IFSA: Study Abroad Programs in Northern Ireland

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IFSA welcomes students to study abroad in Northern Ireland next summer, semester, or academic year term! Students can choose between the University of Ulster, Stranmillis University College, and Queens University Belfast.

Questions & Answers


based on 5 reviews
  • Academics 8.6
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 9.6
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 5 of 5

QUB is great for any academic discpline

I am currently a Mathematics and Statistics major, and I never really thought I'd be able to fit a whole semester abroad with my course load. QUB offered many upper-level math courses, and I was able to get credit for my math major while abroad! I was also able to take a couple of classes that I found inherently interesting, such as Religion and Political Science. QUB offers study abroad students access to a plethora of academic disciplines, which is perfect for the American Liberal Arts student.
IFSA-Butler was a fantastic program which allowed me to easily transition into the Belfast culture. The IFSA staff in Ireland were super helpful with getting to know the city. I and the other students on my study abroad program were easily able to get to know each other through the IFSA hosted activities during the orientation, and all of us were super comfortable with the environment within days of arrival! Definitely would recommend Belfast as a study abroad destination, and definitely through IFSA!

Yes, I recommend this program
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10/10 Would Recommend IFSA-Butler

Studying abroad with IFSA-Butler was an experience I will never forget. Belfast, Northern Ireland provided the perfect environment for both studying and exploring, and I couldn't be happier with my choice to attend classes and live for a semester at Stranmillis University College. The stunning scenery, rich culture and history, and welcoming people characterize the region, and it is no surprise why this is one of the fastest growing tourist locations in Europe.

My experience was enhanced by the support and guidance of IFSA-Butler, the American study abroad organization who planned by trip and ensured that the transition went smoothly. They were there every step of the way--from buying to plane tickets, to picking classes, settling in the dorm, providing enriching cultural experiences while abroad, and ensuring credit transfers when back home. I will never forget some of the outings they planned to facilitate our understanding of the unique cultural differences that make Northern Ireland/Ireland so special. For instance, we played Gaelic football in Dublin, visited the Peace Walls in Belfast, and went kayaking in a fjord in the Atlantic. Overall, I am so happy I chose IFSA-Butler and would highly recommend it to anyone else looking for a unique study abroad experience!

Yes, I recommend this program

The experience of a lifetime.

I studied elementary education in Northern Ireland in the fall semester of 2013. The program was through Stranmillis University College, part of Queen's University Belfast. Prior to this, I had studied abroad MANY times (Literature in Context course in Ireland, language school in Japan, monastic Buddhism program in Taiwan) and this was by far the best-run program.

The accommodations were wonderful, each person had a single room complete with a bathroom. It was quiet, which is important to me. It included breakfast and dinner at the dining hall, which was only steps away from the dorm where we all stayed.

The excursions we went on as a group as part of the program were top-notch. We went to the Northern Irish coast to see the Giant's Causeway and the rope bridge. We went to government buildings and historical sites. They took us out for great meals. Beyond things planned by the program, there were also all kinds of opportunities to get involved socially with the community at the school. I personally became extremely involved with the fencing club (a sport I had done before for many years) at Queen's, and I made many lifelong friends there.

As an academic program, I found it to be very worthwhile. We were given training and background on the Northern Irish curriculum before being assigned to our schools. We worked with a master teacher, just as we would have in the states. We had tutors assigned to us to guide us as we worked on our projects. I felt like I learned so much and it really broadened my international perceptions of education in general.

I really can't say enough good things about this program. If you're wondering if you should go to Northern Ireland through IFSA-Butler, the answer is definitely yes!

How can this program be improved?
We were left with little guidance on our first day. I found this to be fine, but I know some other people on the program wished that the instructions on day 1 would have been a bit clearer.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Great craic in Derry/Londonderry!

In the fall of 2014, I spent a semester in Northern Ireland at Ulster University, Magee campus in Derry/Londonderry. It was a truly wonderful experience.
I found the city of Londonderry to be rich with history. They have a strong culture of the fine arts which was so exciting for me. I enjoyed the music scene at the Cultulann Doire (An Irish Cultural center). I went to many concerts and events. The buzz and energy of the Irish arts was so exciting to be around. The city is small, fun to explore and easy to get around. The pubs and cafes are very lively! Irish are fun people to be around and they definitely know how to have a good time!
I am an outdoors girl and I was not disappointed by the Irish outdoors! The famous Giants Causeway is very close to Derry with beautiful cliffs and hills to hike. The are some great parks in the area and the River Foyle is beautiful to go for runs along or walk by.

The housing that IFSA worked out was great! I had my own personal room and bathroom and a common kitchen. Very close to the University and a walkable distance to the city center. Ulster University placed five other international girls with me. All six of us became incredibly close friends and had so much fun going out in Derry together.

I did not find the academics of Ulster University very challenging. However, I did not choose extremely challenging subjects. I think that the challenge of academics at Ulster depends on the courses you choose. The academic schedule of the Magee campus is great because it makes it easy to plan long weekends. I was able many other towns in Ireland, and fit in a trip to Scotland! Magee campus also has a very close-knit international department. I made friends from all around the world; It is one year later now, and I am still very close to many German friends, a Palestinian, some Brazilians, and of course many Irish!

To top it all off, IFSA Butler was a wonderful program.We went to dinners with the IFSA Ireland staff and got to know them. They took us on a trip to an adventure center near Galway and they included a trip to Dublin for students that were studying in Northern Ireland! They checked in on us, and were a support system, yet at the same time, they let us do our own thing. IFSA is the way to go!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Belfast is great craic!

Studying at QUB is great, because it's not like those other study abroad programs where you take classes with just Americans. You are truly a student at Queen's, taking classes with other British/Irish (as well as international) students. I also love the British system of teaching, in which you have one 60-ish person lecture a week, followed by a tutorial with fifteen of your classmates where you talk about what you learned in lecture on an in-depth level.

Also, the Irish love to party, so don't worry, there's plenty of that. They go nuts for holidays, so Halloween lasts about two weeks and the Christmas ramp-up is about a month and a half. Luckily, it's not obnoxious, because this manifests itself in lots of fun ways-parties, festivals, people in dress-up, delicious food, cheap drinks, etc.

Yes, I recommend this program


Meet the Alumni

About Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)

The Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1988. Our primary goal is to provide quality study abroad opportunities, plus academic and personal support services, for qualified North American undergraduates seeking to...