Local students secure place on US scholarship programme

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Friday, August 9th, 2019

Co Down students Holly Mc Allister, Michaela Murphy and Ryan Lavelle are off to study in the USA this month.

The trio will be among 54 students from across Northern Ireland on British Council’s prestigious Study USA programme, which enables students to study business or STEM subjects for a year in American colleges, across 34 States, helping to develop their career prospects when they return to Northern Ireland. 



Ryan from Newry, is a Philosophy student at Queen’s University Belfast and will spend the next academic year at North Central College, Naperville, Illinois.

The 20-year-old is a past pupil at St Joseph’s High School, Crossmaglen, and is excited to be part of the program.

He told Newry Times, “I’m excited about living and studying in the US. I’ve never been to the US before but have always wanted to from a young age.

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“Other than that, I’m excited to meet lots of new people, travel around different states and study business, which is different than my degree discipline at home.

“I think Study USA will allow me to become a more rounded, confident and independent individual with lots of new international experience.

“The focus of the programme is business education, and this year they’re also introducing STEM, so to gain that vital experience in the US will most definitely give me a leg up against other candidates in the jobs market when the time comes for me to get a job after university,” he insisted.

“My long-term career goals when I return from the US are to go into the legal or political sector, perhaps working for a law firm or NGO that deals with helping others in a meaningful way.



Ryan added, “I’m interested in many different graduate jobs though, and so that’s how Study USA will mainly benefit me – it will make me a more diverse and varied candidate fit for any kind of role I choose to go for, whether that’s business, law or politics.”

Holly, who is from Rathfriland, is currently a Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University and will spend her year at D’Youville College in New York, while Michaela, from Hilltown, also at Ulster University but studying Business and Marketing, will head to the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.

Speaking ahead of her departure, Michaela (22), a past pupil of St. Louis Grammar School Kilkeel, said, “I decided to take part in the Study USA programme as this scholarship grants me a once in a lifetime opportunity to grow both personally and professionally while gaining a holistic experience and well-rounded education.



“By participating in this programme, I feel long-term career prospects are dramatically enhanced through increased self-confidence, independence and cross-cultural skills and attributes.

“This opportunity will allow me to meet a diverse range of people, which will enhance so many vital soft skills, such as compassion and empathy as I will be able to experience first-hand and appreciate the uniqueness of different cultures in a way I have not before,” she added.

Also speaking about the programme was Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, who said, “I am confident that the students departing for the US this year will be great ambassadors for Northern Ireland and will help to further important long-term links and connections between the two countries. 



“We wish them every success, and trust that new connections and friendships will be developed in the year ahead.”

Study USA is just one of many international opportunities available through British Council Northern Ireland.

For more information visit http://nireland.britishcouncil.org , email opportunity@britishcouncil.org or follow on Twitter BCouncil_NI or Facebook.

Applications for Study USA 2020/21 will open in late Autumn.




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