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Student Life

My Experience of Being a Colombian Student at Queen's

Beyond academic pursuits, studying abroad for university offers students the opportunity to experience new cultures, traditions and perspectives. Read why Colombian student Isabella is enjoying her new life in Belfast and at Queen's.

Student standing in front of H&W cranes
The Samson & Goliath Cranes

Being a student abroad is a unique experience that goes beyond the simple pursuit of academic knowledge. Being from the Caribbean coast of Colombia, I have found in Belfast and Queen’s one of the most enriching experiences of my life in which I have been able to immerse myself in a new culture, face new challenges and discover unexplored aspects of myself.

Arriving in Belfast and my accommodation

I must confess that the day I arrived in Belfast, I was very nervous. Being from the Caribbean and being used to a warm and scorching sun all year round and to the refreshing breezes from the coast, the weather of Northern Ireland seemed quite intimidating to me. However, Belfast welcomed me with open arms from the beginning. From the moment I stepped off the plane, the people at the airport were of the best disposition, helped me with my concerns and were able to advise me the best way to use transportation to get to my accommodation.

Student posing in front of mirror holding a pillow

Essential shopping!

From day one, my fears and apprehensions were dispelled. The warmth and friendliness of the people who live in this city are wonderful. When I arrived at my accommodation, the staff who greeted me were very helpful, advising me on places I could go to do my newly arrived essential shopping.

I have a special anecdote from that first day when I went out to do the shopping. When I was leaving one of the stores with a bag full of items, from carelessness, the bag broke and all the items I had bought were scattered in the street; the people around me helped me pick up my things, and one of them even offered me one of their bags to store what I had dropped. The people here are very friendly and are willing to help you.

Welcome and orientation experience

Queen's is a university that cares about the well-being of its students, which is why a week before classes start, the university has a series of activities to prepare students for their new academic journey.

During this week, I participated in several events that helped to familiarise myself with university life, such as tours of the campus or the library, presentations of the different student societies at the university, advice on registration for health services, bank accounts, etc. The orientation week was a complete immersion in the university culture, where I was able to gain the necessary foundations to begin my academic journey with confidence and enthusiasm.

Students and Staff in the One Elmwood Students Union building

Visit My Queen's for information and support for new students

Life in Belfast

The most incredible thing about Belfast and Northern Ireland is its urban and rural landscapes. Belfast is a city with a lot of history that is reflected in the architecture of the city centre. Near the banks of the River Lagan, you will find the old Samson and Goliath cranes, important symbols of the city and a reminder of Belfast's industrial legacy. In the suburbs of the city is Cave Hill, ideal for hiking enthusiasts and beginners like me. From this hill you have a panoramic view of the city and Belfast Bay, providing a wonderful visual experience.

Student at the top of Cavehill

Enjoy panoramic views of the city from the top of Cavehill!

Best of Belfast and Queen's: Cultural Enrichment

Cultural immersion has been one of the most advantageous experiences of living in Belfast and studying at Queen's. I feel fortunate to be in one of the most important multicultural corners of the world, surrounded by new customs, traditions and perspectives - an experience that has also allowed me to establish friendships with people from all over the world.

These connections not only enrich our social network, but also provide us with an invaluable international network. Sharing experiences with international peers broadens our global perspective and teaches us to appreciate the similarities and differences between people.

Group of students in Revolucion de cuba Belfast

Studying abroad introduces you to a range of cultures, customs and perspectives

Even so, it is normal that sometimes I miss Colombia and its customs, however Belfast has a sizable Latino community and it has been easy to meet people from other Latin American countries and keep in touch with them. As we are not really the majority compared to other nationalities in the city, it is easy for us to stay united. In the same way, we have been able to find places with a Latin atmosphere to dance to our music and enjoy a good atmosphere.

This opportunity has been wonderful, and I know that many more good things will come from it. It's important to be open to new experiences to enjoy life in Queen’s and Belfast.

Find out more

Information for students from Colombia

Welcome and Orientation at Queen's

Isabella Barros De La Rosa

Violence, Terrorism and Security | Postgraduate Student | Colombia

Hello, my name is Isabella Barros, I am 24 years old and I am from a beautiful city on the Caribbean coast of Colombia called Barranquilla. I am currently pursuing my master's in Violence, Terrorism and Security at Queen’s.

I am very into running and outdoor activities. That's why Belfast is so amazing to live in, because of the landscapes, and the spaces for this kind of hobby.

Besides running and studying, you can find me in any bookstore, wandering around the city, or enjoying a pleasant coffee in a cute cafe!

Isabella Barros De La Rosa