Three students from Northern Regional College have set off on an American adventure having secured highly coveted places on the British Council’s prestigious Study USA programme.
Adam Pidgeon from Cullybackey, Tyson McKeown from Ballymena and Matthew Sterritt from Newtownabbey, who have been based at the College’s Ballymena campus, will spend the next academic year studying Business or STEM subjects at an American college.
The Study USA scholarship funding package is worth approximately £35,000 per student and will cover the costs of their accommodation for the academic year, a generous book allowance and a return flight to the US.
Engineering Careers Manager at Northern Regional College Bill Watson, a strong advocate of the programme, is aware of its long-term benefits for students.
“The purpose of Study USA is to produce graduates with an international, business-orientated perspective who will be capable of eventually making a contribution to advancing the Northern Ireland economy.
“I tell my students to think how they can make their CV stand out from other applicants. The Study USA programme is just one of many exciting international travel opportunities of which students at Northern Regional College can avail,” he said.
“Taking part in Study USA gives them a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop new skills and qualities to demonstrate their employability.
“Employers recognise that the participants have stepped outside of their comfort zone. They have done something different and shown they are prepared to take on new challenges, which is a very important attribute to have,” Bill explained.
Adam (20), who has completed Year 1 of a Foundation Degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, will attend King’s College in Pennsylvania.
He said: “Studying at an American college will give me new insights and opportunities which I otherwise wouldn’t have had. The experience will be a very good addition for my CV and will improve my employment prospects.”
Adam continued: “I plan to do a postgraduate degree and find employment within the Northern Ireland engineering industry. I hope this experience will help me make my mark on the global market.”
Tyson (19), who is also an engineering student, will attend Hanover College in Indiana.
He said: “I’m really excited about meeting new people and learning about the differences between cultures in the US and at home.
“Although I’m nervous about the length of time I’ll be away from my family, I feel the experience will allow me to develop the skills and qualities needed to start, run and hopefully grow a successful business. This year is going to be an amazing journey that will help me in later life.”
Matthew (19) is delighted to have been selected for the programme and will be attending Dakota Wesleyan University in South Dakota.
“Whilst on holiday in America, I realised how much I love the American way of life and decided to apply for the Study USA programme. I’m excited about meeting new friends and developing different skills and am so grateful for this opportunity,” he said.
On his return, Matthew intends to complete a Foundation Degree in Business with Digital Technology and move into a career in this area.
“The skills, knowledge and experience I will gain through the Study USA programme will help to further my career,” he explained.
Tyson, Adam and Matthew are the latest Northern Regional College students to secure Study USA scholarships. The College first participated in the programme in 2013 and, since then, nine students have taken up the opportunity to spend an academic year in the USA.
Applications for Study USA 2020-2021 will open in October 2019.