My Semester in Belfast Past Review

By (Music/Religion double major, Centre College) for

Queen's University Belfast: Belfast - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I got to play Irish music in a pub in Belfast with some of the greatest trad musicians in the country. That would have been enough in and of itself. I also made some fantastic friends. Most importantly, I have come to value all I left behind much more so than ever before.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Fall 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The instructors were high quality, but I did not spend enough time in class to get the most of it. I only had a few class periods a week.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

For the most part, the administration is adequate, but I had some trouble with the office accepting my "change of exam" form.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a single room on a hall with maybe thirty other people. The rooms are nice enough, but the common areas tended to be dirty. <br /><br /> I'm used to living closer to my classes and the building tended to be rather dirty. Otherwise, it was nice, however.

* Food:

Students fend for themselves. There is a cafeteria of sorts in the student center, but it is not very high quality. Food was also very expensive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I made a point of getting involved in the local traditional music scene and it was a phenomenal experience. I also got involved in a local church that had a very active youth group.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I honestly wasn't sure what to do if I got very sick. Thankfully I did not, and the city of Belfast is very safe, so I never felt unsafe.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Belfast is not expensive for a European country, but is still expensive. Tesco is your best bet for a grocery store.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Be careful if you are a drinker. I saw many other people spend a lot more money than they meant to on alcohol.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Belfast is an amazing city. If you do come here, I would suggest that you explore the city and its immediate environs before rushing off to mainland Europe or elsewhere.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Irish Traditional Music: Form, Style, and Development

Course Department: MUS 3069
Instructor: Martin Dowling
Instruction Language: English
Comments: We spent most of our time analyzing tunes performed by our professor on the fiddle or a number really amazing guest artists on various traditional Irish instruments. Needless to say, I enjoyed this class.
Credit Transfer Issues: I have not worked this out yet.
Course Name/Rating:

Composition 2

Course Department: MUS 2011
Instructor: Piers Hellawell
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very little class time. The real purpose of the class is the final project, a composition you work on throughout the term. The quality of instruction and feedback is good, though.
Credit Transfer Issues: I have not worked this out yet.
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: THE 2084
Instructor: Gordon Campbell
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Gordon Campbell is truly impressive in his oratory and command of the subject. Most of his lectures were still meant to point us toward individual research, however. I learned quite a bit about how to read the Bible in general, so this course is highly recommended.
Credit Transfer Issues: I have not worked this out yet.