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Postgraduate Research

My Experience of Being a Nigerian PhD Student at Queen’s

Nigerian PhD student Damilare gives us a glimpse into his new life in Belfast and the Nigerian community at Queen's.

Lanyon at night
I was the winner of the Queen’s DTP studentship

A warm welcome

It was a cool afternoon during autumn when I arrived at Belfast City Airport from Nigeria. A warm airport welcome from my supervisor, who also drove me down to my accommodation, spared me the typical headache of being a new entrant in a completely unfamiliar setting.

As a newcomer, it is always a good idea to take the first few days to walk around and get familiar with places around the university. The city centre is also less than 15 minutes’ walk away from the university. Belfast is not a complicated city, it is easy to walk about, and Google Maps will be of immense help in navigating your way without hassle.

Check out our Student's Guide to Belfast!

The Nigerian community at Queen’s

The greater population of Nigerians than other Africans studying at Queen’s provides an easy avenue to meet, interact with, and feel at home with other Nigerian students. There is in fact a Nigerian Society at Queen’s to which I also belong. Nevertheless, being surrounded by so many amiable individuals in a multinational setting makes it easy to build strong friendships with both local and other international students.

Queen's Nigerian Society logo

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Things to do in Belfast

As a Nigerian student, adapting to the UK educational system may be sometimes overwhelming, but there are plenty enjoyable and relaxing things to do, depending on personal preferences. You can meet with friends over a drink in any of the numerous cafés and pubs around the university area, you can also go hiking with friends, or visit some interesting places for sight-seeing.

Ulster Museum (located right beside the university), Titanic Belfast Museum, and Belfast Zoo are among many other places that might captivate your interest.

Belfast Titanic Centre

Titanic Belfast is a must-visit for international students

Nigerian cuisine in the city

For lovers of Nigerian cuisine like me, you can shop at available African food stores which are located within the university area. I also recommend patronising local and intercontinental stores for a perfect blend of your groceries and for more cost-effective spending.

Food and grocery stores like Yambo, MamaBobo Africa, Bangla Bazar, and Tesco are definitely among your best options. It is generally cheaper to cook your own food, but if occasions deprive you of cooking and you still want that Nigerian taste, Yetunde’s kitchen and MamaBobo restaurant are both Nigerian restaurants in Belfast that can get you sorted.    

Bangla Bazar shop front

Belfast offers an array of African grocery shops

Accommodation options

In the face of rising cost of living in the UK, accommodation cost is usually a challenge for many Nigerian students newly arriving the UK. Students have the option to live in the university accommodation or in a private apartment.

Either way, the cost of living in Belfast is relatively cheaper compared with many other parts of the UK. I live in a private shared apartment that is very affordable yet comfortable, and in walking distance to campus.

Students sitting together in accommodation

Belfast has the lowest cost of living in the UK (Mercer Cost of Living City Ranking 2023)

If you are a Nigerian student aspiring to study in the UK, Queen’s University Belfast is just the right option for you. Give it a go!

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Nigeria Admissions Guide

More blogs by Nigerian students at Queen's

Damilare Famakinde

PhD Biological Sciences | Postgraduate Student | Nigeria

Hi there! My name is Damilare Famakinde. I am a third year PhD student in Biological Sciences at Queen’s, and a winner of the Queen’s DTP studentship. My academic journey started from Nigeria where I bagged my BSc in Zoology and MSc in Medical Parasitology.

As much as I love research in infectious diseases, I also love writing to communicate knowledge and ideas. Besides research, I engage in casual work for the university as an undergraduate lab demonstrator and as a global student ambassador.

My study at Queen’s so far has been truly exciting and rewarding. I’m happy to provide prospective Nigerian students with information they need for a beautiful Queen’s experience.

 Damilare Famakinde