Wales is a very small country, part of the United Kingdom, often disregarded in favor of its much bigger and more well known neighbor: England. Wales, and Cardiff in particular, has however a lot to offer to expats and as far as i’m concerned it is a much better place to live than England.
Wales and England may be neighbors but life in Wales is completely different from life in England. The two countries have very different cultural background too. Wales and the Welsh share roots with other Celtic nations such as Ireland and some parts of France too (Brittany).
Coming from France living in Cardiff, Wales was a breeze, people there are among the friendliest i’ve ever met and they truly like to connect with others. You can build strong relationship with people in Wales.
And of course the fact that people are open (-armed and -minded) means that cultural barriers are quickly forgotten, differences are put aside or celebrated and it won’t take long before you become a member of the Welsh family.
The one serious obstacle is of course the Welsh language. Depending what you do in Wales, not knowing might not be too big a problem. It also depends where you live. In Cardiff, the capital, for instance English is the main communication language and you can totally get by without a word of Welsh. In other parts of the country however, Welsh is still very much the dominant language and you will need to speak it to get a job for instance.
As an expat coming from France living in Wales didn’t present much of a difficulty and the level of culture shock was minimal. I felt so welcomed from the start that I managed to make a home there for the whole 3 years I lived in Cardiff.
To this day Wales is the one country in Europe I would gladly call home again if I had to. I highly encourage you give it some thoughts if you’re considering moving to the UK.
And if you need help I would be more than happy to share my experience and help put you in contact with some awesome people there. Drop me a line anytime with your questions and I promise i’ll get back to you.
Settling down in Wales is fairly easy, there is a strong sense of community in almost every city, even in the biggest one: Cardiff. People will soon notice your presence and make efforts to integrate you within the community, you will get invited to socialise and before you know it you’ll have a nice little group of friends.
I lived in Cardiff for 3 years starting in 2006 but i’ve had connections with Wales since way before that time. Friendship I made during my teenage years are still going strong to his day. Every time I return to Wales it’s like going back home to my family. Indeed many people I have met in Wales are like family members to me.
Ever since I left the UK and Europe I’ve met many people who get stars in their eyes when they learn I’ve lived in the UK. To those who asked me for advice I always recommend going to Wales, whether you want to go on holidays, you want a place to practice and improve your English, you want to study or work: go to Wales. If Cardiff is not for you, try Swansea.
Wales may be a small country but it’s big on adventure, excitement, discovery, history… it’s so much more than you may imagine. Check out those 5 cities in Wales:
If you love life, people and rugby then Cardiff, Wales if the perfect city for you.
You can also try Swansea, a city that is all about the sea.
For short holidays, Tenby and its picturesque coloured houses is a must.
The whole Cardigan Bay area will no doubt surprise you and make you fall in love with Wales.
And if you’re into hiking, climbing and super panorama views from high up there, then you must add Mount Snowdon, the highest peak in the UK, to your list.
Have you ever been to Wales? Did you know this small country had so much to offer?