School gave me a change to travel …..uuuhm, I mean to study abroad. In the third year of my biotechnology study I had to do a practical trainee for five months. All students had to find a place themselves so we could decide what and where we wanted to go ourselves, great! I started writing applications to Australia, then New Zealand, …….Scotland, …………….Ireland ………………………………and when I was looking around in England I got a positive reaction from Wales.

My thoughts of five months in tropical heat, warm clear sea water, sandy beaches and walking barefoot all day changed abruptly into five months of rain, cold, endless grasslands and stony beaches with cold muddy sea water. But it wasn’t that bad, it wasn’t bad at all, I really enjoyed it! I did my trainee at the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research in Aberystwyth. During these five months I stayed in the village Penrhyn-coch.


In the weekends I didn’t sit still at all, there was a lot to explore. I showed my (racing) bike all little roads in the surroundings, drove it to the top of some hills ( I’m not used to these kind of changes in ground level so I was always proud to reach 300 meters or more, without walking!), cycled through streams that covered the normal road, put my bike in storage in ruins when I went off for a walk and NEVER got a leak tire! I did a lot of walking too, I really liked to go off the track and search for old mines, wells and big standing stones. Here in the Netherlands they break down all old buildings and clean up the area when not used but Wales is full of ‘mess’! A great place for adventurous walking. Hopping over streams, looking for interesting stones from the old mines, beautiful views from hill tops, steep cliffs, running after sheep, walking wherever you want without complaining people, or was I just lucky?

Aberystwyth is a really nice little town, owned by over 8000 students and surrounded by hills with sheep. The town used to be a marked town and seaport, a ruin of the 13 th century castle still stands. There is enough to see and to do in town to fill up many hours. On sunny or windy days the beach was a perfect place to read a good book and watching monkeys when I didn’t went out cycling or walking. Going to the pubs was a nice way to spend spare time as well, although it was a bit hard to follow all conversations, haha. Finally Welsh languish: “ Miliwn hwntw araf ysgrifenyddes y lleiaf o jẁg,” would be a grammatically perfect Welsh sentence.

Gwyneth, Mike, John, Jess, Ed, and all other people I met: thanks for giving me such a great time in Wales, Diolch ! I wouldn’t mind spending another few months in Aberystwyth!