaches in the UK. Three Cliffs Bay, only an hour's drive from Cardiff, is one of many beautiful sandy beaches in the area.
5/5 Wales is famous for its mountain ranges, such as the Brecon Beacons near Cardiff — a popular destination for hikers from all over the world.
Strong international community
As an international student, you will feel welcome here. Cardiff was one of the UK’s first multicultural cities and an estimated 94 languages are spoken in the city. Many faiths are represented, and there are mosques, synagogues, churches and temples across Cardiff. You will hear international languages spoken as you walk around the city. Welsh — one of Europe’s oldest living languages — is spoken by 10% of Cardiff’s population, but everyone speaks English too.
Active Students’ Union
Cardiff University Students’ Union is at the heart of the campus and the centre of student life. It was ranked in the top 3 by the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2020. It has more than 200 societies and organises a huge number of events, including Varsity, a day-long competition against Swansea University’s sports teams.
The international Study Centre is based in the same building, so you will be at the centre of the action.
There is a wealth of sports events in Cardiff, and all are welcome. In 2019, Wales — a country of only 3 million people — was home to the #1 rugby team in the world. Rugby is a national obsession, and on match days you can enjoy the atmosphere around the iconic Principality Stadium in the city centre. Cardiff City Football Club attracts international football players, and Cardiff is also home to the Cardiff Devils ice hockey team, which plays in the British Elite Ice Hockey League.
One of Cardiff’s high schools has produced three of the most successful sportspeople of the 21st century, international footballer Gareth Bale, ex-Wales rugby captain Sam Warburton and 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas.
Explore Wales and beyond
Cardiff has excellent transport links with the rest of the UK. It is only two hours from London by train, and with an international airport on the doorstep, Europe is just a short flight away.
Wales has miles of stunning coastline, as well as three national parks. At the weekends, you can explore one of many historic castles in the local area, visit the stunning Brecon Beacons or relax on the sandy beaches of The Gower.
My favourite part about the city is Bute Park is there and it's just really nice to be able to unplug and to forget about everything and just be out in nature. I feel it's such a privilege.
Sara from Bahrain
Studying BEng Medical Engineering