Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Expectations and Oracles

I thought it might be interesting and humorous for me to write what I expect, what I’ve been told, and my questions surrounding studying abroad,  Northern Ireland, and Belfast, then later compare it to what I find.

Studying Abroad:

  • Studying through IFSA Butler will allow me to have a deeper close cultural experience by getting set free in the regular Queen’s University mix.  It has been awhile since I took French in high school, even though I’ve been watching Jean Luc Godard films.  I didn’t want going abroad to a country that speaks English to be a “comfort zone.”  I figure this way I won’t solely be around international students, and will get to know Northern Ireland through getting to know its people.
  • I will get to travel on some weekends and holidays to Ireland and other countries in Europe.  I know I will get lost, confused, and I will make a fool out of myself.  I’m excited to get to figure out traveling; not have it planned out in advance for me.

Northern Ireland:

  • According to the Belfast Telegraph, going to clubs is very popular.  I feel I’ll be a pubs not clubs kind of girl.
  • I heard from friends who have studied abroad that the Irish are the friendliest and most fun people they met.
  • Beautiful countryside.  Sheep.


  • I’ve heard the city described as “revitalizing” but not fully healed, and the citizens of Belfast have the attitude that everything is possible.  Summer riots may have dampened this.
  • People only talk politics with their own kind, and it is rare and rude to bring it up in public conversation.  I want to hear what people think.  I’m curious to see how my class on Irish politics and identity in literature will be taught.
  • There are political/religiously divided neighborhoods sometimes complete with walls.  I’m unsure on how this will affect my urban hiking.
  • New is not taking over old in Belfast.  It is either head-to-head or bi-partisan coexistence.
  • The graffiti and murals will be fascinating.

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