Fifty-four students from across Northern Ireland are off to study in the USA this month.
They have been selected to take part in the British Council’s prestigious Study USA programme and will spend the next academic year studying business or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related subjects in American colleges, across 34 States, with the aim of developing their career prospects when they return to Northern Ireland.
The British Council, which is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations, manages Study USA on behalf of the Department for the Economy – and since its formation in 1994, the initiative has sent over 2000 students from Northern Ireland to all four corners of the United States.
20-year-old Zoe Clarke from Sixmilecross in Omagh will spend her year at Warren Wilson College, Asheville North Carolina. As an Interactive Media Student at Ulster University, she is excited to be part of the programme.
She said: “For me, this a is a once in a lifetime opportunity; I have never been to America before, so I am excited to experience the culture and explore different parts of the country.
“This experience will benefit me immensely; as coming from a media background I have never studied business, so I’m looking forward to learning new skills and studying a new subject. I’m also looking forward to boosting my confidence through solo traveling, making new friends and adjusting to a new lifestyle.
“When I arrive home, I plan to graduate from my degree and then either start working within the marketing industry or prepare to start my own business.”
North Regional College student Adam Pidgeon is also looking forward to the experience. Originally from Ballymena, the 20-year-old is currently studying for a Foundation Degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering and will head to King's College in Pennsylvania later this month.
He said: “I decided to take part in Study USA as I hope it will give me insights and opportunities which I would not otherwise have – increasing my employment prospects as well as gaining vital experience I can add to my CV.
“In the future, I hope to continue studying and do a post-graduate degree. I plan to find employment within the Northern Ireland Engineering industry and hope through this experience to make my mark on the global market.”
Also speaking about the programme was Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, who said: “I am confident that the students departing for the US this year will be great ambassadors for Northern Ireland and will help to further important long-term links and connections between the two countries.
“Through Study USA, students will have the opportunity to not only enhance their employability skills but also develop intercultural skills, which will help them to prepare to work in a global economy.
“We wish them every success, and trust that new connections and friendships will be developed in the year ahead.”
Study USA is just one of many international opportunities available through British Council Northern Ireland. For more information visit http://nireland.britishcouncil.org , email email@example.com or follow on Twitter BCouncil_NI or Facebook.
Applications for Study USA 2020/21 will open in late Autumn.