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An inside look at student life at Cardiff Metropolitan University

LIFEIN HALLS Third year Gemma talks living in Plas Gwyn & shares her survival tips

HowtoEat LikeaStudent Our bloggers share their top picks for student eats

GettingDown toBusiness Textiles student Jenny tells us how she set up her own business

Insider’sGuide toOpenDays Student Ambassador Ieaun explains how to get the most out of Open Days

CONTENTS 1 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16

WELCOME TO YOUR #CARDIFFMETMAG LIFE IN HALLS Third year Dental Technology student Gemma talks about her experiences living in Plas Gwyn Halls and shares her survival tips A DAY IN THE LIFE Elite Basketballer Judit talks us through a typical day studying Sport and Exercise Science and playing for Cardiff Met Archers HOW TO EAT LIKE A STUDENT Third year creative writing student Jess Shelley and our other bloggers share their top picks for student eats in Cardiff INSIDER’S GUIDE TO OPEN DAYS Early Childhood Studies third year and Student Ambassador Ieaun shares his tips for the ultimate Open Day experience GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS Second year Textiles student Jenny talks entrepreneurship and setting up her own business while at uni ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY Biomedical Science third year Jason takes us away from the hustle and bustle of Cardiff life for a trip to the Brecon Beacons national park GET STUCK IN! Student Union Vice President and Cardiff Met FC goalkeeper Will Fuller explains how to make the most of the SU THE ITALIAN JOB Computer Science third year Jake gives us the lowdown on his year spent working in Florence

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WELCOME TO #CARDIFFMETMAG You’ve read the prospectus, visited the website and watched the videos - maybe you’ve even been to an open day - but what’s it really like studying at Cardiff Met?

You can get even more in-depth and authentic views of Cardiff Met life on our student blogs website. Our bloggers post about every aspect of their experience at the University, from study to sport to socialising.

We think the best people to tell you are our students. In this second edition of #CardiffMetMag, we’ve asked students from a wide range of courses and backgrounds to write about life at Cardiff Met from their point of view.

Find out all about field trips at home and abroad, learn about life in halls, get insider tips and discover what it’s like to live and study in the Welsh capital. Visit to read the latest posts.

#CARDIFFMET You can also follow #CardiffMet and #CardiffMetTakeover on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get even more of a feel for student life in and around Cardiff.

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LIFEIN HALLS Living in Plas Gwyn BSc Dental Technology Student and Third Year Warden Gemma Carolan talks about her experience of life in Plas Gwyn Halls and shares her survival tips.

Halls life is an important part of the university experience and it is a great way of meeting so many new and different people - I have loved every minute. I’m originally from Ireland so before coming to Cardiff, I did not know the city or how to get around, but I’ve settled in very well. I have lived in Plas Gwyn halls for my three years at Cardiff Met, as I decided to stay on as a student warden for my second and third year. I really like the location as it’s near to the Llandaff campus where I study, and everything I need is within walking distance - including my part time job in the local village of Llandaff.


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5 TOP TIPSFOR SURVIVINGLIFE IN HALLS 1 At the beginning, remember everything is new to everyone You’re not the only one. Be friendly and outgoing. Talk to as many people in the first few weeks as you can, as it soon settles down and people get into their routines.

2 Use all the facilities on offer At Plas Gwyn, there is an IT suite that is great to get some late night essay writing done. There’s also a games room with a 50inch TV and pool table, perfect for a movie night with the flatmates or watching the rugby.

3 It is ok to be homesick at times I rarely get homesick myself, but I’ve lived with people that miss home a lot more than me, as it’s their first time away from family. If you find yourself in this situation, be supportive of them - maybe distract with a shopping trip to town. After all, it could be you needing some support the following week.

4 Always try to be tidy There’s always that one flatmate who leaves their dirty plates out for a week and trust me it annoys everyone. So do your washing up and hoover now and again!

5 Go to class, and stay awake Life will be easier if you stay on top of your work. Don’t let it all build up. That way you will still be able to do other things you want and not stress about the work you are meant to be doing.

Being a student warden means I have some more responsibility, but I still have plenty of time for socialising. One of my favourite parts of the role is meeting new students during fresher’s and moving everyone into their flats. Life in Plas Gwyn is never quiet and the social side of life in halls is not to be missed - though earplugs are useful when you want a quiet night in! It’s also been great that everything is included in the rent, so there were no extra bills to pay for Wi-Fi or heating. We also have great accommodation staff on-site at Plas Gwyn. They’re always friendly and happy to help with anything - from being locked out of my flat to maintenance issues.

