Lorelee Gonzalez from the University of Houston arrived in Swansea for a year abroad in September 2016:
“I was encouraged to do study abroad by my Mum who studied abroad herself. I wanted to study in the UK as I was going to have culture shock wherever I went, but I thought it would be easier to adapt somewhere that I spoke the language.
The classes I really wanted to study at Swansea were on Shakespeare and Dylan Thomas as I’m right here in Dylan Thomas’ home town. I am also taking modules in creative writing and contemporary women’s writing, which is my favourite class as it’s so different from anything I’ve read and studied before.
Swansea is cheaper than Houston to live in, and it’s really easy to travel to other places on public transport. My favourite thing about Swansea so far is the weather!
My advice to UH students considering study abroad is that Swansea is a really good choice. It has a great atmosphere and it’s similar enough to back home to feel very comfortable."
Erin Henderson from Texas A&M University undertook an internship exchange in Politics and Cultural Studies at Swansea University:
"I honestly could not have picked a better opportunity to fulfil my internship requirement! Swansea is an impressive and enjoyable little town, which actually shocked me. Since it is the second largest city in Wales, I expected it to be very urbanized and busy, yet it wasn't.
The campus was absolutely wonderful. Taking a class taught during the summer is very beneficial because there are not a lot of students on campus, and that makes it a very small atmosphere where it is easy to meet others.
I really enjoyed the internship portion of the exchange with the National Assembly for Wales. It was interesting to experience and learn about other governments and how other countries function on a daily basis."
“The exchange programme enhanced my student experience both academically and culturally.
It prepared me to face different challenges and made me more self-sufficient, confident and independent. It made me a better student and gave me additional experiences which will help my future career plans.
Texas A&M is very much about community, tradition, loyalty and optimism and I made some great friends.
I’d recommended the exchange to anyone because you will gain precious experiences, memories, friendships and knowledge to last a lifetime. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
“Texas A&M is one of the world’s best universities for Chemical Engineering and my experience was unforgettable!
We were made to feel at home from the moment we arrived and the social life quickly made me feel part of the University’s amazing student community. I am from Poland and I loved the opportunity to meet new people and learn about other cultures.
Academically, the exchange gave me a lot of hands-on experience and improved my engineering and transferable skills, as well as boosting my confidence in facing new challenges.”
"Swansea is ideally located for exploring the UK and Europe and I visited London, Paris, Rome, and the Catalunya region of Spain, as well as Cardiff and Carmathen, Wales. Between these cities I have seen some of the most important museums, buildings, and works of art. The best part of my exchange was celebrating Easter mass in St. Peter’s Square with Pope Francis I. Nothing compares to the excitement of getting a glance of the Pope or the solemnity sharing communion with so many other Catholics.
Swansea is an inexpensive place to study and the agreement between my home university and Swansea allowed me to pay tuition to UH and bring my financial aid with me to Wales.
I was worried going 5,000 miles from home but the experience has allowed me to grow as an adult, as a student, and as a traveller. Studying abroad has shown me how strong I am.
My advice to others: If you can afford to spend a semester or a year in Houston or Swansea on the exchange program, take the opportunity of a lifetime!"
"My semester at Swansea University has been the greatest experience of my life.
I loved my internship with Swansea City of Sanctuary because I had the opportunity to meet refugees and asylum seekers in the Swansea community and have conversations with them about what changes they would like to see in policies pertaining to them. Working with the non-profit organization made be realize what I actually wanted to do career-wise after graduating university.
I can honestly say I have made friends for life during my time in Swansea. I was lucky enough to travel a bit, and being able to experience other cultures was absolutely wonderful.
In such a short amount of time, not only did I learn about different politics, but I learned a great deal about the world and myself making this experience truly rewarding and unforgettable."
"I was attracted to the Texas A&M exchange because of the opportunity to explore a new culture and gain important international experience.
The best things about the exchange were the people I met - I made some great friends! College sports are taken very seriously and I really enjoyed watching them. Travelling after studying was a fantastic opportunity.
The overseas study experience definitely changed me: It made me a more committed student and better engineer. I am also better at time management!"
“I did not expect the welcome we got when we arrived at Texas A&M - everyone treats you like family the moment you become an Aggie!
The best things about the exchange were being on a different continent and the opportunity to meet people and travel. And the weather of course!
Being from Germany, I have always had a global perspective, but the exchange developed this further and helped to build my skills like time management and leadership. My advice to anyone thinking about going? Make sure you go to a football game!”
“The best thing about my exchange was the people, who were awesome. I found the Welsh to be some of the most welcoming and friendly people I have ever met.
I thought the location of Swansea was great because of its proximity to the other countries of Europe. I visited England, Wales, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Denmark, and Poland while I was in Europe.
The highlights for me were the evenings spent on the beach around a bonfire with all of the friends I had made."
"I’ve wanted to study abroad since I was a freshman in college and I knew I wanted to study in Europe.
My favorite part of the exchange was getting to explore Wales - the Gower Peninsula is gorgeous and has amazing hiking trails. The highlight was a day trip that my friends and I took to Three Cliffs Bay. We made many memories that day and it is one I will never forget.
During my exchange, I travelled to Cardiff, Amsterdam, Oslo, Stonehenge, Dublin, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Madrid, Copenhagen, Venice, and London. My two favorite places were Barcelona and Dublin: Ireland is an incredibly beautiful country, and being in Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day was an absolute blast.
I’m incredibly grateful I had the opportunity to take a semester abroad and learn more about myself. Studying abroad is a great opportunity, so my advice is if you have the opportunity, take it!"
"The best things about the exchange were meeting people from a different culture and looking at biomedical engineering from a different standpoint. The experience really improved my ability to work with new people as well as my communication and teamwork skills."