Greetings and welcome to the first Spring Term 2015 newsletter from Belfast, Northern Ireland!
Our students have been on site for over half the term – having completed orientation and fully enrolled in courses at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) – and are well settled into the exhilarating and challenging experience of study abroad. As a member of the Russell Group, QUB is one of the UK’s 24 leading universities and is world renowned for producing high-level academic research in a wide range of areas, from cancer studies to sustainability, from wireless technology to poetry and from pharmaceuticals to sonic arts.
As well as completing on-site orientation our students have enjoyed several experiential excursions – from a weekend visit to St. George’s Market, the last surviving Victorian covered market in Belfast, where they experienced the sights, sounds, and tastes of a vibrant weekend market by sampling some local culinary delights, arts and crafts all while accompanied by live local music – to a walking tour of West Belfast, where we discussed the reality and politics of division in the city, and the use of history and symbolism in the cultural expressions of various communities in Belfast.
Our students visited the International Wall on the Falls Road. The wall is a popular tourist destination in the city and includes murals relevant to republican, communal, and international conflicts and historical events.
March has been a busy month for the cohort, with visits to the Ulster Museum, a mini-excursion to the Belfast St. Patrick’s Day Carnival Parade, and an exclusive visit to the Action for Community Transformation (ACT) offices and exhibition spaces (a new addition to the program).
Traditional Irish musicians play for the crowd as the parade passes the quintessentially Victorian Belfast City Hall.
ACT is community based organization which delivers programming relating to the training and reintegration of former combatants into post-Agreement society. The students enjoyed the unique opportunity to learn about the ACT Initiative and talk about the challenges of conflict transformation in a Northern Irish context.
We have a dynamic second half of the term ahead for the program! Over the rest of term our students will visit Dublin for an overnight excursion, travel to Giant’s Causeway and the stunning North Antrim coast, and take a day trip to Derry/Londonderry where they will be given an exclusive tour of the Bogside from a leading peace maker in the city!
Stay tuned for further editions of the newsletter and more exciting news from the staff in Belfast!
Bye for now!