From education to employment

Northern Ireland students set for American adventure on US scholarship programme

FIFTY-SIX students from across Northern Ireland will be heading off on the adventure of a lifetime this month after being accepted onto a US Scholarship programme.

Hailing from Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University, Stranmillis University College, Belfast Metropolitan College and North West Regional College, they have been selected to take part in the 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 22 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. Since its formation in 1994, the initiative has sent over 2200 students from Northern Ireland to universities and colleges across the USA.

The students taking part in this year’s programme study a range of subjects including Fashion, Law and Engineering. They include Méabh Fyfe (21)  from Ballymena, who currently studies Law at Queen’s University Belfast. She will spend the year at LaGrange College, Georgia.

Speaking ahead of her departure, she said:

“When I became aware of Study USA in my first year at university, I could not understand how anyone could overlook this opportunity. Of course, the idea of living in America for a year, going to college and meeting new people drew my attention, but the benefits of taking part in a study abroad programme, for yourself and your career, also encouraged me to apply.

“I hope to make friends for life, develop my independence and confidence, while immersing myself in the American culture; taking part in anything that I can. As someone with a strong cultural identity, I am also looking forward to sharing this at my college. This opportunity will set me apart from others in my career path, showing employers that I seek out and avail of opportunities.”

Also taking part is Dylan Copland (20) from Drumahoe in Co Londonderry, a Film and Television Production student at North West Regional College, who will spend the next academic year at Monmouth College in Illinois.

He added: “Study USA is an amazing opportunity and to be one out of 56 students from the colleges and universities in Northern Ireland is fantastic.  I applied to the programme as I wanted to build on my employability and independence away from home, as well as build up a level of knowledge within the business sector. Through the programme, I hope to gain valuable essential skills and qualities from the variety of classes I will attend, in order to bring new life and growth into Northern Ireland’s economy, all while promoting Northern Ireland in good light to my peers.”

56 students from across Northern Ireland will take part in this year’s Study USA programme

Commenting on the programmeJonathan Stewart, Director British Council Northern Ireland said:

“We’re delighted to be partnering with the Department for the Economy to deliver Study USA, a prestigious scholarship programme that has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 1994.

“Study USA greatly enhances the employability skills of the students taking part in the programme, with many returning to work in Northern Ireland for employers with US and global links. Students get an opportunity to connect with another country, to really get to understand that country through living there for a year, and update their CV by developing new skills in an international setting. While in the US, the students will have the opportunity to enhance their academic skills but also to develop their people and intercultural skills that will prepare them for working for employers in Northern Ireland in the future. This year our students will be spread across 22 US states and we hope that they will build valuable links and develop friendships that will last a lifetime. 

“We know that this year’s students will be great ambassadors for Northern Ireland. We wish them every success for the exciting year ahead and we look forward to welcoming them back to celebrate the class of 2024 next year.”

They include a record-breaking 37 students from Queen’s University Belfast

Applications for Study USA for 2024-25 will open in September 2023. To find out more about the programme, and eligibility criteria visit here.

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 or follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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