Tag Archives: cardiff university

A Freshers’ Guide to Cardiff

Student journalist Ellie Philpotts writes a guide to Cardiff – for freshers!

Big wheel and Pierhead building, Cardiff Bay

Here at We Are Cardiff, it’s fair to say we’re fans of … Cardiff. Some might even say we are Cardiff. Not even just those of us writing away, although the name kind of suggests that. The beauty of Cardiff is that we are all Cardiff – the people make the city what it is. Whether you’re in your first term at Cardiff University, Uni of South Wales, Cardiff Met or the like, or have never strayed further than the Welsh capital in all your years, you’re sure to appreciate that Cardiff is full of friendly faces.

While lots of people come together in forming Cardiff, right now we’re focusing on one group of Cardiff’s people – new students. Now it’s November, you’ll have had a couple of months’ prime time to work your way around it, but it’s still early days compared to how long you’ll be here, so here are Ellie’s top tips on how to make the best of this exciting city.

Cardiff’s Best Places for Coffee

Alliteration isn’t the only thing Cardiff and coffee have in common. They also happen to compliment each-other perfectly. So if you’re in urgent need of a generous dose of caffeine to tackle your 9am or are after a more leisurely location to whittle away a South Wales Sunday, you’ll have plenty to choose between.

The city centre may be the obvious hive of activity, and sure enough, there’s more than enough to satisfy shoppers, sightsee-ers, tourists or residents who double as coffee fans – think Milk & Sugar; The Plan; Coffee Barker; Pettigrew Tea Rooms; Garlands; Little Man

But as impressive as each of these are, Cardiff’s coffee scene isn’t restricted to the centre. Walk a little further afield and you’ll stumble across these:

These are to name just a few!

Cardiff’s Best Places for Student Shopping

Rose Street Flea Market – another alternative shopping location for a student budget

If you wish it was socially acceptable to place ‘Shopping’ in the ‘Interests’ section on LinkedIn, you’re in luck living in Cardiff. As with any city, the big names line the centre, most notably Queen Street; St Mary Street and Queen’s Arcade, but the Arcades trailing through the city are certainly unique to Cardiff. Bookworms, foodies, vintage lovers, fancy dress fans, bargain hunters or just those who fancy a good hair cut all unite. Other hidden gems include Jacob’s Antiques; Castle Emporium; and an array of quirky charity shops in areas such as Cowbridge Road East and Albany Road.

Cardiff’s Best Lunches

A delicious bagel from the New York Deli

Studying is hungry work, but you don’t need to demolish your student loan to have a good lunch. The cheap and cheerful crème de la crème in the city centre span from New York Deli, High Street Arcade’s legendary take on the Big Apple (fruits don’t actually always feature in the Hoagies and bagels); The Real Italian Pizza Co (the authentic pizzeria recently set up camp on Church Street having expanded out of Bath); Nata & Co, a charming Portuguese bakery opposite the castle but also found in Splott and the Bay; and 29 Park Place, a colourful and fun welcome addition to Park Place, otherwise known as Cardiff University’s Student High Street.

Meanwhile, the Roath/Cathays border offers its fair share of good grub if you’re not up for venturing too far from student territory – highlights include The Pot’s quaint sister branch, Arty’s Kitchen; Anna-Loka, Cardiff’s first 100 per cent vegan cafe; and New York Diner, the new (York) kids on the City Road block who know how to serve up a mean burger and milkshake combo.

Cardiff’s Best Nightlife

Good times at Buffalo

With something (or multiple events) on every night of the week, ‘bored’ soon becomes axed from the Cardiff student’s vocabulary. From Bump ‘n’ Grind at legendary bar Buffalo to the somewhat iconic Live Lounge and the chain of nationwide-recognisable clubs like Glam and Pryzm, there are plenty of opportunities to belt out some 90s classics, but on the quirkier end of the spectrum are Clwb Ifor Bach; Chapter; Dempsey’s and Millieu’s Spoken Word nights.

