Forty-eight students from across Northern Ireland will be heading off to study at universities and colleges across the USA this month.
Hailing from Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University, St Mary’s University College, Stranmillis University College and Belfast Metropolitan College, they have been selected to take part in the 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 28 States, helping to develop 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.
The students taking part in this year’s programme study a range of subjects including Food and Nutrition, Law and Politics and Engineering. One student involved in this year’s programme is Eimear Thomas Walsh (22), from Newcastle, who is currently studying English at Queen’s University Belfast. She will spend the next academic year at North Central College in Illinois.
Speaking ahead of her departure she said: “I have always dreamt of taking part in a study abroad programme and when I attended an information session on Study USA, I knew it was the ideal programme for me, especially the opportunity to study business as it is something entirely different from what I study at home. As well as this, the partnership with liberal arts colleges ensures smaller class sizes, which means I feel really secure studying something completely new.
“Once I arrive, I’m very excited to get involved in the local community and am keen to begin volunteering. I also can’t wait to meet my classmates and hopefully build some strong connections in the United States. Along with this, I plan on joining some extracurricular clubs which I am really looking forward to. I am also excited about studying in a different environment, I think it will be a great way to improve my confidence and provide me with many new transferable skills.
“Study USA has given me a truly once in a lifetime opportunity to study in the United States.”
Commenting on the programme, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said: “I’m delighted that my Department is once again working with our partners in the British Council and colleges across North America to deliver Study USA and I want to congratulate all our students who have secured a place in this year’s Study USA programme. A world of opportunity lies in front of them as they begin their studies in colleges right across the United States.
“The benefits of adding an international dimension to our students’ higher education experience are clear. It helps them to widen their horizons, develop personal resilience, confidence and skills, and offers the potential of better academic and employability outcomes in the future.
“My sincere hope is that Study USA helps every student taking part to flourish as an individual and in due course they find a way to pay it forward, and make a positive contribution to their communities and to Northern Ireland and the wider economy on their return.
“I wish all of our students safe travels, that they make the most of the opportunities that are coming their way, and have a fantastic time.”
Jonathan Stewart, Director British Council Northern Ireland also said: “We’re delighted to continue this important partnership with the Department of Economy to deliver Study USA, a prestigious programme that has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2014.
“Study USA is a great way for Northern Ireland students to connect with another country, to really get to understand that country through living there for a year, and enhance their CV by developing new skills in an international setting. While in the US, the students will have the opportunity to learn from leading experts in their field, developing intercultural skills that will prepare them for working in a global economy. Most importantly, our students will build links with counterparts in the United States that will last a lifetime.
“We know that this year’s students will be great ambassadors for Northern Ireland and we wish them every success for the exciting year ahead.”
Study USA continues the British Council’s work, building connection, understanding and trust between people in the UK and overseas through arts, education and English language teaching. To find out more about the British Council’s work in Northern Ireland visit nireland.britishcouncil.org or follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. To find out more about the programme, visit: https://nireland.britishcouncil.org/opportunities/study-usa