After a more than seven-hour journey across the Atlantic, Frank McCartan left his native Northern Ireland to reach Marymount University as an exchange student and recipient of the Study USA scholarship.
McCartan recently earned a degree in finance at Queen’s University Belfast and heard about the Study USA program from a friend. Unsure of whether or not he would be selected, McCartan applied for the scholarship and was overjoyed to learn that he had been accepted and would have the chance to pursue a certificate in American Business Practice while studying at Marymount University for an entire school year.
“I didn’t think I would get the scholarship, but it has been the best thing I have ever done,” McCartan said.
The Study USA scholarship is awarded through the British Council, the United Kingdom’s international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations, and is supported by the Department for the Economy. The program offers about 60 students in Northern Ireland the opportunity to spend a semester or a year studying business or STEM at a U.S. college or university, with the goal of helping develop their career prospects.
“This has been a challenging year for our students, and we are delighted that they will be able to take part in the program,” said Jonathan Stewart, Director of the British Council Northern Ireland. “They will join a growing alumni of students to act as ambassadors for Northern Ireland and our institutions, developing important long-term links and connections between the two countries. Through international mobility programs like Study USA, students are able to enhance their employability skills and also obtain greater intercultural understanding, helping to prepare them for work in a global economy.”
For McCartan, the chance to travel and enhance his skills in finance were the biggest motivators in applying for the scholarship.
“I’ve really enjoyed the Marymount campus. It’s just slightly outside Washington, D.C., so you have the best of both worlds,” he said. “The campus is very green and picturesque, but at the same time you are only a quick Metro ride away from the city.”
So far, McCartan says he’s visited multiple museums in D.C. and has watched local sports teams compete, including the Washington Wizards and D.C. United.
Exchange student programs and opportunities to study abroad are an invaluable way to grow both personally and professionally while gaining insight into the education systems and cultures of other countries. And, it’s an experience that McCartan encourages any student to try.
“I’d say just go for it. It took me out of my comfort zone and I’m flying out here and loving it,” McCartan said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for which I am extremely grateful to be taking part in. Thanks very much to the British Council and Study USA team!”
If you are interested in studying abroad, visit the Marymount Center for Global Engagement online or in person at Rowley G105. You can also reach out to Victor Betancourt, Assistant Vice President for Global Engagement.