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REFLECTIVE JOURNAL. SECTION A: Academic Study My reflection as a student in St. Mary’s belonging to Erasmus students has been really nice. Therefore,

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Presentation on theme: "REFLECTIVE JOURNAL. SECTION A: Academic Study My reflection as a student in St. Mary’s belonging to Erasmus students has been really nice. Therefore,"— Presentation transcript:

1 REFLECTIVE JOURNAL

2 SECTION A: Academic Study My reflection as a student in St. Mary’s belonging to Erasmus students has been really nice. Therefore, due to the very long period of my staying here in Belfast I could attend most of the courses offered by the college. The relation of courses I was enrolled in is shown below: My reflection as a student in St. Mary’s belonging to Erasmus students has been really nice. Therefore, due to the very long period of my staying here in Belfast I could attend most of the courses offered by the college. The relation of courses I was enrolled in is shown below: First semester: First semester: –European History –Citizenship –Divided societies –Literacy –School based work –Academic writing –Reflective journal Second semester: Second semester: –European History –British History –School Based Work 2 –Irish Film Studies –International Week

3 I want to make clear that a big difference exists between Northern Ireland and Spain when we talk about academic studies. It would be impossible to number all of them here because I must be brief but here I list some of them which I consider more relevant: I want to make clear that a big difference exists between Northern Ireland and Spain when we talk about academic studies. It would be impossible to number all of them here because I must be brief but here I list some of them which I consider more relevant:  ECTS credits –In Spain we have not got already ECTS credits in most of the degrees. They are being introduced nowadays but they do not affect to students who started their studies three years ago like me. Here in Belfast we receive a lot of credits for one course (8 for example) that last for one semester and this is impossible to find in Spain…therefore, the schedule is also quite more reduced here than in Spain. We have to attend to classes a lot of hours per week and we do not have time enough to do all our stuff. I think that St. Mary’s is better in this theme because it let you free time to finish your homework, study or even get a job. It results very difficult to do in Spain.

4  Methodology -In this sense I would like to remark the importance of grouped work in some of the courses like literacy and divided societies. I think that a group is a perfect way to work since students have the chance to give their opinions, to debate and contrast ideas and learn together. I consider that is the best way to work in a class. I have to confess that my favourite subject has been literacy. I really enjoyed that class because of its entertaining method for teaching. The teacher really knew how to catch up the attention of her students  College -I really emphasize the familiar character breathed in St. Mary’s. I guess that it is due to its small extension. Everyone knows each other and everybody is very kind. In Spain I study in a huge campus where you can only met the students who you share your classes with because there are miles of students in my university who are distributed in the different faculties that the campus has. However, in spite of the difference of size, St. Mary’s is able to offer all the services that are offered in Huelva. I mean St. Mary’s has a library, a gym, a dining room…it has not anything to jealous to my university. On the contrary, there is something that we do not have in Huelva: the common rooms. I think we should have a common room as well!

5 - - In Spain we do not choose a principal subject like maths or geography like you do here in Northern Ireland, in stead of that we actually can not anything since we have to pass all the courses of the degree that you want to get.  Courses:

6 SECTION B: Cultural Programme I have tried to participate in all of the cultural events, either formal or informal, offered to me as far as it has been possible. These events are presented below:  Formal Programmes –Historical Pub Tour of Belfast –Giant’s Causeway –The Old Bushmills' Distillery. –Derry –Cave Hill. –Belfast‘s Castle.  Informal Programmes –Visit to Dublin. –Lough Neagh. –Belfast Zoo

7 Formal Programmes

8 Historical Pub Tour of Belfast I decided to join to this guided tour because I believe that these pubs are an integral part of Belfast’s social and cultural life. Some of the pubs I could visit were Whites Tavern, The Garrick, The Harbour Bar, The Hercules Bar, Kelly’s Cellars and Maddens. I have to admit that my favourite one was McHugh’s Bar. Built nearly 300 years ago, it is one of the oldest buildings in Belfast. The place is splendid and there you can enjoy a great atmosphere, grand pints and fine food. In addition, the staff treated us really good since they invited us two huge plates with garlic potatoes, sausages and fried chicken wings. It was delicious! I decided to join to this guided tour because I believe that these pubs are an integral part of Belfast’s social and cultural life. Some of the pubs I could visit were Whites Tavern, The Garrick, The Harbour Bar, The Hercules Bar, Kelly’s Cellars and Maddens. I have to admit that my favourite one was McHugh’s Bar. Built nearly 300 years ago, it is one of the oldest buildings in Belfast. The place is splendid and there you can enjoy a great atmosphere, grand pints and fine food. In addition, the staff treated us really good since they invited us two huge plates with garlic potatoes, sausages and fried chicken wings. It was delicious!

