Educated opinion – Queens University, Belfast

The latest instalment in our “Educated opinion” series: a graduate from Queens University, Belfast, describes what life is like in the friendly and beautiful surroundings

If you are from Northern Ireland then you’ll probably know all about Queens University, Belfast; for over 150 years the institution has been making its own indelible mark on the province’s cultural psyche. It has been the higher education gateway for many of Northern Ireland’s most celebrated individuals and its campus even appears on the £5 note.

However, outside of Northern Ireland, Queens has remained something of a secret – until recently. Over the last 10 years the institution has seen a dramatic growth in the numbers of students enrolling from England, Scotland and Wales; approximately 500 students from Great Britain are currently attending Queens.

What is it that attracts students to up sticks and move to Belfast? For Molly Abraham, 23, from Cambridgeshire, it was the idea of discovering somewhere new. “Going to a university away from home appealed to my sense of adventure,” says the social anthropology graduate. “I applied for Edinburgh and Cardiff as well but decided on Belfast after coming to visit. It was one of those stunningly beautiful days – the buildings and everything were really impressive.”

Charlotte Moughan, also 20, from Luton, is forthright as to how she ended up in Belfast: “Mostly I ended up at Queens through chance and ignorance! I was going to take a year out but after getting my results decided to go to university. I studied chemistry and looked at the league tables for the subject – Queens was fifth.”

There is a further advantage to Belfast that would be obvious to those from large cities such as London or Manchester – it is incredibly small. So, as a student, it is possible to walk pretty much anywhere you need to go, saving on travel costs. This was a big factor for Joe Todd, a 22-year-old from London. “I wanted a change,” says the history graduate. “London was so big and taking trains everywhere was a hassle. Belfast is small, there’s a quieter pace of life and it’s friendlier. The social aspect is great as well – the pubs and clubs are great craic!”

One particular and peculiar downside that Queens does have is its weekend nightlife: due to the high rate of Northern Irish students and the province’s small size, most students flock home at weekends rendering the university a virtual ghost town.

“God I hated it,” says Abraham. “I didn’t know it was going to happen and it was so strange! However, once you get used to that the banter at Queens generally is brilliant – the university is well worth a look.”

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Developer - Norfolk - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Software Developer - Norf...

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine