Jordi Brunet - Belfast, Regne Unit
FROM: ESDAP PAU GARGALLO
2017 – 1ST SEMESTER
Belfast is a great place to live. It was not my first option but once I was there I knew I would not regret it. It is a small city surrounded by green landscapes and deep blue waters. Surprisingly it took me just a few days to get to know each and every corner in the city center.
When students have to choose their Erasmus destinations, they always think of big cities like Paris, Berlin or London. But the truth is that if it is your first experience abroad it is better if you try with small European capitals such as Belfast. They are less intimidating and way more friendly. After all, Northern Ireland is still a place to be discovered by turism which makes the experience even more authentic. And its people are really welcoming. They always inquire you with their country and their traditions.
The first day I arrived at the airport, the staff from the university welcomed us and had a bus ready to take us to our accomodations. They gave us food and anything we needed for our first night far from home. If you are planning to go to Ulster University, I strongly recommend you to take a room in one of their Halls. You have a wide range of prices and everyone can find the room that better suits their budget. Overall it feels like they have everything under control, so it is easy for the student from abroad to quickly blend in.
On the other hand, you have private accomodation, which gives you the opportunity to live in the same city (The Ulster’s Student Halls are settled in Jordanstown, 15-20 minutes from Belfast). Furthermore rents in Belfast are the lowest in the whole UK and there are many options for students. I have to say that the accomodation offered by the university is worth than the private one in the end. Taxes, water and electricity charges are not normally included in price rents, so this is something to bear in mind when you have to choose between these two options. You don’t want to worry how much the price will change from month to month depending on your expenses.
Jordanstown might be off the city but is really easy to get there by train or taxi. Besides, living and studying in the same University makes you feel less lonely. If anything happens to you they make sure there is someone who can help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Living in Belfast makes it easier to enjoy the night life. One clear disadvantage of going out in Belfast is that if you have to return to your place, you cannot count on trains and buses. Your only option will be sharing a taxi (as they are quite expensive for just one student).
The best part of my Erasmus experience was the opportunity to study at a new university. And by new I don’t mean the building or the facilities but also to the way they plan and structure their studies. If you are a Graphic Design student who is interested in combining your skills with others such as Illustration, Video or Animation, this is the best place you could go to. Classes are really practical and they go straight to the point. They normally do two or three big graphic design projects during the first six weeks period and, after that, you have another six weeks period of more illustration-based projects. All the teachers are really qualified professionals who are more than willing to share their knowledge with the students. And as an international studen,t I never felt like I was left apart from the rest of the class. Any clarification I needed was given to me.
Finally I would like to talk about some other things that you might enjoy from Belfast:
– Really nice landscapes and towns.
– Authentic Irish pubs.
– Delicious and traditional food.
– Food from around the world.
– More food, restaurants and every shop you could imagine.
– Museums and an incredible art scene.
– Game of Thrones tours to the filming locations. (You might be lucky and spot some of the cast members of the show too)
– A great nightlife.
– Gay friendly too.
– Great History.
– The Titanic Museum and the Botanic Gardens.
Some people might say the weather is a big drawback when it comes to Northern Ireland but the truth is (blame it on the climate change if you want) that it wasn’t as bad as people told me. And as I say, “The colder outside, the cozier inside”.