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ADAYIN THELIFE Judit Fritz is a third year BSc Sports Science and Exercise student. She also plays for the Cardiff Met Archers, competing in the elite Women’s British Basketball League. This is her typical day.

As my alarm goes off at 8am, I turn onto my side and decide that it’s time to change the song again. No matter which song you choose, you always end up loathing it don't you? Oh well. Now I know 8am doesn’t sound too bad, but training didn’t finish till quite late yesterday and when I first wake up I'm always convinced my body could use some more sleep! If I can't sneak a little extra, then I'm a firm believer that coffee will always sort me out! Sure enough one big cup later I’m ready to take on the day. I pack everything I’ll need, run through my schedule again in case I’ve forgotten about something and get going. Listening to some tunes while walking up the hill to Cyncoed Campus really starts my day off properly. I get to Campus a bit before my seminar and that gives me just enough time to have a quick catch-up with friends. There's always someone to say hello to in the Students' Union or in Bench café. The seminar starts at 10am and flies by - the next time I check my watch it's five to eleven! I like these seminar settings because they give us the opportunity to understand the lecture contents better and to discuss specific questions that we have. At 11 I’m off and running through campus as I have S&C - strength and conditioning training - in NIAC (the National Indoor Athletics Centre). Playing basketball and being in a 'focus group' gives me the opportunity to attend these sessions. We work very hard. My S&C coaches Chris and Dai are really pushing us today, although I don't think there is anybody who can push me harder than myself. It’s a great hour in the gym, and I leave feeling strong and pretty exhilarated.


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of an Archer

My psychology lecture is at 12. I arrive 2 minutes late so try my best not to make a sound when I enter the lecture theatre. It's not so easy to tiptoe after an S&C session! I slip onto the closest seat and start taking notes. This lecture seems to finish quickly as well. I'm doing my dissertation in psychology; perhaps a little extra concentration contributes to this 'speeding-up'? After the lecture, I have time to grab lunch with my friends before heading on to my dissertation meeting. I love these meetings. I so often arrive there needing clarification about something I have learned and with many questions in my head, but I always end up leaving feeling great about my project and ready to work on it. This is what I like the most about this uni; everybody here from the lecturers and tutors to the programme directors is so keen to help you. Next I have 2 hours to work on my dissertation in the Social Learning Space. After my dissertation meeting the words and ideas are really flowing! I'm making such good progress, I almost don’t want to leave for training. Almost. Training is what I need to finish off the day. I cannot wait to see my teammates, catch up with them and have a great session. We work on so many things, but the two hours seems like nothing, as I'm doing what I love. I get very competitive as usual, but it’s all good because my teammates match me in it - we're as competitive on the court as we are good friends off it. One of my teammates gives me a lift home. I've got to say that I really appreciate it! After a full day on campus, doing S&C and training for two hours, there's only one thing left to do... Relax!

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like a student

Our bloggers bust the myth that students live on instant noodles and greasy takeaways with a list of their favourite student-friendly Cardiff eats…


(3rd Year English Literature & Creative Writing) Milgi Vegetarian/vegan City Road, Roath Nestled between a bank and a cake shop on the street corner of City Road, a bright green building stands out among the industrial. A string of awards is aligned down the door. Milgi is like the Tardis; a curious thing to behold and small on the outside, but what lays within is larger beyond measure. On entering, you will find a cosy glow of fairy lights that will re-adjust your mood to a sense of calmness. Quirky decor is scattered around within the furniture and decorations setting a unique atmosphere to dine in. On the menu, you will find all kinds of delicious food to make your taste buds dance - a spiced cauliflower and butterbean burger, sweet potato and coconut soup, cinnamon doughnuts, lemon curd cake - all of which


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will leave you bedazzled, full, and yearning to taste every single item within the kitchen. To quench your thirst you can find smoothies, different sorts of fresh pressed lemonade, creative cocktails and warm beverages such as the chilli hot chocolate. If you’re looking for a relaxing location between studies or just somewhere unexpectedly refreshing and new, then head to Milgi. If you’re still not sure, there is a tipi hut in the back - and did I mention… all of the food is entirely healthy, vegetarian and in many cases vegan friendly?! That piece of cake doesn’t look so bad now, huh? The spiced cauliflower and butter bean burger is my personal favourite.

