IFSA: Study Abroad Programs in Northern Ireland

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About

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.

Scholarships

IFSA Scholarships
IFSA Scholarships and Financial Aid

We believe that study abroad should be within reach of every student, so we offer a wide range of scholarships and funding opportunities for all our participants.

Value
$500 - $2,500

Questions & Answers

Reviews

100%
based on 7 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
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Chloe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best 5 months of my life

I absolutely loved my semester abroad at Stranmillis University College in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Even though it was a year ago I still talk about it every day and talk to the people from my program every day. I loved the city of Belfast, it had lots to do including shopping, food, markets, pubs, a museum all only about a 30 minute walk from the campus. I always felt very safe and the city has great, simple transportation including taxis and buses. I am an Elementary Education major so loved the opportunity to be a student at a primarily education major college and learn about education from a different perspective. IFSA and Stranmillis staff were so kind, welcoming and helpful. IFSA staff was always available for any type of query and they organized cultural immersion excursions for us. I am so happy to have had the opportunity to go abroad with IFSA to Belfast. I learned and grew so much as a person as a result of this experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't just spend the semester with other Americans or people from your home university. It is so amazing to have the opportunity to get to know international students from all over the world or local students from the university you go to. There is so much to learn from them and you can build life long international connections.
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Adrianna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Tell Me Ma, Why Did I Go Home?

I spent the Fall semester studying in Belfast, at Stranmillis University College. I am an Elementary/Special Education major, and being able to study at a college that is dedicated specifically to teacher training was an incredible experience. I learned so many skills that I was able to use while student teaching overseas and bring back home to the States. Belfast is an incredibly safe city that is very easy to navigate, especially if you download the translink app to figure out bus routes, and the friendly taxi drivers make trips super enjoyable. The IFSA staff was also incredibly helpful, and gave great advice about things to do and places to visit. Northern Ireland is such a beautiful country, and the rain just makes everything so green! Take the advice of IFSA staff and explore outdoors!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising thing that I learned about while in Northern Ireland was the divide between people of Protestant and Catholic faiths. Most primary and secondary schools are separated by religion, and only 7% of students are educated at integrated schools. This divide is a result of the Troubles (which I highly suggest doing some research on before you arrive in Belfast) that ended in 1998. Because these events happened so recently, much of the public art around Belfast is dedicated to the remembrance of the conflict. I was surprised to see the number of murals I did, and that peace walls to divide Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods still exist throughout the city. However, I never felt unsafe while traveling around the city, and these murals and walls are just representative of a social divide, and are left up in memoriam of people that passed away as a result of conflict. Many are also being repainted to represent a new, peaceful Belfast.
Read my full story
Rob
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

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Jenny
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

Mary
10/10
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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Kirsten
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

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Catherine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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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...