Cardiff’s Best Parks

Spring in Cathays Park, Doug Nicholls

Not many cities can say they’re in such close proximity to what more resembles the middle of nowhere. And even if they could, we’re still going to praise Cardiff’s park culture. You’ve probably by now tracked down Cathays Park (right next to Cardiff University), just a stone’s throw from Bute Park, but did you know it’s not just under the shadow of the castle? One of the UK’s largest parks, it covers 130 landscaped acres, leading all the way towards Llandaff down the Taff Trail.

Meanwhile, Roath Lake is the heart of the community-centric suburb of Roath, with its stunning botanical gardens beautiful whatever the season. If you’re feeling brave enough in summer, rent a pedalo, or hibernate in Terra Nova cafe if the Cardiff rain is doing its usual thing.

Trek slightly further out though and you’ll find Canton’s Victoria Park; the grounds surrounding St Fagans Museum; or abandon the constraints of inner Cardiff altogether and reach Cosmeston Lakes to the south of attractive seaside town of Penarth; the Knap proving Barry is so much more than Gavin and Stacey; the Brecon Beacons’ peaks and waterfalls; or the Bay’s Barrage walk.

As rambling should be reserved to South Wales’ actual countryside, I’ll wrap it up now – but all in all rest assured that if you’re new to Cardiff you’ve made the best decision. With a thriving cultural scene; opportunities all round; the prime balance between nature and urbanisation and the chance to try your hand at skills you wouldn’t have ever thought of, Cardiff has it all.

Need any other inspiration? We Are Cardiff’s archive probably houses something worth reading…


Ellie Philpotts Ellie Philpotts is a student at Cardiff University studying English Literature, Journalism and Media. She is  a teenage-cancer survivor; is obsessed with travelling, and her favourite cities outside Cardiff are being Sydney, NYC, Nashville and Paris. Her ‘likes’ also include general Britishness, cups of tea, exploring, attempting to write songs, journalism, Italian food, finding new places, going out for dinner and taking photos – of everything. She is not a fan of maths, mashed potato, narrow minded people, her phone constantly running out of memory for photos, or people who are mean about Taylor Swift. Follow her blog or Instagram.

Student Action for Refugees – Peace Feast and Refugee Rhythms

Ellie Philpotts headed along to some Cardiff Student Action for Refugees (STAR) events to see what good they’re whipping up in the local community. 


It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that Cardiff is a seriously welcoming place to live. The diversity of city living is clear to see, as it seems like on every corner you’ll always be greeted with a friendly face and the choice of either a cup of tea /  shish kebab / bara brith / kimchi stew / proper Italian wood-fired pizza. Or all five of them if you feel like it. At the same time. Because why not.

Demonstrating the best of this is a team of Cardiff University students, who go by the name of STAR (Student Action for Refugees).

Student Action for Refugees is a national network spanning across 35 British universities. Everyone there is motivated by the common goal of helping to improve the lives of refugees and asylum seekers, by teaching them English, maths and other skills at weekly classes; fundraising and basically having a grand old time.

Speaking of which, there are plenty of ways to get involved, and you totally should. A recent way this was made possible was Peace Feast. The annual event sees members from all over the community gather together; eating a home-cooked meal or two and celebrating the role refugees and asylum seekers bring to the area. This year, it came to town on Sunday 21 Feb at Cathays Community Centre. Since 2012, the day has remained a success, and this year was no different. Working alongside Bridges for Communities, an organisation passionate at swapping negative stereotypes in favour of forming friendships between cultures, Peace Feast got everyone talking and sharing experiences, over the universally-enjoyed medium of good food.

As good as Peace Feast was, it wasn’t the biggest event of STAR’s calendar – an honour which can surely only go to Refugee Rhythms.

refugee rhythms

Once again, Refugee Rhythms made a storm in the Students’ Union on Thursday 25 Feb. Again following its triumph from previous years, all of STAR’s volunteers put in the hours to ensure the smooth running what could only be called the best cultural celebration in all of Cardiff. Featuring a global array of cuisine, music and talent, it appears everyone came away wanting to take up some new instrument, even if you’re slightly tone-death, aka me.

