Project Children Intern Class of 2014




Andrew Hillan

Andrew Hillan a student at the University of Ulster studying Law, interned with Judge Coogler at the 11th Circuit District Court, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

"When I left for America on 20th June, 2014 I really had no idea what to expect. I was excited, but also more than a little bit nervous. I must admit, the state of Alabama was not one that first came to mind when I thought of places in America that I wanted to visit. But I’m very glad that this is where I was sent, because otherwise I would never have experienced this truly amazing place. The judge I worked for was an excellent boss and all round great guy, and really made sure we got the best experience possible during our time here. I also became friends with the American students also interning at the courthouse.

We sat in on numerous high-profile court cases and experienced first-hand what a US Federal judge does on a day-to-day basis. We visited places where I learned things I never would have at home, such as a police dog training facility where we saw a demonstration of the dogs’ abilities, a federal prison where we walked among the inmates, and a police firing range where we got to fire many different weapons. I could not have stayed with a better host family; Daniel and Mandy took me on many different trips such as to the beach at the Gulf of Mexico, and to Atlanta Braves and Birmingham Barons baseball games. We also went to the amazing 102,000 seater Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, where we took a tour and watched the famous University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team training. My hosts gave me the best possible experience of American culture and I lived the true Alabama lifestyle for the 7 weeks I was here, going on fishing trips, playing baseball and chilling at the pool.

This really was a once in a lifetime experience, and one that I’ll certainly never forget." 



Andrew O'Doherty

Andrew O'Doherty a student at the University of Ulster studying Architecture, interned at BHC Architects, New York City.

"Stepping off the plane from Alabama to New York,  the difference struck me straight away, the noise and the shear amount of buildings surpassed my expectations.  A small town boy in one of the biggest cities in the world. I was lucky enough to have an internship in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the city, with BHC Architects, on 28th street and 5th avenue Manhattan. From the minute I walked into the office, I was made at ease, and within a few days I was well versed in American terms, and feet inches! I was lucky enough to be given a project for an army base, which I was given full control, allowing me to put what I learned in University into real life situations. Before I knew it, 6 weeks later, I had worked on 6 projects, ranging from interiors, right through to award winning skyscrapers. It was the perfect environment for me to settle into the role of an architect, and has greatly improved my prospective for getting a job in the future.

During my weekends, I spent time visiting and exploring New York City, and even had an opportunity to go to Washington D.C and explore the Smithsonian museums and get a guided tour of the Capitol. My host family was more than what I could ask for, spending time on their boat in greenwood lake, or drive in cinemas, shopping and seeing’s the beautiful upstate New York, including the bears that rummage through the garbage! Thanks to project children, I have had the best summer of my life, I’ve seen things I’ve only dreamed of, and stayed with the nicest host family, (they even have a pool!) I come home with a heavy heart, but a set of skills that’s going to set me aside when it comes time to graduate and enter into the world of work, you never know , I could end up back in the big city!"



Anna Fitzsimons

Anna Fitzsimons a student at Queen's University Belfast studying Social Work, interned at the Aisling Center, Bronx, New York.

"For my internship I spent the summer working in the Aisling Irish Center on McLean Avenue; an area where you are much more likely to hear an Irish brogue as you walk down the street than any form of American accent, despite being only about forty minutes away from the center of Manhattan. While working at the center I had the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of people and take part in the many diverse activities taking place there. I had a very hands-on experience through working at the front desk and getting to be the initial point of contact for people coming into or phoning the center.

Towards the start of my internship I helped to run the Celtic Camp for 4-10 year old children for two weeks. During the camp I helped to teach the children about different aspects of Irish culture through music, dance, storytelling and art. Although tiring, I had some of the most enjoyable days of my internship getting to interact with the children and seeing them having fun whilst also learning about their Irish heritage. Additionally I had the opportunity to speak with members of the Seniors’ Group who meet at the Center twice a week. It was fascinating to hear their stories about coming to Ireland and comparing these to the experiences of those currently moving from Ireland to America.