9 Giant’s Causeway  This is the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen in all my life. The waves in the sea crashing with the mountains and all those perfect hexagonal rocks made by nature…therefore we went lucky because the weather was really good!

10 The Old Bushmills' Distillery  The tour through The Old Bushmills' Distillery provided us a guided tour of the making of Irish whiskey. The Distillery is the oldest legal maker of whiskey in the world having received its distillery charter in The Old Bushmills' Distillery is located on the edge of Bushmill Town. The Town of Bushmill is located not far from the Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle. We had the chance to see the factory in full action because we visited it in a working day. It was entertaining but I nearly could breath because of the smelly. Anyway it was funny to know how the whiskey is made. Besides, the guide taught us a lot of curiosities about the whiskey, the wine and the beer.

11 Derry  The Students Union in St. Mary’s was so kind because they were the responsible of this trip. They organized the cars, the food and the guided visit. I really enjoyed this trip. The walk around the castle was really interesting and the place were we eat was so cool! The most I liked it was the visit to St. Columb’s Cathedral. I loved the paintings, the pictures, the flags, the seats, the windows…it was actually wonderful.

12 Cave Hill  It was a really nice day having a promenade until arrive to the cave. It was funny looking how many people fell down and sliced due to the raining!! In addition, the sights were amazing from the top of the hill.

13 Belfast‘s Castle  The same day we went to Cave Hill we had the chance to visit Belfast’s Castle. I must confess that it was a bit disappointing to me. I thought that it was like an ancient castle and it is… but only if you look at it from exterior; but if you came into it you discover that it is just a salon of celebrations in the internal side. But it is nice. However, there was something I liked. It was an ancient room who is preserved. The room counts with a bed, a red, a chair, a suitcase…and I love such a former things! I also liked the green gardens of the castle and the sights were nice too.

14 Informal Programmes

15 Visit to Dublin My flatmates and I had been preparing this trip since many weeks before. We exploit the visit of some Spanish friends and we choose the appropriate date for the trip. The city of Dublin was enjoyable. It has a lot of interesting places to see and we try to visit the most important ones. Some of the places we visited were Trinity College, The Spire, Grafton Street, the City Centre, O’Connell Bridge, and a park called St. Stephen’s Green which is the most beautiful park I have ever seen. Nevertheless, we were actually horrified because of the prize of everything! We had been told that it was expensive but we could never imagine it was true to such an extent!

16 Lough Neagh One more time we planned a trip, but this time we were all Erasmus Students. We want to visit the biggest lake in United Kingdom. Before seeing the lake, we had a walk for a park located in Antrim. We enjoyed playing football in the park, feeding the swans and taken pictures with them. Once we arrived to the lake, we strolled by boat. The trip on the boat was nice and the lake was titanic but I was really freezing! One more time we planned a trip, but this time we were all Erasmus Students. We want to visit the biggest lake in United Kingdom. Before seeing the lake, we had a walk for a park located in Antrim. We enjoyed playing football in the park, feeding the swans and taken pictures with them. Once we arrived to the lake, we strolled by boat. The trip on the boat was nice and the lake was titanic but I was really freezing!

