The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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Op-ed: What’s the Craic on Belfast?
The countryside in Northern Ireland. Belfast was added as an location in 2023. Photo courtesy Sencha Kreymerman.

As far as Northeastern’s locations go, Belfast is quite possibly the most random.

Located in Northern Ireland, Belfast is the program’s newest location added in 2023 and appears to be one of the least popular. To my knowledge, only one person, out of my cohort of 88, had picked it as their first choice.

My own journey to Belfast began in line for a roller coaster at Universal Studios in Florida when I was accepted into Northeastern. I had never even heard of its and spent 30 minutes (unfortunately, only a third of the time I was stuck in line) trying to frantically Google the program. 

When I got home, I received an email from the program outlining the 11 locations and explaining that each Northeastern college only collaborates with a few of them. I was also 17 at the time, meaning that I was age-restricted from several locations as well. These constraints left me with three options: Thessaloniki, Dublin or Belfast. By the time I paid my deposit, the other locations had filled up, and Belfast was the only choice left. I spent the next few months researching the Troubles and fielding jokes about Guinness pints before finally arriving in Northern Ireland.

I have friends who had such an amazing experience that they’ve seriously considered switching to Queen’s University Belfast full-time. I also have friends who will break out into stress hives any time I mention Northern Ireland. My experience falls in the middle. I don’t think I will return to Belfast anytime soon, but it was an interesting experience.

All locations have similar benefits: immersing yourself in a new culture, getting a “dry run” of college with a smaller cohort and the opportunity to travel on the weekends. Those opportunities are the main reason I am glad I was in If those are your primary reasons for considering the program, and you don’t mind a relatively peaceful semester on the outskirts of a small city, then Belfast is an option to consider.

I personally would have enjoyed more of a city experience, so the 40-minute commute from our dorms to the city center was definitely a downside. However, the Queen’s University Belfast campus itself is gorgeous and is only about a 15-minute walk from the dorms. The city is relatively small but has a good mix of restaurants, cafes, shops and pubs. The nightlife options are somewhat limited, but there are definitely clubs, as well as a cheap student bar on campus. 

It is also very easy to meet people and make friends, either while going out around the city or on the campus itself. Everyone I met was very friendly and most people in the program ended up having many local friends. 

Academically, the classes are not particularly difficult, and the grading conversion is very favorable. In Northern Ireland, anything above a 66 is considered an A, so while professors obviously grade more harshly, it is not as difficult to maintain a high GPA. There is a limited selection of classes to choose from, however, so make sure that the location offers courses you find interesting. You are also not limited to classes with other students and will often end up placed with actual Queen’s University students — only two of my classes were solely composed of students, and I had one course that only had one other Northeastern student.

I also feel obligated to mention Belfast’s odd obsession with the Titanic. Its history was the sole topic of a week of the mandatory culture class, an entire unit in my globalization anthropology class and even used as an example in my foundations of psychology lectures. There is a field trip to the Titanic museum as well, where you learn about Belfast’s role in building the ship.

Another important aspect of Belfast to prepare for is the unpredictable weather. If you do pick it as your location, invest in an umbrella and rain jacket to carry with you at all times. I’m convinced that the only reason I was sick for a month in Northern Ireland was that I consistently got caught in the rain. 

Drawbacks aside, being in Belfast made for an interesting semester. Like attending college on the Boston campus, the experience you have is what you make of it. If you do end up in Belfast, have fun. But, whatever you do, don’t mention that the Titanic is only famous for sinking.

Sencha Kreymerman is a first-year psychology major. She can be reached at [email protected].

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