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Ballymena students set for American adventure on US Scholarship programme

Ballymena students (from left) Stewart Killough and Méabh Fyfe - are pictured with Claire Hamilton, Study USA Project Manager, British Council Northern Ireland.

Ballymena students (from left) Stewart Killough and Méabh Fyfe - are pictured with Claire Hamilton, Study USA Project Manager, British Council Northern Ireland.

BALLYMENA students Stewart Killough and Méabh​Fyfe are heading off on the adventure of a lifetime this month after being accepted onto a US Scholarship programme.


The duo are among 56 students from across Northern Ireland on the prestigious Study USA programme, which enables students to study 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 – and since its formation in 1994, the initiative has sent over 2000 students from Northern Ireland to all four corners of the United States.


Stewart, who currently studies Post Primary Business and Enterprise (Hons) Teaching at Stranmillis University College is heading to Dakota Wesleyan University in South Dakota; while Méabh, a Law student at Queen’s University Belfast, will spend the year at LaGrange College, Georgia.


Speaking ahead of his departure, Stewart said:

“I applied for the Study USA programme to further my personal and professional development. Living and studying abroad through this scholarship is a real blessing. I look forward to learning more about the business world in America through my classes and being able to serve others throughmissionary and charity work in college organisations. I look forward to the close knit and community feel of my host college in the USA and hope it will mirror my home college in Northern Ireland.


“Through the programme, I am hoping to become a more mature, informed and can-do sort of person. I know that my experiences internationally will broaden and further affirm my ambition and passion for education, already being nourished at Stranmillis, as I continue to qualify as a teacher. Ultimately, someday I will be an old man. When such day comes, looking back at the adventures of my youth and my time spent in the US will be something I no doubt cherish. I hope to be a good ambassador for Northern Ireland and Ballymena, and to come back with a renewed sense of optimism and the possibility to make both places even better.”


Méabh added: “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 commenting on the programme, Jonathan 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.”


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


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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