10 reasons why you should study in Wales

Wales is a world-class study destination, and its eight universities welcome over 25,000 international students from over 130 countries each year. Many students are first attracted by the low cost of living and high quality of education and quickly fall in love with the country for its welcoming atmosphere, stunning natural landscapes and vibrant cultural scene.

Find out what Wales has to offer students from all over the world.

With lower living costs, you'll have more freedom to get out and explore Wales.

1. Wales has some of the lowest living costs in the UK

When looking to study in the UK, the cost of living is a real consideration and it varies massively across the four nations. Where you choose to study and live will have a huge impact on the cost of your studies.

Whether accommodation, socialising, dining out or shopping, Wales has some of the lowest living costs in the UK. Cardiff, the capital of Wales, was ranked first in the UK for student affordability by the Natwest Student Living Index for cities and is almost three times cheaper than London.

A group of GREAT scholars at a networking event at Old Trafford Cricket Grounds for scholars studying across the whole of the UK.

From Chevening and Fullbright to Global Wales Postgraduate and GREAT Scholarships, many funding opportunities are on offer.

2. There are lots of scholarships available for international students

In addition to the lower cost of living compared to the rest of the UK, Wales offers a wide range of scholarships for international students ranging from part-funded, for example, paying part of your fees, to fully-funded which covers programme fees, living expenses, and return flights to the UK.

Beyond the financial benefits, as a scholar in Wales, you'll have the opportunity to meet and spend time with scholars on your scholarship programme - and others - who are also studying there. You'll also have many opportunities for personal and professional growth and networking during your studies.

Some of the scholarships available are as follows: Commonwealth, Chevening*, Fullbright, Gilman, Global Wales Postgraduate and GREAT Scholarships. You can see a full list of scholarships you are eligible for by using our course and scholarships finder below and find out more about UK student finance, scholarships and other funding on the UK Council for International Student Affairs' website.

'There are tonnes of fellowships and scholarships available for international students - it's just about finding them', says Maya from the USA, who did her master's in international relations at Swansea University. 'My master's is much more affordable than the majority of similar programmes in the USA. And the living costs in Wales are really low'.

*In Wales, Global Wales supports additional Chevening places, so you also have a better chance of getting an award in Wales than in the rest of the UK.

Swansea University spans two stunning campuses at each end of Swansea's waterfront.

Not only are the universities excellent, you'll also appreciate the architecture and the atmosphere.

3. There are eight excellent universities in Wales

Wales is home to eight universities which consistently rank among the best in the UK and internationally.

  1. Aberystwyth University: a research-led university with a long tradition of academic excellence in a vibrant town
  2. Bangor University: located near Snowdonia, Bangor University enjoys one of the most beautiful settings of any UK university and balances academic excellence with a great student experience
  3. Cardiff University: part of the Russell Group, Wales' largest university has a global reputation for academic excellence, cutting-edge research and high student satisfaction
  4. Cardiff Metropolitan University: a modern university with a strong focus on employability, community and student support
  5. Swansea University: a welcoming, research-centred university that's highly rated for both teaching quality and student satisfaction
  6. University of South Wales: combines theory and practice so that graduates are ready to start their careers, make a difference and change lives and our world for the better
  7. University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD): a forward-thinking, inclusive university known for its community atmosphere. It provides high-quality teaching from lecturers who are active in research or industry
  8. Wrexham University: an industry-led university where students receive a high level of support and personal attention.

You can also study an extraordinary range of subjects in Wales, from architecture to zoology. Many specific departments at Welsh universities are internationally renowned, for example, ocean sciences at Bangor University, biosciences at Cardiff University and architectural and stained glass at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

In Wales, you'll be able to find internationally renowned, specialist departments to suit your research interests.

Peter from Malaysia, who studied marine biology at Bangor University, was impressed by the specialised research facilities he accessed during his course, including a 35-metre-long research vessel that students can easily access relatively easily. 'Bangor is unique as it’s the only university with a dedicated school of ocean sciences and academic staff who undertake research exclusively within the field of marine science. In other universities in the UK, marine studies are usually offered under a general umbrella of biological or life sciences.'

Universities in Wales make sure everyone feels included and welcome.

