Overseas university spotlight: Cardiff Metropolitan University (UK)
One of the best things about higher education in the UK is that there is truly a place for everyone, and Cardiff Metropolitan University in the capital city of Wales is no exception.
Its mission is to serve and give back to the community in which it's located and was named the UK/Ireland Times Higher Education 'University of the Year' in 2021.
Originally formed as an art and design school, Cardiff Met offers a variety of courses that are practice-based and career-focused, in addition to offering strong sports programs for student athletes.
With around 12,000 students in total, it's on the smaller side for a UK university, and with students split across two campuses, it did feel even smaller.
So it was no surprise to see that staff and students alike walking around were on a first-name basis with each other.
And when it comes to admissions, it's also one of the more flexible UK universities, truly evaluating each student's qualifications on a case by case basis; U.S. students may not need to have any AP's to receive an offer.
I was fortunate to visit both of its campuses in May 2022, and here are some of the highlights!
About 10 minutes by car outside Cardiff city centre, this campus is home to Education, Social Policy and Sport & Health Sciences.
From the moment you step foot on the campus, you immediately get a sense of the sportiness of the students, who seem to be either coming or going from the gym or practice.
There are plenty of world-class athletic facilities right there, which play host to some pretty top competitions and are open to all students--elite or otherwise.
Psychology of sport is one of the larger and popular programs at this campus, but students can also study sport management (managing events, volunteers, HR, etc.), sports media (how to tell the stories within sports), sport coaching and more.
All the sporting facilities also have cameras that link back to a control room and record performances for analysis, and they also have their own channel, Cardiff Met Sport TV.
But it's not all sport here; in fact, students aren't allowed on the pitch if they're not achieving passing grades in their classes.
Other facilities on campus include a place to eat, on-site housing, a bar and--would you believe, Starbucks!
About 10 minutes to the northwest side of the city is Cardiff Met's Llandaff campus, which is home to Art & Design, Management, also Sport & Health Sciences and Technology.
Did you know? "Llan" in Welsh means "church," and many town names in Wales actually begin with "Llan" to signify the enclosed land around the area of the local church!
This campus has undergone million-pound investments recently and has particularly impressive facilities for art and design in areas like fashion, product design and ceramics.
Its focus is on social responsibility, sustainability and inclusivity; three areas that I personally find interesting.
Overall, Cardiff Met is great option for someone looking to play sports at a high level, study a sports-related subject or a degree with a more practical, hands-on focus such as art and design (rather than a more academic/research course).
Its small campuses create a more intimate community feel, but students are still close to a major metropolitan city with lots to do.