Local  groups Afro Cluster, who specialise in an afro-funk hip-hop feel, and Bass 12, who describe themselves as ‘a riot jazz style band’, stole the show, but a whole host of other musicians (many of whom double up as students by day…) were found gracing the stage.


If dancing off your food baby of hummus and falafel is your type of exercise, you were probably found at this week’s Refugee Rhythms. But if you couldn’t make it, remember there’ll be plenty of opportunities to give back to the local community. Like many cities, Cardiff thrives on its diversity, and that’s the way volunteers at STAR, plus a lot of others, want it to stay.  Check out the Cardiff STAR website for more reiteration of how easy yet rewarding helping refugees is.


Ellie Philpotts

Ellie Philpotts is our writer on the ground in central Cardiff. Telling it like it is!

Sign up for the weekly We Are Cardiff newsletter

Check out what’s going on with We Are Cardiff Press

“Work in progress” – Alex

Alex Norton by Joseph Singh

Cardiff and I didn’t begin auspiciously; I’ve found that the best relationships rarely do. Friends have suggested that that’s a reflection on my own social ineptitude but, in this case, it’s irrefutable proof of this city’s ability to charm you into a three year relationship off the back of a farcical first date.

If you were to conjure up an image of a sodden Central Square on a bleak Spring day, you might be inclined to agree that the combined effect of the overbearing conditions, fast food outlets and an array of characters best described as ‘colourful’ would be conducive to a sobering first impression. Dismissing any initial angst that might have crept in as a product of sheltered, rural naivety, I made my way to Cathays Park.

The ambience inspired by the Edwardian architecture here was altogether more agreeable, and I advanced into the Bute Building with a sense of purpose. Once inside I was informed that the next introductory lecture wouldn’t be taking place for another two hours, and promptly left again. But having spent an unadventurous youth in rural Dorset I rapidly became disorientated amidst my new surroundings – and to make matters worse, the rain had cranked up to apocalyptic levels. I huddled in a bus stop.

I had become a vagrant.

Worse for wear and somewhat dispirited, a cup of coffee and the subsequent lecture nonetheless brightened my mood – and my outlook was further bolstered by a member of the welcome committee, who laughingly assured me that the prevailing meteorological conditions were anomalous and that I would enjoy city life. I now know the first part of this statement to be marketing at its most deceitful. On the second count, however, she couldn’t have been more correct.

Within six months I had been blown back to the city by the winds of whimsy, this time as a fully fledged Welsh resident. Two years on, I remain convinced that I’ve struck the jackpot.

Having perused this blog time and time again, it is hard not to wholly plagiarise the sentiments with which I agree wholeheartedly. Cardiff is the perfect introduction to real life, particularly for a small town émigré. Whilst large enough to make every trip the opportunity to discover something new, it is small enough to know intimately. A capital city that retains the feel of a secret, close-knit community, it is a city of contradictions – and all the better for it.

My friends, perhaps dazzled by bright lights, used the university application process to head for London. That (coupled with the fact that it’s home to my beloved Fulham Football Club) means that I frequently find myself wandering the streets of the Big Smoke. There can be no doubt that it is an exceptional city to work, a sprawling metropolis unrivalled in its social and economic opportunities. But to live? Not for me.

It may be that the dangling of the economic carrot obliges me to migrate there sooner rather than later, but I have a feeling that I will always be drawn back to Cardiff and its nuances – the arcades, Bute Park, Tiger Bay. Even the Millennium Stadium holds a place in my heart, despite the pain that has been inflicted on my home country upon its hallowed turf.

I know of few cities that blend high street amenities, waterfront café culture and unspoilt greenery so successfully within the confines of a few square miles. To me there are few more idyllic afternoons than lunch at the New York Deli and a stroll along the Taff. It’s a city designed for living, and I can only hope it stays that way.

