17 students from Ulster University are off to study in the USA this month.
They are among 48 students from across Northern Ireland selected to take part in the prestigious Study USA programme, which enables students to study business or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related subjects 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 2,000 students from Northern Ireland to the United States.
Ulster University student Samara Sprott (21) from Bangor studies Computer Science and will spend the next academic year at King's College, Pennsylvania.
Speaking ahead of her departure, Samara said:
“I applied for Study USA as I love travelling and experiencing new cultures. I wanted to do something different in my placement year and take myself out of my comfort zone. I also realised that I absolutely love studying and wanted to have another academic year instead of working in industry. I also think that university life goes by really quickly and I want to make the most of the opportunities that I get.
“Once I get there, I’m really excited to see my campus and get to experience all the things that I have only really seen in the movies. My college is near the east coast, so I plan to travel to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC while I am out there. I also can’t wait to see what the cold weather is like and celebrate American holidays like thanksgiving.”
Jonathan Stewart, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, said:
“We’re delighted to continue this important partnership with the Department of Economy to deliver Study USA, a prestigious programme that has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2014.
“Study USA is a great way for Northern Ireland students to connect with another country, to really get to understand that country through living there for a year, and enhance their CV by developing new skills in an international setting. While in the US, the students will have the opportunity to learn from leading experts in their field, developing intercultural skills that will prepare them for working in a global economy. Most importantly, our students will build links with counterparts in the United States that will last a lifetime.
“We know that this year’s students will be great ambassadors for Northern Ireland and we wish them every success for the exciting year ahead.”
Also commenting on the programme was Economy Minister Gordon Lyons, he said:
“I’m delighted that my Department is once again working with our partners in the British Council and colleges across North America to deliver Study USA and I want to congratulate all our students who have secured a place in this year’s Study USA programme. A world of opportunity lies in front of them as they begin their studies in colleges right across the United States.
“The benefits of adding an international dimension to our students’ higher education experience are clear. It helps them to widen their horizons, develop personal resilience, confidence and skills, and offers the potential of better academic and employability outcomes in the future.
“My sincere hope is that Study USA helps every student taking part to flourish as an individual and in due course they find a way to pay it forward, and make a positive contribution to their communities and to Northern Ireland and the wider economy on their return.
“I wish all of our students safe travels, that they make the most of the opportunities that are coming their way, and have a fantastic time.”
More information on opportunities to study abroad at Ulster University can be found here.