Two Ella Olesen scholars, Joanne Durber and Siobhan Walshe, leave for the United States on Saturday to spend nine months at the University of Idaho.
Joanne, aged 21, of Queen’s Drive, Peel, and Siobhan, aged 21, of Fairway Close, Onchan, follow in a long line of local students to study at the campus.
The scholarship is awarded annually to a female degree student who has been supported through her studies by the Department of Education. It’s named after the late Miss Ella Olesen, a former registrar of the university.
Siobhan said she was feeling both excitement and anticipation of what lay ahead: ‘I’d be lying if I said there hadn’t been a few nervous wobbles but they are eased over by the great support network already in place.’
She said she couldn’t pinpoint what she was most looking forward to, saying: ‘It seems to change everyday. I think there is everything to look forward to - the chance to meet so many different people, the opportunity to explore a brand new place and to be able study anything you are interested in.
‘Those are the expected things - I guess there will be so many unexpected experiences that will undoubtedly add to the experience to.’
Joanne was announced as the second scholar after the university agreed it could fund a second scholarship this year.
She said: ‘The last few weeks have been so busy and now I really want to be there to meet my host families – the Trails and Pals, Katie Taylor (a former Ella Olesen scholar who has gone back to study a PhD there), and to start my life changing experience.’
After studying English literature for so long, she’s looking forward to pursuing new interests – broadcasting, nutrition and aerospace. She’s taking classes in fitness and first aid too, and hopefully self defence. As well as travelling while she’s there she is keen to make her mark as an ambassador for the island.
‘Ultimately, I hope to gain memories of an experience that I’ll look back on as being one of the best in my life, not only because of Idaho’s impact on me, but mine on the people I meet too,’ she said.