4. Wales is a welcoming and inclusive society

Wales is well-known for being a welcoming country. It is a top-choice destination for international students, and over 25,000 international students from over 130 countries choose to study in Wales each year. The Welsh government also has plans to make Wales the most LGBT+ friendly nation in Europe. And universities make a special effort to make sure that everyone can be themselves and feels included and welcome.

Rizma, from Sri Lanka, is doing her MBA Global at the University of South Wales. She hopes to continue living in Wales after finishing her studies as she loves the atmosphere and the people so much. 'My first impression when I moved here was that people are so kind', she says. 'I come from Sri Lanka, and we are known for our hospitality, but here it's just another level.'

Maya, from the USA, says, 'There is something special about Wales. There's a culture of openness and welcome here that I had never experienced before. There's this term in Welsh, 'cwtch', which is often painted on the walls. It doesn't have a direct translation to English, but people have explained it as a positive, safe feeling and a sense of togetherness and community. Since living here, I have really felt it.'

'The lecturers are all so professional, the course structure is excellent and the learning methods are very interactive'.

5. You will receive a high-quality education from experts in their fields

Studying in Wales provides an inspiring and supportive environment for academic and personal development. You'll have the chance to learn from exceptional professors and academic professionals, receive lots of support from your university staff, have cutting-edge research opportunities, and gain access to state-of-the-art facilities.

Welsh universities performed extremely well in the lecturers and teaching quality category of the Whatuni Student Choice Awards for universities across the UK. Aberystwyth was ranked first, Wrexham University second, Bangor University fifth, Swansea University eighth and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David ninth.

Vikash, from India, did his master's in cyber security at Cardiff University, and says, 'The lecturers are all so professional, the course structure is excellent and the learning methods are very interactive'. Anisha, also from India, who did her master's in international public relations and global communications at Cardiff University, says, 'At my university, I am encouraged to have discussions, read and carry out independent research for my assignments, which I enjoy'. Amarnath, also from India, who did his MBA in advanced practice at Wrexham University, says, 'All my tutors are so happy to help, and the staff are very approachable. I never feel like a nuisance. There is also a clear support system in place to help international students'.

'As an international student who has moved over 9,000 kilometres away from home, I have become more independent'.

6. You will be supported to grow in confidence during your studies

At universities in Wales, you'll learn in a personalised environment with a mixture of lectures and seminars and be encouraged to think critically. Minh, a Chevening Global Wales scholar who did her master's in project management at Cardiff Metropolitan University, says: 'In every module, I got the chance to join small seminars where only 8-12 students sat together with a professor to discuss different case studies by applying the theory from the expo and individual experiences and then have an academic debate.'

To begin with, this way of learning was a little intimidating for her, but it challenged her to learn and grow. 'I still remember in my very first seminars when I was very shy to talk. However, over time, with the encouragement from my professor, I could speak out what I thought because the project cannot operate if the project managers and team members are constantly silent'.

Rizma from Sri Lanka says, 'In terms of my academic knowledge, I feel that I have evolved into a more professional individual. As an international student who has moved over 9,000 kilometres away from home, I'm proud to say I have become more independent, and it's moulded me into someone who can take responsibility for myself and the people I love and care for'.

Did you know that Wales has an 870-mile coastal path?

While studying in Wales, try something new when you're outside of class.

7. There is so much natural beauty to experience and explore

From the breathtaking peaks of Snowdon to the crashing waves along the Gower Peninsula, Wales is a nation where nature and the sea are never out of reach. Whether you choose a university in a coastal city or a town inland, you're always just a short journey away from the country's stunning coastline.

Living and studying in Wales means that when you're not studying, you can immerse yourself in the great outdoors. Did you know that Wales boasts three UNESCO World Heritage Sites? Around a quarter of the country is within a national park or an area of outstanding beauty. Wales (apparently) has more castles per square mile than any other place in the world. And let's not forget the 870-mile (1,400 km) long coastal path, known as the Wales Coast Path.

With countless opportunities for surfing, sailing, swimming, hiking, and biking, the challenge isn't finding things to do; it's making sure you keep going to class.

'If you are obsessed with nature and ecology, Wales is the perfect country', says Xuxu, who studied at Aberystwyth University. '[During my studies] I went on holiday to climb Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales. When looking at Llyn Llydaw Lake from a particular angle, it really does look like a map of Wales. With jungles, meadows, snow-capped mountains, coasts, rivers and lakes, Wales can satisfy all your imaginations of nature.'

Check out our blog, 'Discover Wales: 7 must-do experiences for students' for inspiration. Whether you crave sandy beaches, wildlife wonders, rugged landscapes, tranquil valleys, cascading waterfalls, or shimmering lakes, Wales is just waiting for you to explore.

More than 90 per cent of graduates from universities in Wales find employment within six months of finishing their studies.

8. A degree from a Welsh university will boost your career prospects

Within six months of graduating from a university in Wales, more than 90 per cent of graduates find employment, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data release, higher than the UK average.

You can access various resources at your university in Wales to prepare for your career during your studies and beyond. Your university's career service will help you develop essential skills, gain valuable experiences and boost your confidence to enhance your employability, regardless of what you want to do next. From CV and cover letter writing to mock interviews, university careers advisors will help you build a strong foundation for job applications.

They will assist you in assessing your existing skills, bridging any gaps to become job-ready, and exploring diverse career paths. They also maintain networks with employers, so make sure to get on their distribution lists where they regularly share internship and job opportunities. Your course might also offer subject-specific work placements, so make sure you also speak to your academic advisor about opportunities.

'So much of what I’ve learned [during my degree at Swansea] is translatable into the world of work', says Maya from the USA. 'The careers office has helped me shape my resume and cover letters to reflect that so I can apply my skills elsewhere. I’m also tapping into the University of Swansea alumni network and their connections, and - of course - reaching out to people on LinkedIn to find my next opportunity'.

Find out more about getting support at university, including making the most of your careers service, by reading our blog article, 'A student guide to getting support at university in the UK'.

More than 60,000 new green jobs could be created by 2022 within the Welsh economy according to a report by Careers Wales.

9. Wales is committed to sustainability and the environment

Wales is at the forefront of the green jobs movement in the UK, with rapid growth in sustainability and environmentally-focused career opportunities. The sector is growing, but traditional fields like construction, manufacturing, engineering, and science also demand people with expertise in sustainability and related subjects. Existing roles are going green, and new ones emerge as businesses adapt to meet social and environmental obligations and global net-zero targets.

Universities in Wales are invested in combatting climate change by providing their students with a high-quality education in related fields, committing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 100 per cent by 2050, and surpassing legal standards and leading by example by decarbonising their estates. All eight universities in Wales have signed up to six commitments on climate change in a report published by Universities UK in October 2021: 'Confronting the climate emergency: a commitment from UK universities'.

A report published by Careers Wales, the national careers advice service in Wales, revealed that more than 60,000 new green jobs could be created by 2022 within the Welsh economy. So, if your interest lies in sustainability and the environment - find out what courses you might be able to study to help you make a difference for the environment and the planet.

Peter from Malaysia, who received a GREAT Scholarship for climate change, says: 'In the UK, [and Wales specifically], a lot is happening in the field of seabirds. My favourite part about what I do is fieldwork. I like being outdoors in rugged conditions for long periods of time. After doing my master’s, I realised that what I love most is the field component of marine biology, rather than the more academic side, which requires write-ups and data analysis. In the future, I want to work outside and would be happy to be a field biologist for the rest of my life'.

More than 13 per cent of graduate start-ups within the UK are set up by graduates from universities in Wales.

10. There is a culture of innovation

Students at Welsh universities are among the most entrepreneurial in the UK. So, studying in Wales could be a good option if you want to make a change and positive impact through innovation.

Although students at university in Wales only account for 5 per cent of those in higher education in the UK, they account for more than 13 per cent of graduate start-up companies within the region, the highest per capita in the UK.

Universities in Wales and the Welsh Government substantially support graduate start-ups, providing funding, bursaries, mentoring, and workspaces. Successful university programmes, like AberPreneurs in Aberystwyth, provide budding entrepreneurs training, mentoring, and funding. If you study at Cardiff University, their Enterprise and Start-Up Team extends support for up to five years post-graduation and organises an annual (and highly competitive) ideas competition with cash prizes to fund and develop those ideas. For more details on entrepreneurial support at each university, contact them directly.

Thinking about studying in Wales?

Global Wales Postgraduate Scholarships offer up to £10,000 as tuition fee discounts to students from North America, India, Vietnam and the EU doing full-time master's programmes in Wales.

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