In this post, advisor Heather discusses reasons to consider studying in Northern Ireland.
While many students may automatically think about London and England when they consider studying in the UK, there is a lot more to explore! Northern Ireland is a great place to study that has a fascinating political and social history (and it has a strong education system to boot!).
Where in the World is Northern Ireland?
Ireland. Great Britain. The United Kingdom. The British Isles. In day-to-day conversation these terms may be used interchangeably, but did you know that each of these terms has its own specific definition? If you plan to study in Northern Ireland, you’ll quickly become familiar with these differences and know exactly when to use each one so as not to offend anyone. After all, part of studying abroad is about broadening your horizons and becoming a better global citizen.
Both of Northern Ireland’s two universities are in its capital, and largest city, Belfast. This can make the entire city feel a bit like a close-knit campus community but still offers all the excitement and opportunities of a major city. Belfast was once a hub of the Irish linen industry as well as the shipbuilding industry. The Harland and Wolff shipyard is perhaps the most famous, and infamous, for its building of the RMS Titanic. In fact, a visit to the Titanic Belfast maritime museum is a must-do for any students during their time in Belfast.
Belfast is also well known worldwide as being the centre of “The Troubles” or the political violence that took place earlier in the 20th century; however, it has since experienced a long period of peace and restoration. In fact, for students interested in International Politics and Relations, Belfast is uniquely able to provide an excellent case study of conflict resolution, post-conflict development, dealing with grievances and so on. Bus trips around Belfast provide great insight into the history of Belfast including visuals provided by the murals, graffiti, and street art that the provide reminders of the past and the hope for a peaceful future.
Once you’ve seen the many tourist destinations in Belfast, you’ll be tempted to venture outwards and Northern Ireland won’t disappoint. From hiking in the Mourne Mountains and strolling the beach in Ballycastle to visiting Derry’s walls, Northern Ireland has scenery you’ll never want to leave. Perhaps most importantly to Game of Thrones fans will be tours to various notable GoT filming locations such as The Dark Hedges, in County Antrim or the ancient redwoods and stone arches of Tollymore Forest Park, a.k.a. the Haunted Forest. If a Game of Thrones tour isn’t quite your thing, then you can’t run amiss with a stop at the Giant’s Causeway. Be prepared for a bit of a walk if you want to fully take in the spectacular views of the sea and the basalt columns.
Finally, if you decide to study in Northern Ireland for no other reason, let it be for the culture. The Northern Irish pride themselves on their friendly and easy-going culture. You’ll never be afraid to ask someone for directions or help while in Northern Ireland. More likely, they’ll first notice your concern and stop to offer you help and maybe a pint at the pub. And while Dublin may be better known globally for its Guinness and pubs, you’ll find no shortage of either when studying in Northern Ireland. In fact, be sure you try a pint of Guinness while you’re there. After all, “It’s good for you.”