After working full time and going to school in the evening for two years, I was finally able to quit my job and go to school full time at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro this past August. (Needless to say, I haven't done a lot of cooking the past couple of years!) My major is Business Administration with a minor in Spanish. I just finished my first semester and am in the midst of filling out my study abroad application for the fall 2012 semester (so exciting!).
My first choice school is Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland. I want to attend that school because it is highly ranked and looks like a great school. I want to live in Glasgow because I am craving city life after living in rural areas for 5 years now. I have also heard that it is very easy to travel from Glasgow and that is a really important factor for me because I want to be able to see all that I can while I am abroad. A friend of mine studied there for a summer for her master's program and she loved it.
I am having trouble deciding on my two alternate schools. No matter how much I research online, I can't get a good idea of what the cities I am considering are like. I will say that I am planning to do a study abroad in Spain in fall 2013 so I can practice my Spanish, so I would like to go to an English speaking country this time around.
If any of you can tell me about any experience you have with any of the following cities, I would appreciate it. My main concerns are: safety, lots to do (arts and culture, restaurants, sightseeing, etc.), ease of travel (proximity to international airport), friendly folks, and just a good atmosphere for a 32 year old student.
Aarhus, Denmark - (I was strongly considering this city, but was worried about the high cost of living and it's distance from the international airport.)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Lyon, France (classes are taught in English. I have always wanted to visit France, but just am not sure if it makes sense for me to study there given my minor.)
There are many, many other options that I could choose from, but I think this small list is overwhelming enough!