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Francesca Andreacchio and Oliver Stutz spent their semester abroad (autumn semester 2014) at Swansea University. In this post, they talk about the city, its people and the local lifestyle (from pubs to football).

The weather in South Wales might not be the reason to come here. The constant drizzle can get you really soaked. Nevertheless, there are good reasons to visit this area. Bear in mind that Swansea is a city on a small scale. It is not much bigger than Winterthur, but as a huge plus, there is this breath-taking seashore.

Take a walk on the beach near the city centre, or go to Gower Peninsula, where you’ll have a view of spectacular cliffs and marvellous beaches. Rhossili Bay, with its three miles of gorgeous sand and coastline, is said to be Britain’s best beach. While the best time to go swimming is from July to September, the views and the atmosphere of the impressive landscape can be enjoyed all year round. Since outdoor activities tend to be a bit of a freezing experience, especially in winter, you’ll find cosiness in one of the countless pubs in the Swansea area. For the Welsh, visiting a pub is a social activity for the young and the old. People tend to be very sociable here in Swansea, as well as extremely friendly and helpful. Nowadays, a lot of pubs are run by big businesses, but there are still some independent public houses providing tasty local ales and heart-warming live music.

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Besides that, many pubs show live sports, mainly football. Swansea City AFC is the pride of Swansea. The ‘Swans’ are the only Welsh Premier League team, and they are doing quite well. Watching top-flight football in the great atmosphere of the Liberty Stadium is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss out on, even if you are not a football enthusiast. Locals praise the club for its positive influence on the city’s reputation and development. In September 2014, the film ‘Jack to a King – The Swansea Story’ was released in Britain. The documentary shows “the rebirth of a neglected, provincial football club into genuine Premier League contenders” and “is both a romantic modern day fairy tale and a gripping thriller of a story” as its associate producer said in the South Wales Evening Post. The film conveys the Swansea mentality entertainingly and goes straight to the emotions.

Furthermore, Swansea is a great place to study. Swansea University was ranked in the UK’s Top 50 universities, and was listed as one of the Top 15 universities for quality of life. So, you do not only find a renowned educational institution here in Swansea, but you’ll also experience the perks of student life in a positive environment. However, the friendliness and tranquility of the people you meet in this city might well be its best feature. Come to Swansea and you’ll be welcomed warmly.