My name is Niklas and I did an Erasmus Traineeship at in Belfast, Northern Ireland for 4 weeks. On Monday 7th July 2019, I met my trainer: Chartered Marketer Christine Watson. On this day we created my learning plan, which included my learning goals for my time here working and living in Belfast. In the following log you can read about all that I accomplished during my time at


Before my Trainer – Chartered Marketer Christine showed me how to use and work with the platform: WordPress, I had never heard about this platform and on my research I found out that 33.4% of all websites are built on WordPress! It offers a wide range of features like creating posts and adding media. I learned how to publish and edit posts and how to install hyperlinks in my content and images to make content more attractive for readers.

Today at Apple

On my first day of work my trainer: Chartered Marketer Christine Watson suggested that I visit the Apple Store in Victoria Square, Belfast, because they offer free classes with different topics like photography, video, music and coding. So I signed up for the course called “Video Walk Manipulating Time”. In this course, I learned how to make videos by using the Slo-mo, the time-lapse or hyperlapse feature on an iPhone. Overall I really enjoyed this course, we visited some sights like The Big Fish and the Albert Memorial Clock in Cathedral Quarter area of Belfast to practice taking some creative shots and videos.
On Thursday 1st August, I took two more classes. The first one was called “Photo Skills Editing Techniques” and it was all about editing photos on the iPad and MacBook. Over a one hour duration, our trainer showed us several features to edit photos to make them more attractive. In the afternoon I took part in the: “Photo Walk Capturing Light and Shadow” free training course . During this course I explored how to find the best light for taking  photos. I learned how to take photos from different perspectives while using different filters and brightening effects. I gained much experience by attending these courses and now after making the most of these free learning opportunities provided by the Apple store in Belfast I’m able to use these features on my mobile device to take high quality photos.


Canva is a graphic-design tool website which uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to over a million photographs and graphics. With help of some tutorials which you can find on the Canva website, I managed to learn quickly how to use this platform and it’s tools.

Online courses by The Open University GB

According to my learning plan, Christine suggested that I invest my time completing some free online courses, provided by universities, during my time in Belfast. I signed up for a few courses, which are offered by the Open University GB Open Learn and Future Learn online learning platforms. Below are the 2 courses i signed up for.
  1. Speeches and speech-making (1hour course) – It was all about the different meanings of the words voice and text and the different styles to hold a speech. In this course they mentioned some of the most unique speeches like Obama’s speech after he was elected as the president of the United States of America.
  2. From Brexit to the break-up of Britain (12 hour course) – I chose this course to gather more information about  Brexit, especially I want to know how strong the impact of Brexit could be on the British people. The course focused on some of the issues that raised from the referendum in 2016 and the messages of Brexit the United Kingdom.

Belfast City and it’s sights

During my traineeship in Belfast, I used my free time to visit several sights and places that Belfast has to offer and I want to mention some locations, which are definitely worth a visit. My Trainer and Erasmus Host: Chartered Marketer Christine Watson delivers tourism training which includes WorldHost NI Ambassador courses so she was able to guide me on making the most of my stay in Northern Ireland.
Belfast City Hall – The Belfast city council offers daily free guided tours. The specific tour times are mentioned on their website. The tour guide explains several facts about Belfast and it’s history. Belfast City Hall is also of Christine’s WorldHost training clients.
St. Georges Market – One of the centre pieces of life in the city. It’s opened at every weekend.  It is very busy but definitely worth a visit, because of the many food and craft stalls. They are also one of Christine’s WorldHost training clients.
Kelly’s Cellars – My host family suggested me this pub. One of Belfast’s oldest traditional Irish pubs, Kelly’s Cellars offers live traditional music, several kinds of beer and traditional Irish food. I tried the Hop House 13 Lager and I have to say that it was one of the best beers I ever had.
Cavehill Country Park – A network of paths allows you to explore the park and enjoy it’s sights like McArt’s Fort or Devil’s Punchbowl. The path to McArt’s for is very steep, but I managed to reach the top and I was rewarded with a beautiful view of the beautiful city of Belfast and the landscape beyond.
Parliament Buildings, Stormont – These buildings are open to the public, so visitors can take free tours around the building and then explore the surrounding Stormont Estate. The way up to the Parliament Buildings is very steep but manageable. The Estate offers many opportunities to rest for a moment and great locations to take good photos. They are also one of Christine’s WorldHost training clients.


Belfast wasn’t the only place I visited during my traineeship. Northern Ireland has so much more to offer. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see some other places within this country.

Newcastle day trip

On Friday 19th July Christine took me and the other Erasmus Trainees she was hosting to the seaside town of Newcastle, County Down – where you can find the Mourne Mountains. She wanted to show us the town and the nearby area where she grew up. On this day the weather was very poor, but that was no reason to stop our journey. Our trip included locations like:
  1. Catlewellan Forest Park
  2. Castlewellan Park Peace Maze – We got lost in there but we found the exit just after about 40 minutes!
  3. Slieve Donard Mountain
  4. Tollymore Forest park
  5. Lunch stop at Hare’s Gap Bistro (one of Christine’s WorldHost training clients)
  6. Murlough Beach – it’s a great place for a walk (and the National Trust NI is one of Christine’s WorldHost training clients)
  7. Our final stop was Dundrum Castle – it offers a great view of the Mournes and it’s a nice place to have a picnic (we bought some cake, made locally in Killyleagh, from the Spar in Clough).
So despite the poor weather we all enjoyed the journey, took some cool photos, so for me it was a great day. (When my German Erasmus colleague Hanna’s blog is ready you can have a read of it too).

Giants Causeway Tour

One day I decided to visit the North coast of Northern Ireland, so I booked a ticket for a “Giants Causeway tour”. The tour started at 9:45 am and the first stop was Carrickfergus Castle. It is just a short drive from Belfast. The town of Carrickfergus used to be  the largest city in the area.
Next stop: Carrick-a-rede- Rope Bridge. (locally pronounced carrick-a-reedy) It’s a famous rope bridge near Ballintoy in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The bridge links the mainland to the tiny island of Carrickarede.
Last big stop: Giant’s Causeway. This area is a result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption. We had about 2 hours time to explore the Giant’s Causeway. The time was very short to be honest. I wasn’t able to see everything of the Giant’s Causeway, but I still enjoyed. Maybe I will come back here in a few years to visit the Giant’s Causeway again on my own.

The 12th of July – Orange day

The 12th July also called “the Glorious Twelfth” is a special day in Northern Ireland. It’s an Ulster Protestant celebration of the Glorious Revolution from 1688 and the victory of King William over King James the second at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The day before the parade, my Trainer: Christine – a WorldHost NI Ambassador, took me to the Museum of Orange Heritage in Belfast, to understand why this day is celebrated in Northern Ireland – celebrated by only some of the community who live in NI.
The night before the 12th July is called “The Eleventh night”. On this night, large towering bonfires were lit all across the city and beyond. On The Twelfth, I went to the Linen Quarter destination of Belfast (one of Christine’s WorldHost training clients) to watch the Orangemen parade. Every lodge was accompanied by a marching band. More than 30,000 musicians took part in the parade! I enjoyed the music and the atmosphere. For me it was an awesome day and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to be here in Belfast on this very special day.

About me

Photograph of Erasmus Trainee Niklas Hocke from Germany in Curated Kitchen Coffee shop in Cathedral Quarter Belfast My name is Niklas Hocke, I am from Germany and I am 23 years old. I´m completing an apprenticeship as an administration clerk in Germany which I started in August 2017 and will complete in July 2020. Apart from working, I am a football enthusiast. I play football in a club and watch it nearly every day. In order to support my football activities I run but also I like to play video games and table tennis.  

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