Local students jet to USA to top colleges

Lurgan students, Marianne Downing and Gareth Lavery, will soon be jetting off to the USA to study business at top colleges there.

Seeing stars: Front row: Marianne Downing (Lurgan) and from left: Gareth Lavery (Lurgan) and Matthew Meston (Armagh)have been selected to take part in the British Councilâ¬"s prestigious Study USA programme, where they will spend a year studying business in the USA.

The pair have been selected to take part in the British Council’s prestigious Study USA programme, having undergone a competitive selection process.

Marianne (22), a pharmacy student at Queen’s University Belfast, will spend a year at Texas Wesleyan University, while Gareth (21), a mathematics student at QUB, will head to the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma.

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They will be joined by 53 other students from across Northern Ireland on the scholarship programme, which enables students to study business and management for a year in American colleges, across 34 States. Through the initiative, it is hoped they will gain valuable international experience and business knowledge, 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 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.

David Alderdice, Director of British Council Northern Ireland, said: “Study USA is a great way for local students to boost their core employability skills and gain invaluable experience working in an international setting.

“While in the US, the students will have the opportunity to learn from leading experts and their future employability will be enhanced. We know that this year’s students will be great ambassadors for Northern Ireland and I wish them every success in the year ahead.”