A Greenisland student is following in his grandmother’s footsteps by taking part in the Study USA scheme.
Adam McCoy, 21, is heading to the University of St Thomas in Minnesota after being selected to take part in the prestigious scholarship programme.
A Marketing student at Ulster University’s Jordanstown campus, Adam will be joined by 54 young people from across Northern Ireland on the British Council-run scheme.
They will each study business and management for a year in a range of American colleges across 34 states.
“I applied for Study USA because of my nan, Sarah Clawson, who returned as a mature student in the early 2000s reading American Studies,” Adam said.
“In 2002, she got the opportunity to study in the United States for a time and the way she talked about the experience motivated me to do something similar. When I was accepted into UUJ, I was determined to succeed in securing a place with Study USA and fortunately I did; which I’m extremely grateful for.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to see more of the world and experience a culture that’s completely different to my own.”
With fierce competition for a place on the programme, Adam hopes that the experience will boost his future career prospects.
“The limited number of places available on the programme will help me differentiate myself from others on the job market and provide me with valuable experiences that will aid my career and personal life,” he added. “I believe the experience will provide me with a new level of confidence, maturity and self-reliance.”
It will be the longest solo trip the former Downshire student has embarked on so far. “I’ve never flown any sort of distance by myself so I’m a little anxious, but I know in the end it will all work out,” Adam said.
“Apart from that, the only thing I’m worried about are those massive Texan spiders!”
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 Employment and Learning (DEL).
Since its formation in 1994, the initiative has sent over 1800 students from Northern Ireland to all four corners of the United States where they have successfully completed a year studying business at one of 140 institutions.
Last year the programme celebrated its 20th anniversary at Titanic Belfast, with graduates, alumni and employers all gathering to mark its success.