Letter from America
A Lurgan Student’s experience at an American University
My journey to Georgetown began with a closing shift conversation with a co-worker in a Lurgan pizza parlour. During this conversation, I was introduced to the Sutton Trust-Fulbright Commission US-UK programme, which helps students from all over the UK apply and go to the US for university. The programme offers mentorship, fee-waivers for tests and certain applications, a deep and insider insight of the American admission system, great friends, and residential visits at London schools like UCL and LSE, not to mention summer tour of US universities such as; Harvard, Princeton, Yale and MIT.
With full confidence, I can say that I would not be at Georgetown University today if it wasn’t for this programme. The support I received from programme coordinators was immense and could only be paralleled to the effort of my teachers at Lurgan College, who tirelessly wrestled with the rigorous US university applications.
Since arriving in Georgetown, I’ve spent my time exploring Washington D.C.; the White House, Capitol Hill, The Pentagon and The National Mall: the heart of US politics and American history and culture is just a couple of metro stops away. I’ve also travelled to neighbouring states with university societies and friends, exploring the towns and landscapes of the American east coast. One of my favourite experiences was going Halloween trick-or-treating on “embassy row”; the cluster of foreign embassies just a 20 minute walk from my campus. Diplomats give out candy from their home country and hosted similarly themed parties.
On campus, there is simply too many opportunities. You can join a fraternity or sorority and get the US movie college experience. There are cultural clubs, such as the European Club which hosts various politicians from the UK and organises embassy visits. There are also campus newspapers and magazines. Pep-bands perform at the Capital One Arena which is also home to our famous basketball team and cooking clubs, like the burger grilling society, offer the opportunity to enjoy classic American cuisine! Debating societies, political organisations, often frequented by well-known Democratic presidential candidates, theatre and comedic groups, frequented by John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, are just some of the many unbelievable experiences on offer.
After just a semester and a half, I feel completely at home. I have made friends from all over America and beyond. This summer, I’m juggling staying in D.C. to intern at an embassy, as well as visiting Mexico, Ukraine, Spain, Texas, California and Chicago; all thanks to opportunities opened up by Georgetown University.
I would encourage anybody interested in studying in the US, to look into the Sutton Trust US-UK programme. Studying in the US is a truly life-changing experience!
By Maja Ochojska,
Arrupe Scholar to Georgetown University, Washington D.C.
Deputy Head Girl of Lurgan College.