Ghoncheh Habibiazad

When I was young and living in Tehran, I always wanted to be a journalist, telling great stories of people who haven't got a voice. But in order to be successful in this field, I needed to do my training abroad.

You may not think it but Cardiff University's reputation as the place to study a Masters in journalism had reached Iran. Of course, many Iranians go to Cardiff for engineering but that was never my thing. I was delighted when I got the news that I could study there. 

At the time, I had no knowledge of Wales, and I guess it wasn't my priority to learn about it either. But when I arrived, I could see how hospitable the Welsh people were. Coming from a very big city in Iran, I am used to places like London where people keep themselves to themselves. Having accommodating teachers and students enabled me to settle in very quickly.

My course lasted a year but I didn't want to leave Cardiff the moment I finished studying. For four months after, I worked as a caseworker for refugees. I learnt so much from hearing about their struggles, in wanting to find somewhere where they're free to be who they want to be. Of course, I had chances to let my hair down and Cardiff isn't short of good restaurants, although this had been a challenge because of Covid-19. I didn't mind doing lectures online, but the pandemic hit me more as I was worried about my family in Iran. 

I completed the course in 2021, and finally attended a graduation ceremony earlier this year. I'd have loved to have this education journey in Iran, but it wasn't meant to be. That said, the Masters had enabled me to broaden my horizons and now I'm in London, reporting on Iranian news. I'm at the start of my journalism journey and who knows where I'll be five years from now. I have a good feeling that my career will grow stronger and this could never have been possible if it wasn't for my time at Cardiff. I will continue to visit Cardiff for sure, and also explore more of Wales.


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