As a sport fan, it’s a near-perfect location. There are few other cities in the world which you can leave your house and be within walking distance of regular international rugby, football and cricket and the accompanying carnival atmosphere. The ability to see the world’s most expensive footballer tearing Wales’ opponents apart and be home within twenty minutes is a convenience shared only by the residents of Madrid, and it’s one that I treasure.

In 12 months time, my stay in south Wales is due to come to end – and I don’t know what I’m going to do about it. Whatever jibes that are unfairly directed its way by those who live blissfully in their ignorance, it is an immense privilege to call myself a Cardiffian.



Alex Norton is a final year undergraduate at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Culture and currently serves as News Editor for the newly launched monthly ‘The University Paper’. Like all proper students he lives in Cathays, and in his spare time he’s either travelling to football matches, reclining in Coffee Barker or walking around the city in a daze asking people if they’ve seen the last two years of his life. He can be found on Twitter @thealexmancan.

Alex was photographed at Cathays Park by Joseph Singh

100 days in Cardiff – Blackweir Bridge

We Are Cardiff contributor Jeremy Rees is recording his days in and around Cardiff with 100 photographs of local points of interest. We’ll be publishing some of them here on We Are Cardiff – and make sure you tune in to Jeremy as he presents the Saturday Soulful Breakfast on Radio Cardiff!

Blackweir Bridge

blackweir bridge cardiff

“What a beautiful day! The sun is out and so am I – I’ve walked along the Taff Trail from Butetown to Blackweir. The river and park is looking so photogenic in the sunshine it’s hard to choose a subject for today’s picture. I’ve decided to show you Blackweir Bridge, an elegant (and bouncy) footbridge across the River Taff that was designed and constructed in the 1980s by engineering students at nearby Cardiff University.”

Thanks Jeremy! Catch you next time…

Cardiff: my personal geography, by Neil Badmington

A new series here on We Are Cardiff, where locals and those who live nearby let us into their key locations around the city … and tell us a little bit about themselves in the process. First up – Neil Badminton, lecturer at Cardiff University. 

Penarth by Helia Phoenix

In Cardiff, home is…

Not in Cardiff at all, actually: I live in Penarth. (As Staten Island is to Manhattan…) There’s something fatally reassuring about living at the end of a railway line. All things terminate here. No passing through, no going on. For other destinations, go back the way you came. We have reached the end of the line and are waiting quietly for the sea to claim us.

Favourite Cardiff eatery …

Mission Burrito on The Friary has been seducing me recently, but I have long carried a torch for the garlic aubergines at the Riverside on Tudor Street.

Ideal first date in Cardiff …

A first date in Cardiff would have been my dream as an unloved and unlovable teenager marooned in the Welsh borderlands. These days, as an unloved and unlovable adult, I’d choose for a first date the ink display stand in Pen and Paper, in the Royal Arcade. If you can’t embrace my love of ink and fine fountain pens, this relationship is going nowhere.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you

I was one of Cardiff’s buskers in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Van Morrison’s ‘Gloria’ was always a money-spinner, although on one occasion a man put £5 in my guitar case and then took it back out again when, on a giddy whim, I segued from ‘Gloria’ into M’s ‘Pop Muzik’ via an ambitious harmonica solo. ‘Same chords! Same chords!’, I yelled, hoping that he’d change his mind and put the money back. ‘Different shit, mate’, he replied.

Earliest Cardiff memory

I grew up about forty miles away from Cardiff, so many of my weekends involved escaping on the train from small-town narrowness to the unbound promise of the city. I have countless memories of Cardiff, then, but one goes back further than the others. I’m standing on the pavement of Queen Street before the road was pedestrianised, holding hands with both of my parents. The traffic seems impossibly fast, loud, and dirty, and I’m wondering how we are going to make it to the other side of the road without dying. One of my parents tells me that the street is soon to be paved over. ‘And the cars will go away’,  I say. The pedestrianisation happened in 1974, so my memory must be from around that date, when I would have been three years old.