Irie Shack Caribbean Woodville Road, Cathays/ James Street, Cardiff Bay


(3rd Year Biomedical Science)

There are two Irie Shack branches in Cardiff, but the Cathays branch is the one nearest uni. It has an amazing atmosphere with great music including steel drums. The food is excellent and you definitely get value for your money. They serve all kinds of Caribbean favourites like jerk chicken and goat curry. The Brown stew Chicken. This dish is amazing and will give you a real authentic Caribbean taste.

Coco Gelato Ice cream parlour Woodville Road, Cathays This dessert parlour in Cathays is my favourite place to eat out in Cardiff. There are lots and lots of different flavours of ice cream to choose from, and you can just take out or eat in with one to 27 scoops! They also do amazing waffles and pancakes. It’s ideal for a nice catch up with friends as the atmosphere is very chilled and relaxing.


(3rd Year Ceramics)

The salted caramel ice cream with the strawberry sorbet - so yummy!

Juno Lounge Pub grub Wellfield Road, Roath This adorable yet funky café/restaurant has so much to offer - it serves the world’s BEST pancakes with bacon (my favourite breakfast ever!) and freshly squeezed juices - always goes down great.


(3rd Year Sports & Exercise)

I have visited Juno Lounge on many occasions and the staff are always so friendly and fun, I also love that it has a terrace so you can have breakfast al fresco. Those pancakes and bacon of course! So good.

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INSIDER BA Education Studies/Early Childhood Studies third year Ieaun has been a Cardiff Met student ambassador for almost 3 years, so he knows his stuff when it comes to Open Days. Here are his tips for getting the best out of yours...

You’re absolutely doing the right thing by attending an Open Day uni is the place that you are going to spend the next 3 years, if not longer. If you don’t like the city or the institution you are not going to have a good student experience. And after all, would you buy a brand new car without looking under the bonnet? While I can talk about how I think you should spend your Open Day, don’t forget that every one is different, and what you want to gain from the day is unique to you. But there are a few things that I’d recommend to anyone.

2 Go on a tour Wherever your Open Day, you will almost certainly be offered a campus tour that gives you the chance to see the facilities that the uni has to offer. This may not seem important to you now, but you want to know that the institution has everything you need and want for your course. And as important as a campus tour is, it’s also really important that you visit halls of residence. It is always nice to see where you will be living for the first year of your degree.

1 Speak to the staff This is so important, because there’s lots you can’t tell from a prospectus or a website - the same course title could contain completely different modules at different universities. The staff you speak to will also be the people that teach you day-to-day when you start university, so it is not too early to build relationships - plus it’s nice to see a familiar face when you begin your course.


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’SGUIDE to Open Days 4 Be confident! Don’t be afraid to speak to other people at the same Open Day as you - who knows, you could be going to an Open Day at a different university next weekend, or you could all end up accepted onto the same course. They could become your close friends in a few months time.

3 Talk to the students There will be current students working there on the day - these are people that were in your position not too long ago, so pick their brains. They will tell you why they chose that university, what the course has to offer, and what the city is like. The good thing about asking them is that it makes no difference to students whether you choose the university they go to or not, so they will be one hundred percent truthful with you. They will want you have a university experience as enjoyable as theirs.

5 Ask lots of questions. And then ask some more. My last and maybe most important piece of advice would be to ask questions. You have to make the effort to attend that Open Day - you might have had to travel for hours - so why leave and still have questions at the back your mind? No question is silly, and no doubt if you have a question, someone else was wondering the same thing.

Overall, just remember to relax, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy your Open Day - it’s the start of your student life! #CardiffMet Magazine 2017


starting off in industry at Cardiff Met


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How did you get your start in business?

After applying to join Cardiff Met to study textiles, I suddenly realised I knew nothing about how to sew! So, two weeks before I moved to Australia for a gap year I bought a sewing machine and taught myself to use it. I made my first textiles piece as a goodbye gift to my Mum and took it to a gallery to be framed. They liked it and asked me to make more work for them. Ever since then my art career has spiralled. By the time I got to Cardiff Met, I was beginning to feel out of my depth. I had a few galleries beginning to sell my work on a regular basis and I had just been commissioned by the National Marine Aquarium to do a bespoke collection for them. I was overjoyed but also knew I needed to start pushing things to the next level, I just didn’t know where to start.

