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2 posts from December 2013

12/24/2013

Fall 2013 Issue III

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Our Fall 2013 semester has now come to a close as last weekend our students departed from Belfast! Before they departed to enjoy the Christmas holidays at home in the USA, our group experienced more of the wonders of Belfast and Northern Ireland through CIEE exclusive excursions.

In November we enjoyed another exclusive CIEE Interview with Trevor Greer of the South and West Action Team who discussed with our students the current status of the working-class Protestant community in South Belfast.

 

Our group also enjoyed the Apprentice Boys of Derry celebrations in early December by watching one of the 'feeder' parades in Belfast. These parades are fascinating, and at times contentious, representations of cultural identity in Northern Ireland.

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The bands on parade differ significantly in many ways from the types of marching bands in the USA as most are often male-dominated music groups with a wide ranging age profile. Visiting an event like this parade gives our students a critical insight into the various demonstrations of culture, protest and conflict. However, traditional music is not always an outdoor event in Belfast as our group later visited a traditional Irish music pub session!

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European continential foods and crafts were also available to our group as we visited the traditional Irish music night as the Belfast Christmas Market opened in the city centre. In the image below our students navigate through the market's various international stalls and bars!

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During our last month we also toured beyond belfast city to visit the UK City of Culture, Derry-Londonderry city. Here we toured the 400 year old walled city and visited the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Our group met serving officers who explained how policing has changed in Northern Ireland in the wake of the peace process. Or group were also shown the equipment used by the PSNI during public order disturbances.

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The following day our group headed to the north coast of Antrim where we visited the ancient geological wonder of the Giant's Causeway. Local folklore tells the tale of two giants, one Irish and one Scottish, who built the causeway as a bridge between their countries as they sought out one another in competition. In the exhibition centre our group also learned the scientific explanation behind the beautiful rock formations. Whether it was the giants or the ancient flows of magma, the Causeway is a wonderous and wild place to be!

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This trip also included a visit to Carrickfergus Castle and the Carrick-a-rede ropebridge! All included as part of the CIEE program in Belfast!

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After all the travelling our students are now at home, whilst in Belfast we are preparing for the Spring 2014 semester. In the meantime we wish all of your and yours the very best for this holiday season! Happy holidays, and see you in the New Year!

12/03/2013

Fall 2013 Issue II

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We've passed the mid-way point and we are now preparing for the last run of classes and coursework in Belfast!

 

However, our time in Belfast is about more than classroom based learning. Since our last newsletter we've enjoyed a range of activities at our study centre. We've visited St. George's Market, a Victorian market near the centre of Belfast city where students can browse and purchase locally produced goods and food (the local tea, sausages, fish and chocolate are particular favourites)!

 

This was soon followed by a CIEE tour of the Ulster Museum, where students explored relics from Irelands complicated history, including artefacts and items of clothing from leaders of the 1798 rebellion (on display at the museum). The story of 'The Troubles' began to unfold before the students' eyes in an objective presentation as images and recordings from the conflict were on display.

 

This semester was particularly special as the CIEE Belfast Study Centre hosted it's very own screening of Girl Rising in celebration of International Day of the Girl. This outstanding movie was screened before an audience of CIEE students, Queen's University Belfast students, and members of the public. The screening was introduced by Dr Clair Rush (Girls Brigade) who spoke of the hopeful and positive impact a global movement for change in attitudes can bring to girls and their access to education.

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(Dr Claire Rush - Girls Brigade)

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(CIEE students, QUB students, and members of the public discussing the impact of Girl Rising)

 

This semester our CIEE students were also warmly welcomed to Belfast City Hall by Cllr. Claire Hanna (SDLP) who provided a wonderful tour of the Hall, explaining the valued meanings of artefacts and displays throughout the corridoors. This was followed by a discussion with Cllr. Hanna on the current status of Northern Ireland politics and the role of non-violent Irish Socialist Nationalism. Students were also fortunate enough to meet the Deputy Lord Mayor, Alderman Christopher Stalford, who gifted the CIEE centre with a beautiful plaque of the city crest.

 

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(Belfast City Hall)

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(Plaque presented to CIEE by Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Christopher Stalford)

 

our group were invited to return to City Hall later in the semester where we witnessed a meeting of the city council take place. Here our group also met the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, and Councillors Colin Keenan and Mervyn Jones.

 

Thanksgiving has also come and gone and our students did not miss out on this wonderful American feast of giving thanks! A turkey dinner of epic porportions was laid for our students to enjoy! Home is never too far away...

 

As we prepare for the final stretch a few more events for our programme are before us! Watch this space for what's next!