What was the last film you saw?

David Lean’s Brief Encounter. This is my favourite film, and I need to watch it every few weeks or I become worryingly optimistic about the universe. I crept back to it late last night with a cup of lime blossom tea and the promise of reviving gloom. When I was staying in Lancaster a few years ago, a friend took me to nearby Carnforth railway station, where much of Brief Encounter was filmed. In many ways, the station has been modernised beyond recognition, but the clock and the underpass are still there, and there’s a charming platform café which has been designed to recall the one in the film. I wanted never to leave.No, no, I don’t want that time to come ever. I want to remember every minute, always, always to the end of my days.’

Favourite Cardiff shops

Wally’s delicatessen in Royal Arcade has been a world of wonder since I was a child. Pen and Paper, further down the same arcade, satisfies my endless desire for ink and paper. Troutmark Books in Castle Arcade always contains something surprising, as does The Pumping Station on Penarth Road.

Best Cardiff-based leisure activity

The word ‘leisure’ suggests rough games to me, or possibly outdoor activities. I detest sport and nature. If ‘leisure’ can be stretched to sedentary film-going, I’d single out the cinema at Chapter, although I make a point of avoiding anything by my beloved Woody Allen there, as audiences tend to take the screenings as competitions to see who can laugh loudest at obscure Kierkegaard references, thus drowning out the dialogue. That’s the only bad thing I can say about the wonderful Chapter, though. I will never forget my first visit there in 1988 to watch, for reasons I can no longer recall, Mississippi Burning. I had never seen so many effortlessly cool people; I knew even then that I would never be one of them. To this day I feel inadequate whenever I step through the doors. (Shouldn’t I have a piercing? A tattoo? A tattooed piercing? And shouldn’t I be on my way back from photographing a DJ in a Gabalfa garage?)

What was the last book you read?

The Days of Anna Madrigal — the ninth and final volume in Armistead Maupin’s ‘Tales of the City’ series. I was bereft when I reached the last page. I spent a lot of time in San Francisco and the surrounding area when I was a student in California in the early 1990s. I’ve never been back, but these books, with their perfect sense of mischievous place, have been a constant connection.

Best Cardiff pub/s

I hate pubs and the dim place of alcohol in British life, so I can’t answer this question. If Temperance Town still existed in Cardiff, I’d be one of its secular inhabitants, banging my dry drum on my high horse. (A colleague tells me that I spend my life on my high horse, to which I say: better a high horse than a Shetland pony.) St. Mary Street should be a wonderful, elegant boulevard (look at the architecture, the built possibility), but instead it’s a valley of vomit. Sentences from Tolstoy’s ‘Why Do People Stupefy Themselves?’ ought to be carved into the paving stones … if the latter were visible beneath the grease, the jilted thongs, and the caked bodily fluids.

Favourite Cardiff discovery

At some point in the second half of the 1980s (probably 1986), word began to spread around my secondary school about a place known only as “Jacob’s”. Hidden away beneath a dark and dripping railway bridge near Cardiff Central, the myth whispered, this was an indoor market on several floors which sold second-hand clothes capable of transforming the wearer into an authentically angst-ridden teenager. Ordinary kids disappeared there over the weekend and turned up in school on Monday looking like they’d shuffled out of a Anton Corbijn Joy Division photo-shoot. I saved my money; I made the trip. I came back with a long black Crombie coat which was heavier than I was, and which transformed my keen posture into a defeated hunch. With the help of this magic cloak, I spent the rest of the 1980s being disaffected in various locations in south Wales, always staring solemnly into the distance for something lost, something better.

