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Why I moved from Dublin to Belfast to pursue a Masters

Cost of living, travel times and the need to break free after the lockdowns helped Beth decide to come to Belfast. Read her story here...

Dublin and Belfast
From Dublin to Belfast, are you up for a new adventure?

Around this time last year I began the application process to pursue a Masters in Queen’s University Belfast. After graduating from my undergrad in 2020, the subsequent two years of my life had been filled with lockdowns, restrictions and Covid-19. The life I had anticipated I would graduate into never materialised, and instead I was spending my days and nights at home, imagining what life would look like if I hadn’t graduated when I did.

Time to break out of the house

However, in January 2022 things began to change, the effects of the pandemic began to subside and it looked like we would soon be in the clear. It felt that the likelihood of plans we would make would actually be fulfilled, and I knew it was time to break out of the house I had spent the last few years cooped up in.

Woman with her arms open in a field

Choosing a new path

I knew that a return to education would be the first step I would take in the emerging post-Covid world. With a background in journalism and public relations, I had spent most of my days in college and subsequent working days researching, understanding and contextualising global events and their implications on our everyday lives. I understood that whichever course I pursued would reflect this, and is why I finally settled on pursuing a Masters in geopolitics.

Crossroads in the evening

I did a bit of research...

Living in Dublin, Queen’s University wasn’t originally on my radar, however, my research brought me to the geopolitics programme the university offered and I knew it was the one for me.

Knowing now that I wished to study in Queen’s, I also understood that I would have to pack up my things and make the move to Belfast. After living at home all of my life, and enduring two years of on and off lockdowns, I knew that it was time to stretch my legs and move out.

Belfast City Hall in green light

Making the move to Belfast

In comparison to finding affordable accommodation in Dublin, Belfast was much more accessible and economical from my experience.  Belfast has the lowest cost of living and the lowest student rent  in the UK (Mercer Cost of Living City Ranking 2021, NatWest Student Living Index 2020).

While it has been affected by the ongoing cost of living crisis, the city still remains one of the less expensive capital cities in the UK, and while only a train ride from Dublin, it was still close to home.

Moving helped me get the full student experience

Moving from Dublin to Belfast to return to university would mean that I would get to experience university life in a way I hadn’t before. In my undergraduate, I had to undertake a long daily commute to make it to my classes each day and as a result, I wasn’t particularly interested in participating in clubs and societies as it would impact my commute time significantly.

People doing push ups in a gym class

However, living so close to university now has better allowed me to make the most of Queen’s facilities, whether that be trying different classes in the gym, or spending more time in the library. My proximity to the university has allowed me to get the most out of what Queen’s University has to offer, something that I didn’t get to experience in Dublin.

Upgrading my social life

Belfast also offered new opportunities beyond academics. After working from home for 18 months, my social life had stagnated. A new city would bring new friends and new opportunities to learn more about myself.

Dirty Onion bar Belfast

So far, I have been able to experience a multitude of the city's offerings, including its renowned culture and arts and access the not too distant magnificent coastlines and mountains.

I also knew that attending Queen’s University would be an experience that would last beyond graduation. The university’s reputation with employers has placed them 11 in the UK for career prospects after 15 months (Guardian University Guide 2023).

Lanyon Building

The skills and knowledge I will graduate equipped with, not only gained from my subject area, but in living away from home and moving to a new place will stand in good stead for any future career or direction I take in life.

While the transition from full-time worker back to university student, and moving out of my home to a new place hasn’t always been straightforward or easy, I know that my decision to pack up my life and move to Belfast to pursue a Master’s won’t ever be a decision I regret.

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More blogs about Choosing Queen for your studies

Beth Molloy

Geopolitics| Postgraduate Student | Dublin, Ireland

Hello! My name is Beth, and I am a master's student at Queen's studying Geopolitics. I moved to Belfast from Dublin and am enjoying uncovering the amazing experiences and opportunities both Queen’s and the city of Belfast have to offer. I hope to be able to share some useful tips and tricks to navigating Belfast life as a student with you!

Beth Molloy