Opportunities Arise, Shaun Liew
BA Sport and Health graduate, about to start MA PE with QTS, Carmarthen Campus
“The world is your oyster… and it’s up to you to find the pearls.” This quote has a whole new meaning when you decide to step out of your comfort zone and into a world of the unknown! Being a mature international student from Canada, I decided to take the plunge and leave my full time job at an inner city school as a Community Outreach Worker to complete my bachelor’s degree. To complete my degree and travel the world has always been on my bucket list, so that’s what I did! Douglas College, where I was taking part-time night classes has an incredible partnership with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Within a few months, I had my flights, student/work visa, and my application to the university lined up for me to take the next step into my life. So here is a brief story of how travel changed my life, how Wales has become a special place in my heart and the opportunities that arose at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
“Traveling- it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” –Ibn Battuta
One of the biggest challenges was leaving home. Leaving my family and friends were tough as a mature student because the thought of opportunities arising could potentially lead to a new “home” in this chapter of life. However, knowing that I have the support of my friends and family back home has helped me throughout this process. Traveling has always been a large part of my life and having a passion to see the world was something I didn’t want to regret not doing. My big trip to Europe started off with working on the Alps of Switzerland for 3 weeks and Austria for a week. From there, I was able to visit many other countries before starting my course at the university in September. Unlike Canada, where flying from Vancouver to Toronto would take 5 hours, a five hours flight in Europe will take you across the European nation from London to Egypt! Additionally, flights can be as cheap as £7 (cheaper than my haircut!) from London, UK to Copenhagen, Denmark if you’re lucky. Other than being close to all the European countries, Wales has much more to offer!
Wales has a special place in my heart as I’ve learned to fall in love with the culture, the people, the beautiful nature and the rainy weather. Filled with historic castles, friendly patriotic locals, tremendous amount of cows and sheep, breathtaking nature which include sandy beaches and scenic mountain routes…
Wales is a gorgeous place and a country that is definitely under rated! I’ve had the opportunity to explore a few landmarks throughout the year such as beaches, castles and various cities. Among the beaches, Tenby Beach and Whitesands Beach are my absolute favourite places to visit in South Wales. These are white sandy beaches with clear water that clearly reflect the mountains in its surrounding. Just a few miles away from Whitesands Beach is the home of the smallest city in Britain, which is St. David’s. This cute little city has a breathtaking Hogwarts look-alike landmark, which is St. David’s Cathedral. Furthermore, Cardiff, the largest city in Wales, and Swansea (2nd largest) are full of life surrounded by water and tourists everywhere. Additionally, the Welsh community, specifically in Carmarthen have made me feel at home while offering traditional food such as Welsh Cawl, Bara Brith and delicious Welsh Cakes. A cheery nation, fond of their love for football and rugby is on a whole other level when cheering on their teams (especially during the world cup and european cup) and the Welsh language makes it feel like you’re part of the Lord of the Rings series speaking Elvish… it’s a great language and I encourage you to learn it!
University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Along with Welsh language courses, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David has many other opportunities and a wide variety of courses that they offer. I am a recent undergrad graduate with a BA (Hons) Sport and Health. I never had the thought of doing my postgraduate education. However, due to my final results, an opportunity arose and I will be starting my postgraduate program in September, where I will be doing my Masters in Physical Education with a Secondary Qualified Teaching Status (QTS).
This past year has been a year of opportunities for me. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to complete my degree at an institution in Wales. Furthermore, being able to work at the Sports Centre has given me the chance to gain more experience in the field of work that I am a part of. Alongside the Sports Centre, I am currently working for the university as a Student Ambassador, International Ambassador, and a Social Media Ambassador. With the connection of the Sports, Health and Outdoor Education department, I was also given the opportunity to work as a Research Assistant for the Wales Institute of Physical Literacy. On the student life point of view, the students’ union has many events that make it easy to meet people and develop friendship. . I have built many friendships and developed memories that will I will cherish for a lifetime. The university has provided me with many different opportunities to develop who I am and further my education in a career filled with potential and one that I am passionate about.
Overall, this year living abroad has opened up my eyes to being an independent person. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David has given me an opportunity to meet my career goals through education and a means to connect with people that are like-minded. Exploring Wales has given me a greater appreciation for nature and culture as I continue to learn more about it. I am grateful for the people that have helped me and continue to guide me towards the person I want to become and for all the opportunities that have come up throughout the year. I am looking forward to exploring more of Wales, Europe and the world, and to the next step of my postgraduate studies!
Remember: “The world is your oyster… and it’s up to you to find the pearls.” So get out there and start searching!