Jenny Evans is a 21-year-old textile designer and artist in her second year studying BA Textiles at Cardiff School of Art and Design. She also runs a thriving art business, Jenny Evans Designs. We asked Jenny all about how Cardiff Met helped her get started in the industry.


How did Cardiff Met help you with that?

The Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cardiff Met has been really useful. I was so excited when I heard about it, and immediately signed up to a whole host of talks so I could listen to industry professionals sharing their experiences. Hearing from them and learning from their mistakes has been immensely useful! Each talk was interesting and varied and I learned a huge amount from every one I attended. The industry professional talks and ‘Monthly Mingles’ really helped to build my confidence and networking skills, and after attending a few I started approaching other professionals. Over the last year I’ve been meeting with the team regularly for one-on-one meetings about how I could push my business to the next level. These meetings have revolutionised the way I think about my business.



What’s next for your business?

Last summer, in my hometown of Plymouth, I hired a studio with some of the profits I made selling my work, so I could continue to make money and build up my business during the break. I’m hoping to do the same again this year, but bigger and better! I really don’t know if I would be in this position without all the help the Entrepreneurship team at Cardiff Met gave me in my first year. They gave me the confidence to go out and ask for opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have thought of, and helped me tap in to customers I previously didn’t realise existed.

Did Cardiff Met’s industry links make a difference?

Definitely. Speaking to people who come from a business background, rather than an art one, has produced some really exciting new ways for me to think about how I should be selling my products. It helped me articulate a solid marketing plan, and understand the way I should market and spread the word about each new project that I do. During Conference Week in the School of Art, I struck up a conversation with Kevin Edge, who then subsequently introduced me to the British Dragonfly Society (BDS) and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) London Wetlands Centre. I am now going to be the artist in residence at the WWT site, and I have also been asked to produce an adult colouring book by the BDS. It just goes to show that as the Entrepreneurship team always say - networking is vital!


What’s been the most difficult thing about running your own business so far?

Probably the paperwork! After being commissioned by the National Marine Aquarium recently, I knew I needed to register as a sole trader with the taxman. Again, the Entrepreneurship team helped me - they talked me through how to do a tax return and file all my receipts properly.

It was daunting when I started, but they gave me an excel spreadsheet to use to help organise everything, and now taxes have become a breeze!

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ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY visiting the Brecon Beacons Third year BSc Biomedical Science student Jason Amartey left the hustle and bustle of Cardiff behind for a day to explore the spectacular Brecon Beacons National Park.


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5 MOREPLACES TO VISITNEAR US 1 Caerphilly Castle Distance from Cardiff Met: 7 miles (19mins) Built in the 13th century, Caerphilly Castle is the largest in Wales and the second biggest in the UK - and it’s been a regular filming location for Doctor Who.

2 Dan yr Ogof Caves Distance from Cardiff Met: 45 miles (60mins) This 17km long cave system is one of the biggest in Western Europe, and new passages are still being discovered - plus there’s a dinosaur park…

3 Rest Bay Distance from Cardiff Met: 28miles (39mins) Porthcawl’s Rest Bay is one of Wales’ top surfing and watersports destinations. This Blue Flag awarded beach is only 10 minutes off the M4.

4 St Fagans Distance from Cardiff Met: 5 miles (16mins) Take a walk through centuries of Wales’ history and culture at the open air museum of Welsh life - voted one of Trip Advisor’s top 10 free attractions in the UK.

5 Waterfall Country Distance from Cardiff Met: 39 miles (54mins) There are hundreds of waterfalls at the edge of the Brecon Beacons, including Sgwd Henrhyd, which doubled as the entrance to the Batcave in The Dark Knight Rises.

Five guys, a free Saturday, what do we do? Go to the Brecon Beacons of course. And that’s exactly what we did one weekend - got in a car and about an hour later there we were. The Brecon Beacons is one of the places you’ve just got to go to when living in Wales. With the range of mountains to climb and beautiful waterfalls to see, there are a lot of options for a fun day or even weekend out. We decided to go for the Pen-y-Fan climb; 886 metres of Welsh rock. It is the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park, and in the Southern UK. It wasn’t the easiest of walks but it was very exciting climbing up!

Getting to the top was even more exhilarating. It roughly took about 45 minutes to an hour to get up there, but it is really worth it to see the views. Walking back down was even shorter. The view up at the top is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen in my life. You can see a vast amount of Wales and even England (if you’re lucky). The journey back home in the car was the quietest we have ever been. We were all so tired we just chilled out as we blared Kanye West through the speakers. It was an exhausting walk but a very enjoyable day out with the lads - it’s a place I will definitely be going back to soon.