17 Belfast Zoo My boyfriend came to visit me from Spain and I decided to bring him to the Belfast Zoo because I thought it would be funny. Finally, some Erasmus friends decided to join us. It was Sunday and the weather, obviously, was bad…it was a shame because we could not see all the animals: they were protecting themselves of the rain and they were hidden. But it was not an impediment to have a great day! The zoo of Belfast is fantastic. There is a grand variety of animals that you can see inside it. My favourite ones were giraffes and monkeys, but there were also penguins, a white tiger, lions, gorillas, peacocks, bears, zebras, flamingos, elephants, ducks, a pork spin, seals…

18 SECTION C: Social Programme Fortunately, my social life has not been so quite! On the contrary, I have attended to a lot of parties organized by the different societies in the college in many bars and discos that have resulted really nice! (The Globe, Karma, The Beehive, La Lea…) I liked these parties because they are normally for a good cause (breast cancer, to support college football team and so on) and since these bars have the best atmosphere to meet people and practice the Irish language. Therefore, it is good to keep in contact with the other Erasmus Students and also with the Irish students in St. Mary’s. Especially I will never forget the Halloween Party in La Lea. It was great! There were also other kind of social meetings in the college, for instance Eurovision context, Irish night or the Euro-quiz which were pretty funny! Fortunately, my social life has not been so quite! On the contrary, I have attended to a lot of parties organized by the different societies in the college in many bars and discos that have resulted really nice! (The Globe, Karma, The Beehive, La Lea…) I liked these parties because they are normally for a good cause (breast cancer, to support college football team and so on) and since these bars have the best atmosphere to meet people and practice the Irish language. Therefore, it is good to keep in contact with the other Erasmus Students and also with the Irish students in St. Mary’s. Especially I will never forget the Halloween Party in La Lea. It was great! There were also other kind of social meetings in the college, for instance Eurovision context, Irish night or the Euro-quiz which were pretty funny!

19 Apart of those organized events, I went out with my friends to know some places that Irish young people recommend us because they considered they are good crack, like M- Club, Eglantine, The Box, The Bot, Limelight… I really love Belfast night! Apart of those organized events, I went out with my friends to know some places that Irish young people recommend us because they considered they are good crack, like M- Club, Eglantine, The Box, The Bot, Limelight… I really love Belfast night!

20 Referring to the city of Belfast, St. George Market is one of my favourite places in Belfast because there you can find fresh and high quality food. I can also try delicious cooked food. I love specially going to the market on Saturdays because then a band plays in live and it is pleasant going shopping while you are listening to good music. Referring to the city of Belfast, St. George Market is one of my favourite places in Belfast because there you can find fresh and high quality food. I can also try delicious cooked food. I love specially going to the market on Saturdays because then a band plays in live and it is pleasant going shopping while you are listening to good music. Continental market is also a very good place where I used to go because you can eat the typical food from different countries like Turkey, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Mexico…I have been there many times and I have tried Dutch mini-crepes, the authentic German sausage and a delicious desert made up of flan and chocolate, but I cannot remember its precedence. All of them were appetizing. The problem is that was in Belfast just during some weeks in a year… Continental market is also a very good place where I used to go because you can eat the typical food from different countries like Turkey, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Mexico…I have been there many times and I have tried Dutch mini-crepes, the authentic German sausage and a delicious desert made up of flan and chocolate, but I cannot remember its precedence. All of them were appetizing. The problem is that was in Belfast just during some weeks in a year…

21 My favourite pastime in my free time is going shopping with my friends. Here I discovered that all the girls in the world love shopping! I liked go shopping especially at Christmas because streets were adorned with colour lights and there were a lot of people. It was wonderful! I was in the City Centre when the Christmas lights lighted all the City Hall and the trees in the streets. There was a concert and some children sang Christmas songs. It was such a beautiful show! To go shopping we prefer Castle Court and Curley’s; and definitely all the boutiques in Royal Avenue and the new shopping mall Victoria Square. It is fabulous! To sum up, Belfast is a big city where you can enjoy in many different ways. You do not have time to be bored! To sum up, Belfast is a big city where you can enjoy in many different ways. You do not have time to be bored!

22 My social life in Spain do not defer too much with my stay here in Belfast. In my country I also use to go out with my friends to discos at night and go shopping in malls and with my mum to get the food in the markets. But in Spain my university does not organize parties for students and that is a pity! In addition we just go out at weekends and here you can have fun every night of the week during the winter and that is really good!