I’m delighted to see that Jacob’s is still there, although the surrounding area is unrecognisable when I compare it to my memories. The place no longer has quite the same appeal, but the mere sight of the building from the passing train transforms me instantly from a tubby middle-aged man back into a skinny teenager. I discovered by chance a couple of years ago that my favourite trader from those distant days, Tails and the Unexpected, still exists, but now operates from a house in Penarth, just around the corner from where I live. Mark, the owner, sold me that original Crombie coat, and these days he oversees with elegance and charm my desire for hats.

Jacob's Antiques by Walt Jabsco

Old gramophones in Jacob’s Antiques

Last album you listened to

Van Morrison’s Veedon Fleece. I listen to this most days with a sense of wonder.

If you had friends coming to Cardiff for a weekend, what would you recommend they do?

There’s unbearable ethical pressure in this question. I’m never comfortable showing people around or making recommendations: no one’s going to be interested in my fancies. (It was once put to me, rather wearily, that a romantic weekend in Paris should contain more than an artisan ink maker’s studio and Proust’s grave.) All I’d recommend, then, is structuring the day around two seductive views of the city. Start the morning at the top of Cardiff University’s towering Psychology Building, near the top of Park Place, from which you can see for miles in all directions. When day is done, when darkness has fallen, look back over the water at the illuminated city skyline from Paget Road in Penarth. In between, well, I’m not getting involved.

Neil Badmington teaches English Literature at Cardiff University.

Photo of old gramophones in Jacob’s Antiques by Walt Jabsco on Flickr

International Womens Day: a guest post by Kelly Page

Hello friends. Happy International Womens Day! To celebrate, our friend Kelly Page has written us a We Are Cardiff about the first female professor to be appointed to the (at the time) Cardiff University. Go! Go!

First Female Professor Appointed in the Largest Coal Port in the World

Imagine it is 1904.

You are living and working in Cardiff, the largest coal port in the world.
You are a woman, 40 years young, working as the head of women’s teacher training in the town’s new university.

The university, University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire (now Cardiff University) is only 20 years old. It was founded with 13 staff and 151 students, 15 of who were women (1883).

You are working at one of the first universities in Britain to open its doors to female students and with a residence specifically for women, Aberdare Hall (1885). A hall that is giving women from outside Cardiff the opportunity to attend university (and your training) without the stigma associated with living alone in rented accommodation. A hall, that is the second women’s hall of residence to be built in the UK (the other being at the University College London).

The first page of the address at the opening of Aberdare Hall on “Women and Universities” (1885)

You’ve witnessed Cardiff Arms Park host its first international rugby match, an encounter between Wales and Ireland (1886); and looked on as the world experienced the first modern Olympics in Athens (1896).

The patent for radio communication was awarded just 7 years earlier to Guglielmo Marconi, with the first transmission from Flat Holm to Lavernock Point in South Wales (1897).

Sadly, a few years earlier Queen Victoria died (1901) after a 63 year-long reign. You and your colleagues are now living in the Edwardian era, as Edward VII has the thrown.
As you look around the town, not yet big enough to be officially called a city and years before it becomes the capital of Wales, you watch the hive of activity from the large coal port. You also see construction has started on Main Building (1903), a building that will take another 6 years to partially complete (1909) and define the universities campus.
You’ve taken a keen interest in the national movement for women’s suffrage, lobbying for political reform and militancy pushing for change. You want the right to vote.

Why is this year, 1904 so significant? Why are we here?

1904 is the year you are appointed as Professor of Education. An appointment, that will have you become the first female Professor in Britain and the first female member of the Cardiff Senate.

An appointment made one year before Cardiff is granted city status (1905); 24 years before women 21 years and over can legally vote (1928); and 51 years before Cardiff becomes the Capital of Wales (1955).

Your name is Hester (‘Hettie’) Millicent Mackenzie (nee Hughes), Professor of Education at Cardiff University.

From Bristol, Professor Mackenzie is described as an “enterprising colleague” and “absorbed in university teaching” who with her husband (also a professor at the university) liked to travel. She is a well-known educator and was head of women’s teacher training at the turn of the early 20th century, at what is now known as Cardiff University.

