How is it Easter already?!

I need to get better at updating this thing, I can’t believe it’s been 4 months since my last entry – the semester has flown in. It’s been a jam-packed start to 2019 and I am so ready for the holidays next week … I’m sure many of our students can relate!

Most of this year so far has been spent abroad, with trips to India in February, China in March and France this month. I was in India and China for student recruitment activity, so my schedule involved training education agents, attending education fairs, visiting partner institutions and schools and meeting applicants. As always, I squeezed in as much culture as I possibly could, and had an absolute ball – highlights included dipping my feet in the Indian Ocean on the 2nd longest beach in the world, and visiting the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda breeding! I was in France last week to attend a training course as part of the European Association for International Education’s Spring Academy in Bordeaux. It was a pleasure to meet so many like-minded people and share experiences … as well as being able to practice my French and munch freshly baked baguette like it was going out of fashion!

When I have been home in Belfast, there have still been plenty of international events to satisfy my wanderlust. On campus, we celebrated Lunar New Year in early February and welcomed the Year of the Pig with a traditional lion dance, calligraphy workshops and music and dance performances. March included a celebration of Malaysian culture with the annual M Night event at Belfast City Hall, and a collaboration by our international student societies at QUB with Qulture Night – it makes me so happy to see our students working so hard to include us in their customs and bring even more colour to our wee city!

Our International Student Ambassadors have been busy over the last few months, too. We welcomed our new cohort with a training day and lunch with Faculty staff, and since then they’ve been sharing their first impressions of QUB and life in Belfast. Our MSc Mechanical Engineering with Management student, Aayush, has been exploring the surrounding areas through his passion for hiking, and our MSc Construction & Project Management student, Azhar, recently enjoyed an industry field trip to London as part of his studies. In addition, our PhD students from China have been a great help in delivering information webinars over WeChat! At this time of year, student recruitment is all about conversion – converting an application into a student arriving onto campus in September – so the positive experiences of our current international students really help give our offer holders an idea of what it’s like to study here.

For now, though, I need a bit of rest and recuperation. Have a very happy Easter break, whatever you’re up to!

Ciara

Azhar on his industry field trip in London

Ciara Murray

Ciara Murray is an International Officer at Queen's University Belfast, managing student progression from INTO pathways onto Queen's degree programmes. Her blog aims to share her personal experiences living in Northern Ireland, working at QUB and travelling the globe.

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