23 SECTION D Guidelines for future students Here I present a list of some Do’s and Dont’s which might serve like a reference to future Erasmus Students in St. Mary’s University College

24 Things that all Erasmus Students should do:

25

26

27 I would like to encourage all students to study abroad, especially in Saint Mary’s University College. All the people in St. Mary’s (teachers, other students, cleaners, cookers, administration staff…) will take care of you and they make you feel like at home since the college is like a big house where everybody belongs to a big family. We even have a mum! Briege is that lovely person who helps Erasmus Students in any problem that might arise related with the house, the landlord or whatever. On the other hand you will also have a coordinator in St. Mary’s in order to supervise your develop in the college, but in an academic aspect. If you are afraid of studying abroad, here in Belfast you do not have anything to fear because they are so friendly that they handle all the basic things you need, I mean a house to live, show you the city, the supermarkets, the cinema, the college…and even so they will pick you up to the airport! St. Mary’s is a catholic college and it counts with a chapel for those who want to use it, but if you do not support Catholics, you do not have to worry…it does not matter your provenance or your religion, everyone is welcome. In addition, they are very respectful in that issue. Apart of the kind people in the college, it counts with a lot of really good services available for all the students interested in them, such a gym, a very cheap dinning room, library, two excellent computer rooms that open all the day, common rooms…and all them are for free! Definitely, you are crazy if you miss the chance to study in St. Mary’s!

28 SECTION E : Overall reflection on the experience I have to say that studying abroad you can find some advantages and some handicaps. In one hand, it has been very, very difficult for me to come to Northern Ireland and stay here so far away from my mother town, my family and my friends. I have lived hard moments and more than once I almost start to prepare my luggage and come back...luckily I was not alone because I have lived with some friends (which I consider like sisters now) who helped me when I felt really sad. On the other hand, I have to recognize that here in Belfast I have lived some of the best moments of all my life. I have met the most fantastic people that I had never thought and I have shared such a special occasions with them.

29 In the academic aspect there is something that has enriched me very much: it is the school base work. I want to be an English teacher in Spain and that experience in the two primary schools where I have been (“Saint Christ the Redeemer” and “Saint Bernadette’s”) has result very useful to me in the sense that I have learnt different methodologies and skills which will help me in Spain when I give my classes. In this context the Literacy course has also been quite productive due to the issues we talked about during the semester. I mean readings for children and how to teach them to read, the way that a teacher should talk in the class (the voice, the tone, the gestures…) and so on. In my opinion this course is going to be very productive in my future professional life. In the academic aspect there is something that has enriched me very much: it is the school base work. I want to be an English teacher in Spain and that experience in the two primary schools where I have been (“Saint Christ the Redeemer” and “Saint Bernadette’s”) has result very useful to me in the sense that I have learnt different methodologies and skills which will help me in Spain when I give my classes. In this context the Literacy course has also been quite productive due to the issues we talked about during the semester. I mean readings for children and how to teach them to read, the way that a teacher should talk in the class (the voice, the tone, the gestures…) and so on. In my opinion this course is going to be very productive in my future professional life.

30 Referring to the English language I must tell that I fell in love with the Irish accent since the first day when I get off the plane. I have to be grateful because I needed to improve my English and before or after I had to go to an English spoken place. I confess that I had never thought about Northern Ireland as a possible destiny to learn English but now I feel very glad of my election. In addition I have could improve my English considerably. At first it was quite difficult to understand the people in general. It was very hard in class when teachers ask me something too. I could not even understand what were they talking about and they pretended to get an answer from me. I used to feel embarrassed...However, little by little I got to understand them enough to answer and understand the classes normally like if I were in Spain. In fact, teachers give many facilities to Erasmus students and this is very nice from them.

31 Personally, my experience here in Belfast has made me grown up like a person. I feel myself much more mature than nine months ago when I arrive here and this had let me change my point of view in many aspects. I want to emphasize the most that here in Belfast I have enjoyed a lot getting in contact with the Irish people and their culture and also with the political history of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Before coming here, I and my family were a little bit afraid due to that problem related to the IRA. However, as soon as I came here I realized that Belfast was not a dangerous city to live. Living in West Belfast I have understood the feelings and values of the Irish. I really admire the Irish for getting over that bad period and becoming such an important part in Europe.


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