Coming to Queen’s University Belfast for my BSc in Psychology has been one of the best decisions of my life. I was awarded a full scholarship from the university under a scholarship programme that awards 2 outstanding and high-achieving international students with full scholarships each year. This was only one of the many opportunities the university has given me to develop myself personally, intellectually and professionally. Not only have I been taught by people conducting ground-breaking research, but I have also had the opportunity to travel internationally for recruitment fairs with my school, for example to Oslo, Norway. The social life in Belfast is also amazing, with great live music, cinemas, cafes, pubs and travel opportunities to help entertain you every weekend for all the time you spend in this buzzing and vibrant city. It also is a major plus point that Belfast has the lowest cost of living in the UK, making it easy to live comfortably as a student here.
For me, Queens was always my first choice even before I knew what course I was going to study. As I read through the course description, I thought that studying Psychology sounded so interesting! At that time, I was also volunteering with children with disabilities. I decided that I would go to university and study something that I would enjoy. I hoped that my future career would then be based around this interest and would relate to my degree.
I decided that studying Psychology at Queens was the only thing that I wanted to do. I applied and was lucky enough to be offered a place. Once the A-Level results were out, I confirmed my place and couldn’t wait to start studying at Queens in late September. I remember being so excited to start studying at University and to start university life. I was also a bit apprehensive about studying Psychology. I had never studied psychology before! I was afraid about being at a disadvantage before I started. I thought that everyone in the class would know a lot more than me and I was worried that I might not understand what was being taught. When I did start in September, I found out that most of the people in my class were in the exact same position as me; they didn’t study Psychology for A-Level earlier.
I was so thankful to all my professors, because they taught the topics assuming that the topic was new to everyone in the room. They broke down complex concepts into smaller pieces, which made them far easier to understand. My mind was quickly put to ease.
The staff members here within the School of Psychology are fantastic and their teaching is impeccable. Their lectures are enjoyable and they are always available after class to answer questions and to provide extra information. I am so impressed by the support that is available to psychology students at Queens. If you do decide to study here, you will be given a personal tutor who you will meet with you in small groups every second week, they will help you out with your studies and help answer any questions that you may have. From my own experience, your personal tutor becomes a friend as well as a mentor. I genuinely feel proud to go to a university that cares so much for the academic and personal wellbeing of its students.
If I could give one piece of advice to future students, it would be, make the most out of every opportunity! The school offers its students so many different opportunities that they can avail of, for example research apprenticeships for those who are considering postgraduate study. Not only does this experience provide you with research experience, you also learn many new skills and develop strong contacts with other academics.
This year, I hope to graduate with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. I have had such a great time here at Queens and have developed such passion for the subject that I would love to apply to do a PhD. I honestly couldn’t think of a better place that I would like to do it, than here at Queens.
I can honestly say that the past few years have been some of the best years of my life. For me, deciding to study psychology was the best decision that I have ever made.
I am so honoured to be Psychology student at Queens and I know that I will always look back with a smile, when remembering my days here, for they have been very happy memories.
My name is Madeleine and I'm from Oslo in Norway. I moved to Belfast in 2016 because I was accepted to the doctorate program in clinical psychology at Queens University. I had heard about Queens University, and knew it had a good reputation. However, I knew very little about Belfast as a city (apart from the historical aspects). Belfast was quite different from what I expected prior to coming here, and I quickly learned to love the city. I like that it's a small city that's easy to get around, and nature is always close by. There are many cafes and restaurants and I think the amount has increased since I arrived here, which is great! The cultural scene is also something I enjoy, with many music and arts events going on. Because I like to travel and go road tripping, the location is also perfect, as it gives easy access to various stunning places such as the Wild Atlantic Coastal route (Giant's Causeway), Donegal (great if you like surfing!) and Dublin. I also have to mention that the university buildings and facilities here are stunning, and really give a Harry Potter-feeling (they even have a Narnia room in the library!) So if you like a beautiful study environment, Belfast would be the city for you.
Throughout the three years of my BSc Psychology degree, I developed a keen interested in politics, especially during my final year which was the year of the United Kingdom’s 2015 general election. I applied for the MSc Political Psychology course as it would bring together these interests and develop my understanding on the political world from a psychological perspective. So far the course has been fascinating, encouraging me to think of current social and political issues in new ways and developing my understanding of the mechanisms by which change is achieved.
I’m undertaking the course part-time, and work full-time along-side this. I’m an active member of the Green Party in Northern Ireland. I’ve been successful in applying for a one-year placement as a social researcher in a Government Department for next year, which will allow me to utilize the skills I have developed as a psychology undergraduate and political psychology student, before returning to complete my final year in the Political Psychology program. I believe that studying Political Psychology will open a new world of employment opportunities for me.
I was first impressed with the passion and knowledge of the staff members I met, particularly in the Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations, where my own research interests lie. As a PhD student, my first impressions of the School highlighted for me the quality of postgraduate students that the School attracts. At the School I have found academic staff who are supportive of my research interests, and who willingly take time to provide guidance and feedback when I seek them out. It is clear to me that my supervisors and other staff members desire to see their students grow in knowledge and expertise in their fields, by encouraging creativity and independence and by challenging us to think critically.
What have you enjoyed most about your course so far?
I feel privileged to be able to do what I love – to spend the day engrossed in the study of a topic of my choice, to be faced with frequent challenges and to be encouraged to find solutions to the problems that arise form those challenges.
I also love the working environment I am in. I believe the School of Psychology is unique in this respect. Working in an open plan office with other PhD students has provided the opportunity for learning in a supportive environment. As students we share the burden of challenges faced by PhD students, and engage in lively lunchtime discussions that often involve sharing about our research projects. This experience has definitely contributed to my positive experience at the School and to my development as a postgraduate student.
What do you do in your spare time? Are you a member of any clubs or societies?
My colleague and I jointly coordinate a Social Issues Journal Club in the School, which is open to anyone interested in research within the fields of psychology, politics, conflict, sociology and education. I am also a member of an experimental journal club run by a staff member in the School. Aside from that I am a student/graduate member of the International Society for Political Psychology, the British Psychological Society and the European Association of Social Psychology.
How will your study help you gain employment after university? What are your career aspirations?
My career aspirations are to remain in academia, and I believe that the experiences an training I have received at the School will contribute towards achieving the goal of eventually finding employment within the academic setting.
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