Cardiff has managed to strike a balance between urban life and tranquil nature, and also has the largest per capita inner city park area in the UK. During your stay, be sure to visit the castle, which is right in the heart of the city and is a memorable reminder of the city's history 2,000 years ago.
The friendliest places to stay for international students
Here's advice on the friendliest places to stay for international students in Cardiff.
Where is your dormitory?
When studying in the UK in Cardiff, you should rest assured because this is an extremely friendly city for international students. The Cardiff people are cheerful, ready to chat and give directions to others – the perfect match for newcomers.
Whether you want to live in a dormitory (most international students live in a dormitory during their first year of study) or find a home, there is truly something for everyone.
As a small city, here you can walk to local shops, pubs, hair salons, gyms….
Living in a dorm is not required during your first year of college, however, it is a great way to meet someone new and adjust to society. Dormitories often hold “Welcoming Week” events, commonly known as “Freshers’ Week” to welcome new students and introduce roommates.
There are hostels right in the center and spread out beyond the city center. You should know where your university is located, as well as the area you would like to live in.
Looking for a more bustling and livelier area? Cathays is your best choice.
This area is packed with students, and is located right next to Cardiff University so it is ideal for those who don't want to have to study far away.
If you prefer quieter areas with specialized shops and markets, Roath is a good choice.
Anna Loka, one of the most loved lunch places in Cardiff. Serves 100% vegetarian food and if you have a chance to go there you must try the bacon sandwich. A recently opened zero-waste store, Ripple, is another Roath highlight. The store sells everything from laundry detergent to noodles and clothes.
When you live in the center, you can easily access shopping malls, entertainment areas, markets and experience the nightlife.
Some universities also have lecture halls here, for example the University of South Wales and Cardiff University.
To decide where to live, look for places close to where you study and then decide what kind of area you'd like to live in. Finally, consider the factors that matter most to you.
Even if you don't live close to where you study, Cardiff's transport system is great for getting around quickly.
Transport system in Cardiff
Cardiff's transport system makes it very convenient to get to parts of the city, with buses, trains and bicycles available (if you want to get some exercise by commuting!)
Buses around the city are called “Cardiff Bus”, and are very recognizable with their orange or green design. You can also buy a single pass, a weekly pass, or if you are between the ages of 16 and 21, you can buy a bus pass with a 30% discount on all tickets.
Met Rider buses run from Cardiff city center to facilities in the city and also to the residence halls.
Each university will have different rates for bus passes, so when studying in the UK, keep an eye out for Freshers' Week for more information. If you study at Cardiff University or the University of South Wales (campus is in the center) you don't need a bus pass as these are very close to the centre.
Sometimes it's easier and faster to take the train around Cardiff, especially if it's very frequent.
Cardiff has four main stations, so you can easily go anywhere within or outside of Cardiff to explore further. Train tickets are quite affordable, especially if you have a 'young people train pass'. You can apply for this card if you are between the ages of 16 and 25, when you have this card you get 1/3 off the fare.
This train pass is especially handy if you're traveling long distances.
Keep an eye out for Cardiff's bike-sharing system, Next Bikes.
To rent a bike from Next Bike for the day, it will cost you £1 per 30 minutes, up to £10 for 24 hours. There are Next Bike stations all over the city, which you can easily find with their distinctive dark green color. There is also an app to park bikes and pay bike rental.
When you arrive at the school, ask if the school has a discount on Next Bikes. There are bike paths throughout the city, some on the main road as well as some completely free of motor vehicles. These roads tend to be in parks.