Oisin off to Buffalo to step outside 'comfort zone' with Study USA

Talented young Derry man Oisin O’Donnell is off to the banks of Lake Erie this month as one of 48 students selected to take part in the annual Study USA programme.

The scheme offers scholarships for students allowing them to study business or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related subjects in American colleges, across 28 States.

Oisin (21), who studies Economics at Queen’s University Belfast and is a former student at Lumen Christi College, will spend a year at D'Youville University in Buffalo, New York.

He said: “I decided to apply for the Study USA programme as I thought it would be a good way to see a different part of the world and an opportunity to meet new people from different cultures.

Oisin O’Donnell, centre, with, from left, Ewan McComb (Castlerock), Maire O’Kane (Magherafelt), Grace Owens (Magherafelt) and Ronan McKee (Magherafelt), who have been selected to take part in prestigious Study USA programme and will spend a year studying in the USA.

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"I think through the programme I will be able to step outside of my comfort zone which will help me to build confidence. I also think Study USA will help me develop a wider perspective on the world and give me a better understanding on how business works.”

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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 studying in Northern Ireland to all four corners of the United States.

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.

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“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.”

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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.”

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To find out more about the programme, visit: https://nireland.britishcouncil.org/opportunities/study-usa