Winners of the HAPP International Student photo competition: Arriving in Belfast


By Niamh Stewart, UG in International Studies and Politics

Niamh Stewart: Tinted Wheel I’ve just come back to Belfast for my final year of undergrad. When I moved here two years ago, I fell in love with the walkability of the city. I liked that I could walk around for an afternoon down Lisburn or through the city centre and find new shops and cafes to return to and try. This photo was taken in the Botanic Gardens through the tinted lens of my sunglasses. I was surprised to see the Ferris wheel when I got back but it was a nice reminder that life here is going to keep going despite Covid. I was unsure about leaving home and coming back to the city, but sitting outside in the gardens with my new flatmates in the shadow of the Ferris wheel made me feel so content for awhile. The unfiltered photo came out looking quite retro which I liked!


By Matthew Fishback, MA in International Relations

Matthew Fishback: City Refuge Bog Meadows Nature Reserve is an oasis in the middle of a city. This small wetland is a place to step away from traffic and noise, while literally being in between the motorway and a neighborhood. Being among grazing cows, sheep, and goats took me back to where I grew up and I loved it. If anyone needs to get away for a minute this reserve is an amazing spot to sit back and watch nature move by.


By Julia Newton, MA in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice

Julia Newton: Quarantine Although I knew I wasn’t looking forward to quarantine, when I arrived in early September I had no idea what the most painful part of my first two weeks in Belfast would be. When I finally escaped (aka left when I was legally allowed to do so), I walked all over the city to soak up my new home for a year. I walked over 17,000 steps, after two weeks of a daily average of about 250. I nearly fell over from exhaustion that night and was sure I had caught Covid (I hadn’t). But even so, then – and as much as possible in the few weeks since – walking around the City Centre has been the most peaceful part of this transition. Change and adjusting and culture shock are really hard sometimes. But Belfast is beautiful. And walking helps.

One reply on “Winners of the HAPP International Student photo competition: Arriving in Belfast”

I really appreciated these photos and reading about what they mean to each of the students who took them. As Julia says, “Belfast is beautiful. And walking helps.” I’m sure these three spots will make for great autumn strolls.

Leave a Reply