Lisa Riley has been selected by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) to study abroad next year as part of its Irish American Scholars program. Riley will spend her 2013 fall semester at Queens University in Belfast.
“Scott Keller [International Studies Coordinator]sent out an email about the program, and I knew I wanted to go for it. I am half Irish, and Ireland has been on my list of places I’d like to visit,” said Riley, a junior psychology major.
Riley only had five days to submit an application, two letters of recommendation, an essay, and her transcript. “I was freaking out. What if they didn’t get a transcript? I had to ask my advisors to write letters of recommendation on such short notice. Everyone got it done, and Scott Keller was really helpful with everything,” she added.
She is looking forward to visiting London and Dublin, meeting new people and exploring Europe. “I think studying psychology in another country will give me a new perspective on another culture’s outlook. Study abroad is the best way to understand other people’s culture, because you are immersed in it,” Riley stated.
In her essay to the ACCU, she wrote: “My mother is Chinese and my father is Irish, so I’ve been very lucky to be able to explore the diversity of both cultures. I’ve been fortunate enough to have traveled to China and explored the culture there, but I’ve always felt a connection to my Irish heritage. The Irish American Scholars program is a good opportunity for me to further my education in psychology, explore the culture, and learn more about my heritage.”
Riley’s Irish roots are on County Leitrim and County Cavan. “My dad wants me to go visit and bring back our family records from the parishes.”
Queens University Belfast is a member of the Russell Group of 24 leading UK research-intensive universities, providing world-class education underpinned by research of similar quality. The University has won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education on five occasions- for Northern Ireland’s Comprehensive Cancer Services program and for achievement in green chemistry, environmental research, paleoecology, and law.
Students applying for the Irish American Scholars program must have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale and be a current junior or sophomore. Forty-three of the 53 students who applied to the program were accepted for 2013-14. According to the ACCU website, the program was created to provide reciprocal opportunities for students at American colleges that host Study USA students from Northern Ireland institutions. Neumann has hosted two Queens University students on campus since 2008.
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