Read about Erin’s adventure around Northern Ireland here; Taken With Belfast*
Read about Erin’s adventure around Northern Ireland here; Taken With Belfast*
Just as a suitcase is full of memorabilia from across the globe, you feel the excitement to starting your study abroad program. How do you consider the maximum potential of your experience? As an organized student, you prepare and plan. Likewise, what are some tips that can make meaningful experiences feel like an adventure of […]
Below are a few proactive tips from my experience of studying abroad on how to beat homesickness.
1. Make time to talk to people at home.
It’s completely normal to miss the people you care about at home. Leaving your loved ones can be challenging but talking to people at home can definitely help you deal with this challenge. Whether it is your family or friends, talking to the people you miss can help you to remember that they are still apart of your life and will still be there when you get home. Also, talking about your time abroad to people from home can help you realize how lucky you are to be in a completely new part of the world and what a different and exciting experience you’re having compared to your friends at home.
2. Keep busy
Keeping yourself busy can help you keep homesickness at bay. A great way to do this is by joining a new club (which is really easy to do at university). Not only can this help you to discover a new passion or relight an old one, but it can also help you make a bunch of new friends. You can also keep busy by sightseeing, going to the gym or focusing on school work. I found it helpful to make a plan at the start of each week, to help me plan my time productively and make sure that I was making the most of my time abroad. The busier I made myself the more fun experiences I had ended up having and the less time I had to even think about feeling homesick.
3. Give yourself a break
When I first began my study abroad experience, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to have a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience. I felt guilty if I wasted a day without sightseeing or exploring the new country I was in. But eventually I realized that I had to take a few days here and there to relax. Studying abroad in a foreign country can be an exhausting (although definitely rewarding) experience and it is OK to give yourself a break. This can be going to the gym, reading a book or even taking nap, whatever it is that helps you to recharge and relax.
4. Ask for help
You are not the first study abroad student to be stressed out or confused by things in your new university. Even if you feel alone at times, the problems that you’re facing are probably the same problems that most students studying abroad have faced at some point during their experience. There are people at your university whose specific job is to help people like you and have probably helped other students deal with the same problems in the past. So ask for help! Whether this is asking for help from your university’s international office, your professors or your university’s counselling center, there is always someone willing to help.
5. Make local Friends
If you end up at a university with a lot of other international student from the US it can be very tempting to stick with the familiar. You will be able to relate with each others’ experience in a way that local students probably won’t. But remember that a big part of studying abroad is learning about a new culture, which is done best when taught from a local perspective. So spread your wings, put yourself out there and try to befriend people from the country that you’re studying in. There are also many practical benefits to having local friends, including that they are more likely to have a car, they will have an already established friend group that you can join and they might let you stay with them over the holidays.
By Imogen Henry-Campbell, Case Western Reserve University, USA
Studying on a year abroad is one of the best opportunities that you will ever have in your life. Meeting new people, being in a different culture and learning to be completely independent are incredible skills to have, but studying abroad can also be extremely tough, especially if you get ill. I, unfortunately found myself in the hospital after a month in and although it was hard, I am feeling much better.
As a student who has also suffered from anxiety and stress-related problems, year abroad can be especially tough on your health. So these are my tips for coping with the mental and physical strain of being abroad:
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Northern Ireland traditionally had a strong industrial economy, focusing on linen production and shipbuilding. At one point Belfast possessed one of the world’s largest shipyards. These shipyards built the world’s most famous ship; The Titanic. This was celebrated through the recent completion of Titanic Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic visitor center, which allows visitors to learn about the thriving industry, city and people who made the now notorious ship. Although, this is a much prided part of the city’s history, it is very much just that, history.
The North of Ireland now has a developed manufacturing and engineering industry and is home to many companies specializing in areas such as; aerospace & defense, electronics, construction and consumer products. This is one of the largest sectors in Northern Ireland accounting for 11% of employment.
Additionally, Belfast has made a name for itself in one of technology’s fastest growing areas, financial technology. A combination of a highly qualified workforce, competitive operating costs have helped to encourage and support this growth. As a result many financial services giants such as Citi, The Allstate Corporation, Liberty Mutual and Chicago Mercantile Exchange have thriving offices here.
