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Ballymena students secure place on US scholarship programme

BALLYMENA students Phoebe McKendry and Dearbhla McAllister are off to study in the USA this month.

They will be among 61 students from across Northern Ireland on the Study USA programme, which enables students to study business or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths) subjects for a year in American colleges, across 28 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 – and since its formation in 1994, the initiative has sent over 2000 students from Northern Ireland to all four corners of the United States.

Phoebe, who is a former pupil at Ballymena Academy, is currently studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Queen’s University Belfast and will spend her year in the US at Edgewood College in Wisconsin. While Dearbhla, a Law student at Queen’s, is off to King’s College in Pennsylvania.

Phoebe McKendry

Speaking ahead of her departure, Phoebe (21) said:

“I wanted to take part in Study USA to gain some new perspectives on culture and learning environments. I also wanted to explore who I am when I'm out of my comfort zone and have no familiar faces around me.

“I'm most excited about exploring new things but I'm also nervous about being away from my family for the first time. I feel like I'll benefit through increased confidence and hopefully I'll be more charismatic as my social skills develop. I also think my future career will benefit as I make connections with people I wouldn’t normally meet and gain new skills and knowledge.”

The Study USA programme was postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but with current conditions, it has been decided that the programme can proceed this academic year.

Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, said:

“This has been a challenging year for our students, and we are delighted that they will be able to take part in the programme this coming academic year. They will join a growing alumni of students to act as ambassadors for Northern Ireland and our institutions, developing important long-term links and connections between the two countries. Through international mobility programmes like Study USA, students are able to enhance their employability skills and also obtain greater intercultural understanding, helping to prepare them for work in a global economy. We wish this year’s students every success, and trust that new connections and friendships will be developed in the year ahead.”

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 their work in Northern Ireland visit nireland.britishcouncil.org or follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Applications for Study USA 2022/23 will open in late Autumn.