Why I Chose to Study in NI

by Bleen Sharma

Almost 3 months into living and studying abroad, I still get asked the question, “why here?” For the locals of Belfast, it comes as quite a shock as to why someone from Canada would move to the United Kingdom, specifically Northern Ireland; however once I say I am a student at Queen’s University, they understand my decision.

Ready to learn with my university essentials

Not only is Queen’s University recognized as a top institution in Belfast, but it is also one of the twenty-four members of the Russell Group. This exclusive group includes the leading universities in the UK, which produce world-class research at an international level.

City Sightseeing bus stopping at the City Centre.

The fact that Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group was definitely a factor in why I chose to study in the UK, but my primary reason was the length of my program in the UK, as compared to in Canada. The LLB law program in Canada is the duration of 3 years in total but in the UK, there is the option for a 2-year LLB law program if you have an undergraduate degree. Since I had completed my undergraduate degree, I was able to apply to the 2-year LLB program as a senior status student, and am now a happy yet stressed law student.

A second reason that I chose to study in the UK is because of my interest in international law and my dream of working for the United Nations in some capacity. I believe the UK serves as a central location for international law, and specialises in areas such as human rights in a way that differs from Canada. I expect this to be the case, due to the physical location of the UK and the complex nature of UK’s history, which is reflected in the day-to-day culture. A culture that is welcoming and friendly to all, which I have been fortunate to experience first hand.

Views of the coastline from the Carrick-A-Rede Rope Bridge in Northern Ireland.
Local Irish bar in Belfast

From the atmosphere in the Irish bars, to the breeze of the coastlines, the culture of Belfast has been one that I will never forget. Almost every significant cultural aspect has a story that is deeply rooted in the UK’s history. The bars, and even some roads all date back to a time of horse drawn carriages and royal families. I found myself learning not only while in school, but also in my daily life, which has been quite enjoyable for myself.

Inside the infamous Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

In addition to the reasons mentioned above, a benefit of living in the UK is the ease of travel to other places in Europe. Flights are relatively cheap while travelling amongst the UK and short in length, making it the perfect time to tour Europe at my own pace. So far I have been to Dublin and Edinburgh, each just for the weekend, but definitely worthwhile.

Exploring the streets of Edinburgh

I am grateful for my Across the Pond advisor in providing me with the support I needed to achieve these goals. I was able to freely discuss the length of programs, my future career goals, the cultural experience, and the ease of travel with my advisor, allowing me to make a well-informed decision. If I had any concern, I asked my advisor and she addressed it right away to the best of her ability. I highly recommend choosing Across the Pond, because they are able to provide information and insight that may be lacking elsewhere. Don’t just take my word for it, contact an advisor today and start planning the next step of your life in the UK.

Interested in studying in the UK? You can find out more by contacting one of our advisors!