Songs of the Summer

School’s out! Graduations are over for another year, campus has gone quiet and the behind-the-scenes preparations are underway for another academic year. We’ve been lucky with the weather, and lunch breaks are being spent people-watching in the beautiful Botanic Gardens.

After my last entry, I spent some more time in India meeting offer holders and their families, and then I took a break in Scotland to spend some time with my own family! It’s so easy to get to the rest of the UK from here; to get “home” I simply purchased a return ticket on the ferry for less than £50 and spent a few hours with my nose in a book.

Back in Belfast, I’ve been moving forward with my languages, completing Level 3 of Mandarin at the QUB Language Centre and going to a weekly Spanish exchange at the Sunflower bar, too. When I visit one of the international supermarkets around campus, I justify my spending by telling myself it’s educational! I always have to be learning something new, and last week I even spent some time bouldering after work (rock climbing, but without without the ropes and harnesses). It was great to meet some new people and challenge myself – I didn’t expect it to be such a workout, and my arms were killing me for days!

It’s officially festival season, and Northern Ireland has a lot to offer! Belsonic is one of the large-scale events and runs for a few weeks, showcasing some of the world’s biggest acts in the idyllic setting of Ormeau Park. Luckily, I live right around the corner, and picked up tickets to see Slash and The Killers! My favourite gigs are the local ones, though, and I try to get out and support the home-grown music scene as much as possible. Sound of the Shore took place on a tiny beach on the shore of Lough Nea, while Our Back Yard was out in the countryside – both were amazing days packed with the best local musicians, good food and even better company. Check out the slideshow below!

Whatever you have planned for your summer, I hope you have a good one.

All the best from sunny Belfast,

Ciara

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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