Aberdare Hall, Cardiff University

She is also the author of numerous books and lectures on education. Much of her work focused on the methods for preparing teachers for working in schools across the country and advocated co-educational instruction. She researched Welsh and UK schools and also drew insight from the US and European education systems. In 1894, with co-author Amy Blanche Bramwell, they wrote the title, Training of Teachers in the United States, a title that focused on the co-education in US teacher trainer schools. She also authored Moral Education: The Task of the Teacher (1909); Freedom in Education. An Inquiry into its Meaning, Value, and Condition (1925); and wrote Hegel’s Theory and Practice of Education (date unknown).

Professor Mackenzie was a supporter of the suffragette movement in Wales and one of the founders of the Cardiff branch, four years after her appointment as Professor (1908). The first branch in Wales of the movement to win the vote for women was founded in Llandudno in 1907. This was followed by branches in Rhyl and Cardiff (1908); and Anglesey and Bangor (1912).

In the 1918 General Election women were nominated as Parliamentary candidates for the first time. There were seventeen women candidates in Britain, but only one stood for a Welsh constituency, namely Prof. Mackenzie (Labour) for the University of Wales seat. She was unsuccessful.

Progress on women’s votes was slow. Enfranchised women over the age of thirty, provided they were local government electors, or the wives of local government electors, was awarded the vote 14 years after her appointment as professor (1918), three year after she had retired from her academic duties (1915). Women over 21 years old were granted the right to vote 24 years after her appointment (1928), 14 years before her death.
Having made a significant contribution in her work to Education; women in University life and the movement for equal voting rights, Professor Mackenzie died in Brockweir, near Chepstow on 10 December 1942.

To Millicent Hettie Mackenzie (nee Hughes) (1863-1942), I dedicate this #WOWWales tribute.

Professor Mackenzie, #WOWWales colleague, mentor and friend.

Who inspires you?

by Kelly Page


“Cardiff, it has been the most wonderful dream” – Sarah


When I first came to Cardiff on a University open day in 2007, rain soaked and fearful, I never expected that this would be the place that I would make my home. At the time I thought that Cardiff was just a place to study, and that after my undergraduate degree, I would move back to my real ‘home’.

And yet, four years later, I have fallen head over heels with Cardiff, and it is a love affair that looks set to continue as I have just accepted an offer of a postgraduate diploma in Broadcast Journalism right here in this beautiful city.

You see, after four wonderful years, Cardiff has become my true home. That may sound cliché, but it’s absolutely true.

In this city I have lived my life, and become an adult. I have gained my independence, experienced freedom for the first time, and learned how to cook.

In this city I have loved. I have held hands under the neon glare of Winter Wonderland, shared whispered dreams for the future and danced in the arms of lovers.

In this city I have explored. I have wandered through kitsch, rambling arcades, sought bargains and eaten strange foods in new restaurants. I have lost myself in the winding terraced streets of Cathays, and I have rowed on Roath Lake.

In this city I have laughed. I have made great friends, shared experiences and cried over good-byes. I have lounged in Bute Park, celebrated birthdays and said met some wonderful strangers.

In this city I have been inspired. I have marvelled at the beautiful University buildings, and stared in awe at the war memorial. I have been a journalist and I have let this city sculpt the experiences that I write about.

I have worked, played and learnt so much more about the kind of life that I want to have. And I have been very lucky to do all of that right here.

Cardiff, it has been the most wonderful dream. Thank you.

Sarah Powell graduated from Cardiff University in 2010, and has since spent a year working as Head of Student Media and gair rhydd Editor at Cardiff University Students’ Union. She is due to spend next year studying Broadcast Journalism, and generally contemplating whether life will exist without gair rhydd. She currently lives in Cathays, where she spends a lot of time drinking tea and trying to write. You can find her on twitter @sarah_powell.

Sarah was photographed in the gair rhydd offices in Cardiff University’s Student Union by Adam Chard