Fifty-four students from across Northern Ireland are jetting off to study business 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 and management 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.
21-year-old Conor Carney from Enniskillen will spend his year at La Roche College in Pennsylvania. As a law student at Queen’s University Belfast, he’s excited to be part of the programme.
He said: “I’m slightly nervous but more excited than anything else about the year ahead – especially getting to live in another country and experience a different culture. I think that the programme will help me in the future as employers are always looking for people with global experiences - and no better way to do this than study for a year abroad!
“I believe that the year will create many memories for me through travel or just through normal college life, and hopefully many new friendships - and through the challenges, I hope to develop as a person and mature.”
Ulster University’s Chloe Curran is also looking forward to the experience. Originally from Ballygawley, the 20-year-old currently studies Product and Furniture Design, and will spend her year at Central Methodist University, Missouri.
She said: “I decided to apply for Study USA to gain an insight into a different culture and to be able to explore new opportunities throughout my time within the programme. It also provides me with new experiences both academic and practical that will be of benefit both now and in the future.
“I feel this opportunity will enable me to grow as a person as well as providing me with essential business knowledge that can help me to develop and grow as a product designer, my current course at Ulster University.”
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.
“A recent report published by the British Council has highlighted that the relationship between the US and the UK is driven as much by cultural factors, as political – with programmes such as Study USA supporting these links and strengthening them for the future.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter BCouncil_NI or Facebook.