International Business and Art Design
Studied at the University of Ulster the Jordanstown Campus in Northern Ireland spring semester 2009
How It All Began
I chose the University of North Carolina at Greensboro because of the prevalence of study abroad programs. Initially, I was set on the idea of studying abroad in Japan. However, once I applied to study abroad I realized that academically, studying abroad in Japan was not the best fit. While researching other schools, I happened to come across a pamphlet that arrested my attention. The pamphlet was for a university in Northern Ireland that had courses in business and art design studies. The University of Ulster became my first choice for a location to study abroad.
The City of Newtownabbey
Newtownabbey is a small rural town that is a thirty-minute train ride from Belfast. From the main school building’s windows, a mountain can be seen on one side of the campus while an ocean is found on the other.
One of the great things about the University of Ulster was the many extracurricular activities for students. I became an active member of a mountaineering club, and was able to take trips to Scotland to go ice-climbing. I also went paragliding – something I never thought I would do.
Classes are conducted differently in Northern Ireland than at UNCG. Courses at Ulster are referred to as modules, with a maximum of three modules per semester for an international student. Each course met one day a week for two sessions during the day. One session was for a lecture while the other was a seminar session, in which the students and the teacher discussed what was covered during the lecture. The grading for each course varied; but overall, independent study was emphasized. This method of education left me with an abundance of free time to explore the country and participate in extracurricular activities.
I lived on campus in a dorm comprised mostly of international students. The arrangements of the rooms facilitated opportunities to socialize and get to know people. The dorm was divided into suites, containing five bedrooms. Each bedroom had its own bathroom. My bedroom door opened into the hall I shared with my roommates and down the hall was the shared living room and kitchen. Of my four roommates, two were from the United States, one was from Canada, and one was from Poland. We all left Ireland promising to keep in touch and welcoming each other to visit.
While I was abroad, I traveled to several countries in Europe. I was surprised by how easy it was to plan trips and buy airline tickets. I was able to see some of the art I had studied for the art history portion of my design major. I was able to walk through the tower of London, climb the Eiffel Tower, see the Coliseum, and visit a number of wonderful places I had never heard of before. I will never forget how much fun I had traveling with the friends I made at school.
Participating in the study abroad program has completely changed my outlook and my plans for my future. Rather than limiting myself to seeking employment within the United States, I now feel that I would be comfortable living and working nearly anywhere. I hope to enter the field of international marketing and be able to continue to travel and conduct business in other countries.
I advise anyone who is even slightly curious about studying abroad to speak to a study abroad adviser about schools, courses, and options. The experience will definitely provide you with a new perspective on the world. It was interesting to hear about American politics and economics in foreign nations.
Study abroad is a lot easier than I thought it would be. It was easy to make new friends abroad. I highly suggest joining clubs while abroad. School clubs are a fantastic way to interact with local students while sharing in interesting activities.