Sis is going to Wales to student teach.
July 3, 2005 5:31 PM   Subscribe

My sister will be student teaching in Caerleon, Wales this fall.

She (42), my mom (70) and her son (4) will be going. Mom's going mainly as childcare, but she's too scared to be driving over there. Sis seems to be looking forward to it, mom's less excited. It's still not clear what the schooling situtation will be for my nephew.

Anything they should be looking out for?
posted by Marky to Education (10 answers total)
What are you asking for? Things to see and do, or general advice about living in Wales?
posted by Rothko at 5:45 PM on July 3, 2005

How do you mean? You posted this to education -- do you mean looking out for educationally?
posted by bonaldi at 5:51 PM on July 3, 2005

Anything they should be looking out for?

They may be tempted to try a beer called "Brains SA" but they should not do this under any circumstances. Especially your nephew and your mum.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:48 PM on July 3, 2005

Re-assure mom that, roundabouts aside, it needn't be scary to drive in Britain. In my opinion Brits are much better drivers than Americans. It has something to do with the stringent nature of our driving tests (I was shocked at how easy it was to pass a California test.)

I think the main challenge will be understanding any local accents you may come across in Wales!
posted by skylar at 10:51 PM on July 3, 2005

Don't worry about the accents - Caerleon is about 30 miles from the English Border.

You can find information about schooling on the Newport County Council webpage.

Caerleon is probably the nicest suburb of Newport, which was voted one of the crappest towns in the UK.

Caerleons Highlights:

1) Roman Amphitheater
2) At least 14 pubs in a mile walk
3) er..

Ignore Major Curley - everyone should try Brains SA (known as Skull Attack) once, but only once ;)

If you want more info, drop me an email (address in my profile).
posted by voon_42 at 1:20 AM on July 4, 2005

I didn't drive in Britain, but my dad did, and well, I thought I was going to die the first few hours in the car. And I don't want to scare your mom, but she should be aware that some of the roads in Wales are really skinny compared to roomy American standards, and you have to be able to work the stick-shift with your left hand.
posted by jetskiaccidents at 8:46 AM on July 4, 2005

If the manual transmission is likely to be a problem in your left hand then you could always use an automatic.

Also, you could always hire a driving instructor for an hour or two just to build up confidence and pick up on whatever differences there may be. It shouldn't be expensive to do so.

I'm sure they'll soon settle in.
posted by edd at 9:05 AM on July 4, 2005

If you're driving in South Wales, beware the cameras! They're everywhere: mobile and fixed. Safest is to obey the speed limits at all times, otherwise you will get snapped. The area became notorious a few years back for banning a whole group of rally drivers that didn't knwo about them. Indeed, Caerleon has an exceedingly bleak Magistrate's Court that I have had occasion to visit because of those cameras.

In general, and not wanting to put you off, Newport and its environs are unremittingly grim. Once you get into the countryside, however, the scenery is beautiful. From what I remember, Newport has the dubious distinction of being both the murder capital (per capita) and teenage-mother (per capita) capital of the UK. I'd have to say that that's indicative of just about all there all is to do there.

In that area, perhaps because of the proximity to England, there isn't a lot of love for the English. I knew an ex-Para who was too scared to go drinking in Newport on a Saturday night. Happy times.
posted by veedubya at 9:41 AM on July 4, 2005

I spent three years at the college in Caerleon (back when it housed an experimental art school), but left in 1989, so my observations are probably fifteen years out of date. Still, I'll throw them out in case they're useful, but take them with a lot of salt:
  1. I just spent a year in Kiel in northern Germany, and just before I left someone asked how I felt about it and I said that it was a difficult town to get nostalgic for. Newport is like that, too.
  2. Cardiff and Bristol are fairly close by train, which is a good thing. See whether it's possible and affordable to commute from either (Bristol always seems to be a happening town. Newport doesn't really happen, it just occurs).
  3. In those days, Caerleon was still just about separate from Newport, although I can see that the suburban creep will have continued. Caerleon would be a nicer place to live, but not a lot happens there and one would definitely need to drive to get anywhere else (there are buses, but that very quickly becomes depressing, believe me). If they have to live in Newport, I think the rule of thumb is the further from sea level the better. And one would probably need to drive to get to the college.
  4. The countryside is beautiful around there, and (again if you have a car) it's possible to get to places like Hay on Wye or Big Pit and day or weekend trips into Wales and the South-West of England.
  5. It may be a lot nicer now than it used to be, though apparantly not.
  6. Don't go to Pill.

posted by Grangousier at 9:54 AM on July 4, 2005

Tell them to go watch some rugby! It's a great sport and it'll endear her to her students.
posted by ascullion at 3:08 PM on July 4, 2005

« Older Chihuahua Stoned   |   Is it OK to break Tylenol in half? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.