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Few countries are as steeped in myth and mystique as Wales. From the castles dotting the lush landscape to the inimitably unique Welsh language, this tiny country west of England is home to a much richer and varied culture than its relatively diminutive size might imply. And though it is only 'about 274 km (170 miles) long and 97 km (60 miles) wide,' Wales nonetheless possesses one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the world. From the highest mountains to the most dramatic waterfalls, tourists, students, and locals alike can do little but stare in awe at the otherworldly surroundings.
Culturally, Wales is a fascinating amalgam of its own indigenous ways and the influence of its larger neighbor to the east. It has, however, managed to preserve 'its own distinctive culture, including its language, holidays, and music.' It is music, however, for which Wales is most famous. This is likely a result of the musical nature of the Welsh language itself, which is 'one of only [six] Celtic languages that survive in the world today.' It is a mellifluous language, and its completely unique sounds and musical rhythms seem perfectly suited to musical performance.
Wales is also famous for its role in the development of English-language literature. Dylan Thomas, one of the single most important poets of the 20th century, was Welsh, and many of his poems, such as "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," live on today and continue to be read and admired. Other famous Welsh writers include the novelist Martin Amis (born in Swansea), Roald Dahl (raised in Cardiff), and Ken Follett (born in Cardiff).
The history of Wales goes back many thousands of years. It 'has been inhabited for around 28,000 years. But it is the influences of the Celts and the English that are probably most keenly felt today.' This Celtic influence began around 600 B.C.E. and continues to a great extent even today. As a result, visitors and students alike stand to learn a great deal from touring around the country. Some of the most popular sites include Dolwyddelan Castle, the Llechwedd Slate Caverns, and the restaurants and shops of Cardiff and Swansea. Of course, the options for visitors are limitless, and for students living in the country, there exists the wonderful opportunity to really explore this fascinating and beautiful place.
Attending college in Wales is an excellent option for students with a sense of adventure and a love of the whimsical. There are dozens of colleges and universities to choose from when considering a full-time scholastic residency in Wales, and any one of them will provide an excellent education. The real decision is what you'd like to specialize in, and whether you prefer a more urban or rural setting for your four years of school. Of course, as with any college experience, it is vital to visit the universities yourself and experience them first-hand in order to make the most informed decision possible. Standouts, however, include Cardiff University and Swansea University.
No matter where you choose to study in Wales, the experience will reward you in ways you may never have imagined. From the natural beauty of the country itself to the long and fascinating history to the top notch universities, you can do nothing but gain and grow from choosing to study full-time in Wales.
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