Derry/Londonderry student Aidan Doherty was awarded a scholarship with Yale University in the United States of America through the Co-operation Ireland administered 'Building Bridges' programme. This is his story after enrolling last August.

"Studying at Yale has been a dream come true in many ways. The classes I have taken so far have been incredible and I am still overwhelmed every day by the resources and opportunities that I have access to. The professors are amazing and the time they give to students is truly unbelievable.

"When starting Yale at the end of August I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I understood that it was an Ivy league school and that all of my peers were going to be smart, driven and remarkably intelligent. I also knew that the school itself was going to be incredible and would teach me things I could never imagine. 

"What I wasn’t prepared for was the intensity. Intense in every aspect of the word. The people that I met are intensely focused, driven but also amazingly kind, open and passionate about what they love. I was prepared for them to be smart and driven, but the friends I have made are some of the most inspirational people I have ever met (continued below).

"In my building of only 100 people, we have an Olympic medallist and two Olympic hopefuls. We have musicians playing 400-year-old violins and just next door we have an Oscar-nominated producer. This building is merely a microcosm of Yale, being just a fraction of my year group and an even smaller percentage of the school as a whole.

"The workload is also intense. Introductory courses demand huge amounts of work. For this work, however, you get rewarded. Within three months of taking Physics and Maths, I had learned more than I thought I ever could. Within less than a year, classmates from my Intro French class have gone from knowing only the basics of the French language to being able to study in France for the summer, something I hope to do in the future. 

"All these things, the incredible people and the amazing opportunities would not be possible without Yale. However, studying at Yale would not be possible with the financial support of Building Bridges. A driving factor for my decision to study here was that through the help of Yale and Building Bridges I don’t have to be afraid of debt like so many students. Studying in the US is extraordinarily expensive and is without a doubt one of the biggest reasons Irish students don’t apply. Without Building Bridges studying here may not have been an option."

To learn more about applying for the Building Bridges programme click here