Full name: Manon Fflur Thomas
Originally from: Pontrug, near Caernarfon
School/College for A Level: Ysgol Brynrefail
University course: Medicine
Why did you choose to study the degree subject?
I wanted a career where there is an opportunity to continue to learn all the time. I have been very interested in biology since I was very young, and I enjoy talking to a cross-section of people. I have always liked to set myself a challenge, and therefore the Medicine course is a challenge that I enjoy very much.
Why did you choose to study through the medium of Welsh?
I am determined to continue my career in Wales after graduating, and therefore I will certainly be dealing with Welsh-speaking patients on a regular basis. Even though there is a lack of Welsh language resources for the Medicine course, it is good to be able to reflect on my experiences through the medium of Welsh, and be able to discuss complicated work in my mother tongue. I am far more confident speaking Welsh than English, and therefore having the opportunity to learn in my first language makes work much easier. I believe that being bilingual is highly advantageous, and it's important to practice both languages regularly. I am very proud to be Welsh, and it's good to be able to raise awareness of the language amongst other students.
What's the best thing about studying a course partly through the medium of Welsh?
When I come across work that is more difficult than usual, it is good to be able to discuss what I don't understand through the medium of Welsh. I enjoy seeing Welsh-speaking patients too, and it's good to see their pleasure from being able to talk to a Welsh-speaking student. I feel that it is important to be able to practice my mother tongue regularly on a course that is taught mainly through the medium of English. Using Welsh while studying has been of great comfort to me as it gives me a sense of home, and it helps me to better understand the work.
Any advice for prospective students who are worried about studying through the medium of Welsh?
There is no need to study everything through the medium of Welsh, so there is no need to worry about being isolated from the rest of the students on your course. You will definitely be talking to a lot of people who only speak English, so there is no danger of you losing your English skills either. Studying through the medium of Welsh won't necessarily create more work for you, and it's great that you have the opportunity to discuss complicated things in your mother tongue – it makes things much easier, and it's a great way of building your confidence on a difficult and competitive course. There are plenty of Welsh-speaking mentors and tutors to support you at any time, and you are sure to form close bonds with other Welsh-speaking students who receive the scholarship.
Would you encourage others to apply for a Coleg Cymraeg scholarship and why?
Through the scholarship I have definitely had a much better opportunity to get to know the other Welsh language students on the course and have been able to work with them. It has been good to be able to write reflective and scientific pieces, as well as discussing work, through the medium of Welsh. It's a great way of building confidence and making the experience of starting university – going from a Welsh language community to the English language community of the course – less frightening.
Why did you apply to be an ambassador and what are you most looking forward to?
I feel that I have benefited greatly from being able to study aspects of my course through the medium of Welsh last year, and I remember the concerns I had abut being isolated from the majority of English-speaking students on my course, or of being at a disadvantage as a result of preparing work in Welsh. I now realise that there is no disadvantage at all; it's very advantageous in my opinion! I am sure that receiving the scholarship made my life in the first year much easier, and it has been good to be referred to Welsh-speaking university staff to handle and discuss matters of all kinds. I would like the opportunity to show my appreciation for the scholarship, and to explain to the next generation of students the benefits that I have had from it. I believe that it is important that Welsh-speaking students graduate from university confident in their ability to work throughout their career through the medium of Welsh as well as English.
What do you enjoy most about being at university?
Knowing that I am studying in my own country is great, and by studying in Wales there are of course frequent opportunities to do activities either through the medium of Welsh or in the company of Welsh speakers. The Welsh societies in Cardiff provide a great opportunity to get to know other Welsh-speaking students from the University and from other universities. There's an opportunity to form lifelong friendships in this way. It's also lovely to be able to raise awareness of the language amongst other students who come from a whole host of other countries.
Sport: netball specifically, handicraft and cooking, and socialising with friends
Chocolate and retail therapy!
Least favourite things?
Snakes, the cold
Favourite Welsh language programme / film?
Gwaith/Cartref and Doctoriaid Yfory (of course!)
Any other interesting information about you?
I recently took part in the television programme 'Doctoriaid Yfory' – it was a fantastic and valuable opportunity for me to record one of the most exciting and scary years of my life, and to be able to reflect on what I achieved during my first year at Cardiff University.