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Why Choose Queen’s

"Queen's definitely exceeded our expectations," Hear from the Parents of our Students

It's a big deal choosing to move to a different country for university. We asked Liverpudlian student Ciara why she chose Queen's and what her mum Pauline thought about it!

Ciara Ashley and her mum
Ciara Ashley, GB Student from Liverpool, and her Mum Pauline

It's easy to have ideas about a place you've never actually been to but seen plenty about on the television. While the history of Belfast might not mean much to students choosing university these days, it might still evoke some negative feelings or emotions for their parents. We asked Anthropology Student Ciara from Liverpool why she chose Queen's and what her mother's feelings were about it. 

Why did you choose Queen's?

Ciara: I remember looking for universities that offered the course that I was aiming for at the time, and I came across Queen’s. I thought that the campus looked beautiful, and after researching the university more in-depth I became aware of its positive reputation. I knew that this was the university I wanted to attend.

Lanyon Building

Had you heard of Queen's before Ciara mentioned it?

Ciara’s Mum Pauline: I had heard of Queen’s University Belfast as having a good reputation, but it was not on my radar that Ciara would attend there, mainly due to it being over a body of water and the distance issue!

Although I know now that I can get to Belfast much quicker than I can get to somewhere in the south of England!

Were you able to attend an Open Day before choosing Queen's?

Both: Due to Covid restrictions we were not able to go to an open day, so this made the idea of Ciara going to Queen’s a bit more concerning. We researched Queen’s quite a lot on YouTube and the university website. We watched the students’ videos and listened to how they settled in.

Take a video tour if you've not been able to visit the campus yet!

Editor's note: Take a look around campus, accommodation and Belfast in the Virtual Campus Experience, it even has subject specific videos and guides.

What were your first impressions of Queen's when you did get here?

Both: Upon first visiting Queen’s it definitely exceeded our expectations. The university buildings are outstanding.

The whole area for students around campus is stunning, with the Botanic Gardens just nearby. Having never visited Belfast before it was a fantastic, enjoyable visit so it put our minds at rest. We found the city a great place to visit.

The places to go shopping are second to none, especially Victoria Square and its fabulous dome. We were impressed with the places available to eat and drink, and the activities available throughout the city.

Victoria Square shopping centre

Ciara’s Mum Pauline: Ciara stayed in student accommodation in her first year in the heart of the city centre. This is great for first years, it has security and excellent facilities, and modern, bright rooms. 

Did you have any preconceived ideas about Belfast?

Both: We did not know too much about the city other than what we had heard about The Troubles but on the plus side there's the Peace Process and changing times.

Have you been back to visit again?

Ciara’s Mum Pauline: I have been back to visit again as it only takes about 35 minutes to fly from home.

Within a couple of hours, we can travel to the airport, get on the flight, take the Belfast International Airport bus and be in the city centre to meet Ciara, quite happily and stress-free.

Mum, do you have any concerns about your child being in Belfast?

Ciara’s Mum Pauline:

Any concerns I had for my daughter being alone in Belfast are the same for her being alone in any city, anywhere in the country.

Although I miss her so much and knew she would be homesick I also know how determined she is, I can see the confident and independent young woman just blossoming because of the move and the new experiences she has been exposed to.

It has been the right choice, although not completely without worries, but it has pushed Ciara to meet new people and make new friends. She has been on almost all of the trips offered by the Queen’s accommodation she stayed in in her first year and I think that helped her immensely. 

Ciara at The Giant's Causeway
Ciara at The Giant's Causeway -an Accommodation trip

So, all things considered, do you think Queen's has been the right choice?

Ciara’s Mum Pauline: The university staff have been fantastic in helping Ciara settle along with the lovely friends she has made for life. She is now sharing a flat with two friends that she has grown very close with, and whom she would have not met had she not ventured across the water to beautiful Northern Ireland.

Student carrying a Queen's branded bag

Ciara: I would say it was definitely the right choice for me. I am really enjoying my course and I have made great friends on both my course and with people whom I lived with in my first year. I have restarted a society with two of my friends and am overall enjoying my time here.

Find out more

Virtual Campus Experience

Read Ciara's guide to settling in for GB students

More blogs from GB Students

Ciara Ashley

BA Anthropology | Undergraduate Student | Liverpool, UK

I’m a 19-year-old from Liverpool who decided to pursue her degree in Belfast due to its rich history. I am an anthropology student and so I am interested in all aspects of human life. In my free time I love to listen to music, take part in the university-organised trips, and go clubbing on student nights.

Ciara Ashley