Friday 04 October 2019


Study USA, a programme that offers students from Northern Ireland scholarships to spend a year studying in the United States celebrated its 25th anniversary today (Friday, Oct 4, 2019).

Formerly known as the Business Education Initiative (BEI), the programme was initially set up in 1994 to aid the Northern Ireland peace process - with the White House providing an endorsement for the programme in 1995 in a letter written by President Bill Clinton.

Today, the programme is managed by British Council Northern Ireland on behalf of the Department for the Economy (DfE) and sends 54 students each year from Northern Ireland to the all four corners of the United States where they successfully complete a year studying business or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) at one of 140 institutions. 

During the year they gain valuable international experience and business knowledge, helping to develop their career prospects when they return to Northern Ireland.  With these newfound business skills, these alumni now work for a diverse range of leading firms both in Northern Ireland and in the US, including Citi, KPMG, First Derivatives, Almac and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). 

To celebrate over two decades of the programme, the anniversary celebrations brought together the programmes most recent graduates, US partners (APU (Association of Presbyterian Colleges), GBHEM (General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and ACCU (Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities) and guest speakers; Trevor Cooper, Director of Higher Education Division, Department for the Economy and Elizabeth Kennedy-Trudeau, Consul General, US Consulate General Belfast.

Speaking at the anniversary celebrations at the Harbour Commissioner’s Office, Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland: “We are delighted to be celebrating twenty-five years of success with the Study USA programme. Over 2000 undergraduate students in Northern Ireland have benefitted from this incredible scholarship programme since it began in 1994.

“Through the study of business in a US college or university, students boost their core employability skills and gain invaluable experience and intercultural skills working in an international setting. This enhanced global awareness is vitally important in developing Northern Ireland’s export driven economy.”

Also speaking at the 25th anniversary celebrations was Trevor Cooper, Director of Higher Education Division, Department for the Economy. He said: “The Department for the Economy is proud to fund Study USA, which brings such great opportunities to Northern Ireland students. SUSA participants are to be congratulated on their achievements during their time in America, and we trust that the skills and networks developed during their studies will be of great benefit to them and to Northern Ireland in the future. 

“We are grateful for the generosity of the US colleges and universities in providing places for our students and recognise the work of the US college representatives and the British Council in ensuring the smooth running of the programme. We would also like to thank the US Consulate in Belfast for their invaluable support.”

Students interested in applying for the Study USA 20-21 programme can now apply online at Students can opt to study business and/ or STEM subjects and the deadline for applications for Higher Education Institutions is Monday, November 11 2019 and for Further Education Institutions - Monday, January 20 2020 at 12 noon.

For more information on other international opportunities through British Council Northern Ireland visit or email

Notes to Editor

For further information please contact: 

Claire McAuley, Communications Manager: T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7542268752 Twitter: @BCouncil_NI, Facebook – 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.