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making the most of the Students’ Union at Cardiff Met When I arrived at Cardiff Met a few years ago, I knew two things; I wanted to study sports science and I wanted to play football. Six years down the line and I’ve been lucky enough to do both of those things, and so much more than I could have ever imagined when I left home. For me, the University experience has been about my development in every area; academically, within sport, socially and on a personal level - and the Students’ Union has played a vital role in all of this.

The UMAX programme in particular (which is run by the Students’ Union) is one of the key reasons why I’ve ended up in the role of Vice President today. It’s also something which I made use of far later in my time at uni than I should have. UMAX offers a range of services to students a JobShop, a place to find volunteering opportunities, advice and support on a wide range of subjects, and The Cardiff Met Award, which is an initiative designed to boost students’ employability when they graduate.

Student Union Vice President and Cardiff Met FC goalkeeper Will Fuller explains how to make the most of the SU.


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I started attending the UMAX employability workshops in my effort to earn a Cardiff Met Award. Having the chance to attend these alongside studying for my Masters in Applied Sports Psychology really opened up my eyes to some of the shortfalls I had. Through the workshops, delivered by industry experts and paid for by the Students’ Union, I picked up lots of new skills, and they included things like the correct use of social media and networking tools like LinkedIn; how to perform in interviews; and how to deliver presentations. The experience really boosted my confidence and my network of contacts - investing a bit of time in myself professionally was one of the most valuable things I’ve

done since being at Uni, and I definitely feel more prepared to enter the world of work as a result. My involvement with the Students’ Union has played a big part in why I’ve enjoyed my time at Cardiff Met so much. I’m hugely grateful for the opportunities I have had to play sport, undertake training and development, socialise, and eventually end up in the role of Vice President. My top tip to any new student arriving at Cardiff Met would be to get involved with a society or club, and try as many new experiences as possible. Ask any graduate, and they will all tell you the same thing - you’ll never get a second chance to take up all of the opportunities that are offered to you whilst you’re at university, so get stuck in!

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THEITALIAN my year working in Europe

Final year BSc Computer Science student Jake recently returned from an ERASMUS work placement in Italy - but it wasn’t all lattes and sightseeing! Here’s his story of a year working in Europe:

Probably one of the fonder memories people have of being a student is packing a suitcase and heading off across the country to live in student accommodation. Between my second and third years, I decided to go a step further - I packed up a suitcase and backpack and headed off across the continent to do a traineeship at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Near the start of my course, 10 IT support roles were offered to us as part of an ERASMUS program to the BSc Computer Science students in my year. I decided to try for it and went for the interview at the beginning of December, which I felt went rather well.


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Then, on the 23rd December 2014 while doing my last minute Christmas shopping, I got an email from the work placement team telling me that I was being offered the role of User Support Technician. By July 2015, I was boarding a plane to take me the 800 miles across Europe to Pisa International Airport. My job was a standard tier 1 support role. This meant I dealt with software problems, broken hardware and everything else in between. One of the perks of the job was that you never knew what sort of thing you’d be dealing with each day. There would be days where we would be in the office all day sipping lattes and waiting for ‘tickets’ (jobs), and other days when it was all hands on deck.

Some of my more memorable jobs included replacing a phone while working around a team of chefs trying to cook lunch for a few hundred hungry researchers; resolving a problem between members of staff arguing over whether or not a Wi-Fi access point was a danger to their health; responding to a claim that ‘the wind’ had thrown a computer off a desk; dealing with a serious ransomware attack on one of the servers, and my favourite, which soon became infamous: “is my computer freezing up because it’s cold outside?” The work itself wasn’t that difficult as my general IT knowledge seemed to be up to par, although there were a few cases where I needed to ask for guidance or double check my assessment of a situation. There was plenty of support. The most challenging part of the placement (as you might expect) was living in a different country where the main language isn’t English. For someone who’s never lived away from home in his life, the culture shock did throw me for the first few weeks, but eventually I managed to find my feet, get settled in and just about survive the year with my limited Italian. It could still use some serious practice however! The year out has definitely been an interesting experience for me on a personal and professional level a lot has changed. The placement also made me consider looking for jobs in Europe as well as further afield after I graduate. But until that time comes, it’s back to my final year, drinking tea and programming until that dream opportunity presents itself!

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