When you usually reach 40, you would expect a pair of socks or a bottle of wine as a gift.  But when UMCA (Undeb Myfyrwyr Cymraeg Aberystwyth – Aberystwyth’s Union for Welsh Students) turned 40 last week, the celebrations seemed never ending!  As they say, life begins at 40!  Here’s a little taste of the celebrations…

Sŵn: Pen-blwydd Hapus UMCA!  (Sŵn: Happy Birthday UMCA!)

Sŵn, a night of Welsh music up in the Union, is traditionally held once a month and by now Sŵn is one of the Unions most successful events.  As we had already had our “last official” Sŵn of the year, it was nice to have another one thrown for good measure.  With everybody up for a party, it was a night to remember.  It was great to see the geriatrics or hasbins out as well – Miriam showing that Postgraduate students still know how to have a good time!


Gŵyl UMCA 40 (UMCA 40 Festival)

Where else would you find Geraint Løvgreen a’r Enw Da, Y Bandana, Vanta, Blaidd, Yr Eira, Catrin Herbert, Breichiau Hir, Gwyryf, Radio Rhydd, Tymbal and Y Banditos under one roof I would like to see a Welsh language gig trying to better that the line up!  Clearly Aberystwyth still has the ability to stage some of the biggest events of the Welsh Rock scene.  A day to remember!

Gwyl UMCA40

Cinio cyn-lywyddion UMCA a chyn-wardeniaid Pantycelyn*

(Past UMCA Presidents and Past Pantycelyn Wardens Dinner*)

* The current UMCA committee also received an invitation!!

Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best nights I’ve had in Aberystwyth!  It was an honour to spend the night with people who have been so influential over the year.  On the other hand, I had no idea Cegin Pantycelyn could cook such posh food!  I even had to google “spicy ham hock terrine” – not quite your usual supper at Pantycelyn!

Cinio cyn-lywyddion a chyn wardeniaid UMCA40

Arddangosfa UMCA a Phantycelyn ar hyd y blynyddoedd

(Exhibition: UMCA and Pantycelyn over the years)

And what a better way to round off the celebrations that with an exhibition highlighting UMCA’s exploits over the past 40 years.  It was encouraging to see Pantycelyn comfortably full with everybody nosing and reminiscing about UMCA’s achievements.  It’s hard to believe the number of protests and rallies that have taken place over the years.  They include…

  • Establishing a Welsh Union
  • Ensuring equality from the Guild (now the Students Union)
  • The Queen’s visit (well… planned visit) to the University
  • Establishing the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol
  • Campaign to ‘Achub Pantycelyn’ (Save Pantycelyn)

John Davies - Cyn-warden Pantycelyn

There’s a lot of talk about people suffering from a Mid Life Crisis when they turn 40 … but I doubt UMCA’s planning on having a mid-life crisis in near future!

Wednesday the 2nd of July– remember the date.  Aberystwyth University’s Open Day.  If you’re considering or have already applied for a place at University, make sure you visit an Open Day at Aberystwyth.  For those of you, like me, who are glued to the Football World Cup, you’d be glad to know that there aren’t any games played on the 2nd of July– so there’s no excuse for missing the Open Day!

Diwrnod Agored2

Why would you attend?

Three years is a very long time, especially if you’re unhappy.  So it is important to make sure that you chose a University that fits your character and personality.  You could take my word that Aberystwyth is the best place in the world to be a student, but there’s no replacement to visiting the town and seeing for yourself.

What to visit?

A number of general and departmental talks have been scheduled during the day.  With so many interesting and informative talks taking place, it’s usually a good idea to plan your visit before you arrive.  You would benefit from visiting libraries, computer resources and laboratories (if you want to study a lab based subject) whilst you’re here – this would give you a better feel of the facilities and an opportunity to nose around!  The National Library has been like a second home to me this year!  Even if it does rain, I’d suggest going on a Campus Tour – this is a fantastic way to meet and chat with current students.  And if it’s sunny enough, make sure you get an ice cream on the Sea front before returning home… a great way to end the day.
Diwrnod Agored1

5 Points to remember

  • Talk to Current Students – this is the best way to get an unbiased opinion about the Courses and the University
  • Talk to the lectures – although this may seem a little scary, they are there to help and give advice.  This is the best way to gain in-depth information about the courses
  • Visit the town – this is the best say to experience the atmosphere of Aberystwyth
  • Attend a Campus Tour – Get a taste of the unique nature of the campus and you’ll soon find out that everywhere is just a stone’s throw away
  • Enjoy!


Useful questions to ask

  • Will you have to sit a lot of exams, write a lot coursework, or a combination of both?
  • What kind of cooking and washing facilities are available?
  • How safe is Aberystwyth
  • How much is the rent each week?
  • Is there a good social life to be found?

Have a safe journey, and I might see you around Aberystwyth on the 2nd of July!