Study in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland - an education in itself
Visitors to Northern Ireland are invariably impressed by the warmth and friendliness of its people, the interesting and active cultural life, the temperate climate and the pure natural beauty of the countryside and coastline - as well as by the high standard of education at all levels.
Study in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is an interesting and enjoyable place to visit and study. The Mourne Mountains, which rise steeply from the County Down coastline, and the Antrim Plateau offer excellent climbing and walking opportunities.
The famous coast provides visitors with some of the most spectacular scenery in Northern Europe. Indeed, the whole coastline is a patchwork of unspoiled golden strands, offering raw and rugged beauty, all within easy reach of one another.
Of course, if you live and study in Northern Ireland, you will not only want to visit the world famous Giant' s Causeway, which is now the largest visitor attraction on the Island of Ireland, but also the world' s oldest whiskey distillery, at Bushmills.
Also renowned for their beauty are Northern Ireland' s inland lakes and waterways, which provide superb fishing opportunities, and which are frequently used to host some of the world's major fishing competitions.
Belfast, the capital city of Northern Ireland, is a bustling, modern European capital, with a population of 600,000 within its environs. It is undoubtedly the commercial, educational and cultural capital of Northern Ireland.
It is a lively city with a dynamic, international population and is easily accessible from all parts of the United Kingdom, Europe and beyond, through its two airports and busy shipping routes.
Over this last two years the centre of Belfast has been dramatically transformed, incorporating wide, traffic free pedestrian precincts.
The compact city centre means that amenities are conveniently positioned and easy to get to, and combines the best of the old and new. Shoppers have excellent modern shopping centres and traditional markets.
Cultural life thrives, with the superb Waterfront Hall attracting well known names from the classical, pop and rock worlds, and five theatres - including the beautifully restored Grand Opera House. Many fine buildings show the rich history of the city, including the Customs House and several picturesque pubs.
Among these buildings is the College Square building of The Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education.
Further and higher education presents prospective international students with many major challenges: how do they select a course which best meets their individual needs; how can they be sure of the quality of the course, and will it enhance their chances of gaining employment or progressing on to further study?
It is, therefore, vitally important to select the right educational establishment, in an area where they do not make an issue of the settling-in of a new student.
"Get a good education" has been the traditional advice offered to generations of young people over the world. But what exactly is a good education and where can it be given?
Current United Kingdom government policy on the matter suggests that a "good education" is one which provides the student with the transferable skills needed for a successful career.
They believe that employer's needs are paramount and thus education must have a strong element of job training for the international market.
Such education can be achieved in Northern Ireland in, for example, one of the largest colleges in the United Kingdom, The Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education.
Students from Europe and further afield are already making the Belfast Institute their "number one choice".
Others are actively involved in student exchange programmes at the Institute. Two such students are Jessie Willemse and Ellis Verhulst, from Holland, who are currently working and studying in Belfast, at a local branch of a major insurance company.
"We are living in a town approximately 12 kilometres south of Belfast," says Jessie. "In many ways Northern Ireland and Belfast, in particular, has surprised us.
" She adds: "Northern Ireland has got some of the most beautiful scenery we have ever seen; the wonderful coastline and the green rolling hills, where everything is so peaceful; and quiet.
"Everyone is very friendly, polite and warm-hearted, and the staff at the Belfast Institute have done everything possible to make our stay a happy and enjoyable one."
Ellis points out: "When we first arrived in Belfast we must confess to being a little worried because of the political reports on television and in the media, but now we are living and working here, we are experiencing the true heart of the people. We are really glad that we took up the challenge and came.
" She concludes: "We would like to thank sincerely the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education for giving us this opportunity to visit Northern Ireland and Belfast, and for taking the time to arrange our accommodation, work and study visits. We will be going home to Holland with fond memories of your exciting city."
It is clear that Belfast Institute students enjoy the best of both worlds - the action, life and fun of a capital city, side by side with the peace and tranquility of the country. No wonder so many students make the Belfast Institute their first choice to visit.