University, traffic, people and more
In my previous article I told you about my first difficulties in Northern Ireland. In this part I will briefly describe the university and tell you about some other things.
Ulster University in Coleraine is located in a very picturesque place and is surrounded by the river Bann and beautiful fields. The main building itself looks so modern that I would never have guessed that it is a university.
Sometimes the university seems to be even too modern. For example, students can enter the classrooms only by scanning their student-ID cards. It was something new for me. The classrooms are very well equipped, and the areas outside are suitable for studying or just relaxing because they are furnished with sofas, armchairs and tables, and there are even computers in some places.
The people’s personality
Friendly, open and nice – these are three characteristics that apply to the majority of the locals in Northern Ireland. It makes my time here even better than it could be.
You’ll have to get used to the fact that in Northern Ireland – as in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries – one drives on the left side of the road. During my first few weeks here, I really struggled when crossing the road! Another thing is that the buses tend not to run on time, so waiting an extra five or fifteen minutes is something I have grown accustomed to. It’s not unusual for some passengers to make some small talk with the driver while boarding or alighting from the bus, which obviously causes delays. But I think that it shows a more relaxed way of life here in Northern Ireland because even in shops, when packing your goods at the cashier desk, you do not have to hurry up and do everything extremely fast as in Germany, for example. What I really like a lot is that it is common here to say “Hello” and “Bye” to a bus driver and to thank him for the trip.
As in Germany, garbage is recycled here as well though there is no deposit on empties, and they don’t have designated boxes for recycling glass and glass bottles.
The landscape is amazing here; I see wonderful vistas every day! My phone memory was full after just a couple of days in Northern Ireland because I was constantly taking pictures. Rolling fields, precious pathways, beautiful beaches and a magnificent ocean… Northern Ireland for sure is a country that makes you appreciate and love nature. Depending on where I go, I can enjoy the view of the ocean; find a centuries-old castle or even stroll around the demesne. (There are some beautiful pictures in the picture gallery by me).
All in all, I am very happy that I overcame all my fears and made a big step in undertaking an exchange semester in Northern Ireland. If you have an opportunity to spend a semester abroad, without any doubt, I encourage you to do it because, most likely, it will become one of your brightest life experiences!
(Bachelor British and American Studies, 5th semester)