Entry is now open for a programme that offers students from Northern Ireland scholarships to spend a year studying business in the United States.
Study USA, formerly known as the Business Education Initiative, is managed by British Council Northern Ireland on behalf of the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), and sees students gain valuable international experience and business knowledge, developing their career prospects when they return to Northern Ireland.
Since its formation in 1994, the initiative has sent over 1800 students from Northern Ireland to all four corners of the United States where they have successfully completed a year studying business at one of 140 institutions.
As part of last year’s programme, Louise Kavanagh, a drama student at Queen’s University Belfast was named Student of the Year.
The 25-year-old spent a year studying business at Southwestern College, Kansas, and now hopes to use the experience to pursue a career in community theatre.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony at the Belfast Harbour Commissioner's Office, she said: “Upon completing my internship, I feel I have taken a step towards my career goal of developing and growing a community theatre. Through Study USA I was able to constantly challenge myself and develop the skills to help make a business idea a reality.
“My professional aim is to inspire and develop people to be the best they can be and to make the most of opportunities in a changing community. To say that my experiences in the USA inspired me further would be an understatement.
“Since returning home I have secured a place on the Business in the Community Programme, and with this, will be shadowing professional community businesses and attending specialised board meetings, all contributing to my business plan of opening a community theatre.”
Presenting Louise with her award was Heather Cousins, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Department for Employment and Learning.
She said: “Study abroad is recognised across the world as a key to developing global citizens, enhancing trade links, influencing foreign direct investment decisions and strengthening international relations. Increased international student and staff mobility is recognised in our higher education strategy as a key element in enhancing the reputation of our universities and colleges and improving career prospects for students.
“Study USA is my Department’s flagship international mobility programme, providing opportunities to our undergraduates to develop their knowledge and skills, outside of their degree disciplines, and in an international context. The programme provides opportunities to create long lasting friendships and develop skills and experiences. This in turn, helps to strengthen the links between our country and the US, bringing added benefit to individual participants and ultimately to the Northern Ireland economy. We are grateful for the generous support of the US Colleges.”
Also speaking about the programme was David Alderdice, Director, British Council Northern Ireland.
He said: “Throughout its history, Study USA has enabled students to become great ambassadors for Northern Ireland and furthered our long-term links and connections between the USA and Northern Ireland.
“The programme has helped over 2,000 students enhance their knowledge and skills of living and working internationally and, most importantly, build friendships and connections with counterparts in the United States that last a lifetime.”
Students interested in applying for next year’s programme can apply online now at nireland.britishcouncil.org. Deadline for Applications is Monday, December 7.
For more information on British Council Northern Ireland or Study USA, visit http://nireland.britishcouncil.org, follow on Twitter: @BCouncil_NI or Facebook: www.facebook.com/britishcouncilnorthernireland