Overseas university spotlight: Swansea University (UK)
Updated: May 23
Beach life isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind when students think about studying at a university in the UK, but Swansea University in Wales just happens to be one of the closest universities to a beach in the world.
There are two campuses in fact: Singleton Park (home to psychology, zoology, marine biology, law, genetics) and the Bay Campus (a newer, smaller campus built in 2016 and home to engineering, computer science, business management, economics and math).
Both campuses flank opposite sides of the city of Swansea, only a short bus ride away (and I'm told Wind Street -- pronounced Wine -- is the popular student hangout besides Swansea Bay Beach).
Both campuses also have housing on site, and although a shuttle bus runs between the two, most students will have classes at only one of the campuses.
Two-thirds of all Swansea Uni students (approximately 12,000) study at the Singleton Park campus, which just celebrated its 100th year anniversary in 2020 (the foundation stone was laid by King George V).
Although it's the larger of the two, it's still only a 10-minute walk from one side of campus to the other, so it's relatively compact.
It's also the campus I got to visit in May 2022, and here are some of the highlights from that day!
Swansea Uni is made up of 19,000 students and is an excellent choice for students looking to study marine biology, a highly practical degree that gives students access to unique habitats such as exposed rocky shores, steep cliffs salt marshes and estuarine mudflats.
Students will learn from inspirational and internationally-renowned academics Professor Rory Wilson (Chief Scientific Consultant behind National Geographic’s Great Migrations) and Dr Richard Unsworth (advisor on the globally acclaimed BBC series Blue Planet II).
The Gower Peninsula is also right on the doorstep and was deemed the UK's first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty due to its limestone coast and variety of natural habitats.
But you don't have to be a marine biology student to benefit from this location; beachgoers are happy to learn that Swansea beaches have been rated as some of the best in the world, receiving the Blue Flag Award for cleanliness and safety.
Nearby, Mumbles Beach is just four miles away and is another popular spot to spend the day; I recommend walking the pier, grabbing a fish and chips from Copperfish and an ice cream cone from Joe's, a Swansea institution!
Swansea Uni is also home to the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, named after the former US Secretary of State in recognition of her political career, commitment to human rights and of her ancestral connections with Swansea.
She actually returns regularly to Swansea to meet with law school colleagues and scholars and to deliver speeches and lectures.
Lastly, another highlight to the Swansea campus was checking out the Egypt Centre, a free museum focused on preservation, teaching, learning and widening participation across diverse populations.
The centre benefitted from receiving 80% of Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome's personal collection (4,500 artefacts).
They believe in object-based learning with a hands-on approach with the idea that you can't fully learn about an object if you can't pick it up and look around at it from all angles.
With that being said, we were allowed to pick up and touch the head of an Egyptian queen that could very well be Cleopatra herself and a very rare intricate collar necklace.
Swansea University - Summary
Swansea is the second largest city in Wales and one of the most affordable university cities in the UK.
The university has a comprehensive set of courses to choose from, and its two beachfront campuses offer a unique student experience with access to the stunning Welsh coastline.