Another rapidly growing industry is the creative industry, specializing in cultivating creative talent for commercial purposes. This involves areas such as film and television production, performing arts, music, visual effects and design. In particular, recent years have seen high profile television productions, such as Game of Thrones and The Fall, film in Northern Ireland.
Some great suggestions of places you can visit along the North of Ireland’s Antrim Coast!
If you’re as obsessed with traveling as I am, you’ve probably heard a lot about Northern Ireland lately, which likely has something to do with the hit HBO show Game of Thrones. 80% of the scenes in GOT are filmed in Northern Ireland – though many of them are filmed in Paint Hall Studio in Belfast, and are therefore not open to visitors. I wouldn’t normally advise traveling somewhere just because it’s on television, but the scenery in Game of Thrones is truly stunning. Since returning home from my latest trip and catching up on what I missed on GOT, I’ve found myself paying even more attention to the scenery and wondering if I’ve been to more of these backdrops myself. Even if you haven’t seen the show (which, like, WHY), you’ll get a lot out of these dramatic sights and even more along the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland…
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Check out this great guide for Belfast’s International Airport!
Even though Belfast isn’t very big, there are actually two airports. This airport guide features the Belfast International Airport, which is located a little further away from the city center.
Belfast International Airport is often referred to as Aldergrove Airport, which is how the airpot was formelly named. At that time, the first intercontinental connection to New York was established. However, this flight isn’t existing anymore as subsidiaries were cut in-line with EU regulations. However, Norwegian has two new intercontinental routes, to Stewart Airport and Newburgh Airport in the United States as of the 1st of July 2017.
Norwegian is flying transcontinental from Belfast
Other than that, Belfast is well connected to other cities in the United Kingdom and a few cities in Europe. However, several domestic flights are operated from Belfast City Airport rather than Belfast International Airport.
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Some really helpful tips to encourage you to make the most of your time while studying in Northern Ireland.
Everyone’s advice before studying abroad is always, “Make the most of it, because it all goes by too quickly.” But how exactly do you do that, and what are the easiest ways to make your experience more meaningful? After three semesters abroad, here are my top tips on making the most of this special experience.
TravelIf you’re in Europe, budget airlines, trains, and bus systems will take you around the continent for a discounted rate. See as much of the world as you can, chances are, you’ll only have this opportunity a handful of times.
Spend time in your host countryThat said, it can be easy to spend every weekend in a new city when you’re abroad. Focus your energy on the country you chose to study in. Getting to know the culture, people, and environment of your chosen study abroad location is an experience you’ll always treasure.
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One of the less exciting things you will learn while studying abroad is that another country’s academic system can be very different, sometimes in ways you may not expect. This is a little (or maybe a lot) confusing at first. But don’t worry you WILL get used to it. Here we have complied a list of some of the biggest academic differences you will encounter as an American studying in Northern Ireland, plus some tips on how to deal with them.
|GPA||Module Mark (%)||Degree Classification|
|4||70+||First class honours (First)|
|3.7||65-69||Upper-second class honours (2:1)|
|3.3||60-64||Upper-second class honours (2:1)|
|3||55-59||Lower-second class honours (2:2)|
|2.7||50-54||Lower-second class honours (2:2)|
|2.3||45-49||Third class honours (Third)|
|2||40-44||Third class honours (Third)|
Therefore, a 70% is considered to be really excellent work and really difficult to achieve. So, if you are sitting on a 1st or a 2:1 well done! You are doing really well, so don’t be disappointed if you are used to getting higher percentages at home.
Learning from an American student’s experience studying in Ireland!
Being from Florida, I’ve always known only three types of weather. Hot, hotter and just-stay-indoors kind of heat. Ireland definitely has a strange summer, which actually feels more like winter to me. However, just as there are rare days here where I have to break out my thermal coats, there’s also just as many days where I feel like I might as well be in Florida.
In a span of one day, I could go from polar socks and a thick scarf to a thin t-shirt and a very stuffed bag. Layers are really important here, so you better bring a bag that you can fit your jacket, overcoat, scarf and potentially even pack a pair of shorts too…
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