About NI

Northern Ireland’s beauty is intertwined with tragic history, rich culture and the renowned friendliness of its people.

There’s always something going on in Northern Ireland. Become an international student here and you’ll soon find that everyone wants to know what ‘the craic’ is (roughly translated, this means what’s the news, what’s the story, what’s happening?) The country is host to the UK’s second biggest arts festival – Belfast Festival at Queen’s – and there are more than 50 other festivals and major events all year-round.

Northern Ireland has one of the youngest populations in Europe, with an average age of only 27. This is reflected in a young, creative, fast-changing society with lots going on. The country has its own distinctive accent and culture, and a dynamic economy with many innovative commercial businesses and new industries.

Northern Ireland life and culture
There are five cities in Northern Ireland – Armagh, Belfast, Derry, Lisburn and Newry – and any number of attractive and historic towns and villages. The capital, Belfast, has a mix of stunning architecture, fabulous shops, restaurants, pubs and clubs, and a lively arts, entertainment and cultural scene. The landscape is green and unspoilt, with the northern coast as beautiful as any in Europe.

Find out more about Northern Ireland at the Discover Ireland website.

If you’re a sports fan, Northern Ireland is the ideal study abroad destination for you. Most sports are played or watched in Northern Ireland, including:

  • Football
  • Rugby
  • Gaelic football and hurling
  • Tennis
  • Athletics
  • Golf
  • Ice hockey
  • Motorcycle and car racing, and rallying

Outdoor enthusiasts are well catered for too – you can take part in just about every activity you can think of – from bungy jumping to white water rafting. If you prefer the quiet life, you can also enjoy a variety of museums, stately homes, castles and gardens.

You can find out what else Northern Ireland has to offer at the Visit Northern Ireland website.

People in Northern Ireland
Though you may not be aware of it, you probably already know a lot of people from Northern Ireland. Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney and The Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis were both born here. Other famous Northern Irish stars include the actor Kenneth Branagh, indie rock band Snow Patrol and football legend George Best.

Choose to study in Northern Ireland and you’ll soon get to know more people still – and not only the many students from all over the UK, the USA and around the globe. People here are famously sociable and they say that wherever you go, you’ll always have someone to talk to.

Study abroad in Northern Ireland
The standard of education at secondary level in Northern Ireland is among the highest in the UK, with results at GCSE and A-Level consistently among the top in the UK. One of Derry’s four main grammar schools, Lumen Christi ranks as the top performing school in Northern Ireland, and one of the top 10 schools in the UK.

The education system in Northern Ireland focuses on the individual. Become an international student here and you’ll benefit from choice and flexibility, innovative academic work and teaching methods, and links with commerce, industry and society. Northern Ireland has always been at the forefront of the intellectual, scientific and industrial revolutions. The first ever aircraft manufacturer, Short Brothers, was founded in Belfast in 1908 and is now part of Northern Ireland’s biggest manufacturing company. The ill-fated ocean liner, the Titanic, was built and launched here in 1912 by Harland and Wolff who continue to be major players in engineering and renewable energy.

Northern Ireland’s universities and colleges are centres of high quality and ground-breaking research programmes in a variety of disciplines. For example, at the Sonic Arts Research Centre at Queen’s university, an international team equipped with the latest facilities offers postgraduate study at the frontiers of sound creativity and technology. The multi-million pound Centre for Molecular Biosciences at the University of Ulster also offers research activities in important areas such as cancer, diabetes and diet.

Find out more and search for the many courses in Northern Ireland in the course finder.