As a social work student I obviously had a keen interest in the social and counselling services provided by the center. It was particularly interesting to see how issues such as loss could be addressed outside an individual level through group work within the community. Each Monday evening I also took the opportunity to go with volunteers from the center to feed the homeless in Manhattan and each week I was astounded by the number of people needing our help. However I was so glad we were there to give it.

Overall my time in America as a Project Children Intern was a truly unforgettable experience and one I would definitely recommend for other students to get involved with."



Bronagh McCoy

Bronagh McCoy a student at Queen's University Belfast studying Computer Science, interned at the Kennedy Computer Consulting, New York.

"This summer I was given the fortunate opportunity to work and live in the United States for 8 weeks. I interned for Kennedy Computing Consulting – a comprehensive IT services company servicing Westchester & Rockland County, Southern Connecticut, New York City and Northern New Jersey. Kennedy Computing Consulting specializes in services such as remote office setups, websites, networking, database design, and general hardware and software fixes. My internship provided me with a fantastic, dynamic and hands on role within IT. Every day I was faced with new exciting challenges and took on a wide range of tasks, from managing client’s websites, database design to building new computers from scratch, installing new software and fixing servers. In my time spent at Kennedy Computing Consulting I was lucky enough to gain a new set of hardware and software skills that will definitely benefit me in my future career path.

During my internship I stayed in Woodlawn, Bronx New York. An Irish American neighborhood filled with Irish cafes, shops and even an Irish butcher! I felt like I was right at home. This was such a friendly neighborhood with an amazing atmosphere at night that I had a very short-lived wave of homesickness. With a short thirty minute subway ride into Manhattan, my weekends were always jammed packed with fun activities with the other interns based in New York. I got to see and do so much in my 8 weeks here - If I wasn’t experiencing the busy streets and iconic sights of New York, I spent my time down in Long Island having endless BBQs and chilled out weekends at the beach.

I would definitely describe myself as a home bird, so the thought of spending my summer 3000 miles from home seemed so scary - But I can honestly say it has been the best experience of my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I had an absolutely incredible American adventure, one that I am sure I will never forget. I got to meet so many amazing people and made lifetime friends along the way that I cannot thank Project Children enough.  I would strongly encourage any student to apply for the program as it is truly the opportunity of a lifetime."



Catherine Chew

Catherine Chew a student at the Belfast Metropolitan College studying Broadcast Journalism, interned at Galaxy Communications Syracuse, New York

"This summer I interned at Galaxy Communications in Syracuse, New York which is a locally owned group of radio stations. I thoroughly enjoyed my internship, and had plenty to keep me busy. Some of the work that I helped with was updating the radio station websites and social media, helping the sales department design marketing packages and helping with their annual Krockathon Festival – which was a lot of fun! This internship has definitely been very beneficial and I have no doubt that this experience will help me with my future endeavours!

I had the pleasure of staying with a great host family. Matt and Leah made me feel right at home and had plenty of things organized for evenings and weekends. I couldn’t have asked for a better home for the past 6 weeks! I was fortunate enough to be able to travel up to Niagara falls for a weekend which was fantastic! Anyone who has the chance should definitely go on the maid of the mist! Never seen anything like it! I also made a trip up to New York City for a weekend where I was able to take in the sights of the Empire State Building, Central Park, Rockafellar Center, 9/11 Memorial, Times Square and much more! Was an unforgettable weekend!

Project Children was a fantastic experience, one that I will never forget. I have acquired new skills that should help me in my studies and future career. I have met some amazing people throughout the summer and have thoroughly enjoyed my summer in the USA."



Christina McCormick

Christina McCormick a student at Queen's University Belfast studying Business Economics, interned at The Irish Echo Newspaper, New York City.

"From Alabama to living and interning in New York, my summer with Project Children has easily been the best and most valuable experience of my life. I spent my summer interning at the Irish Echo newspaper where I experienced many different aspects of the office from accounts to writing my own stories that I was lucky enough to get published in the paper. My internship at the Echo was the perfect first experience of a full time job. It was a small office which I quickly settled into and all the staff there made me feel very comfortable. Monday and Tuesday were busy days in the office with the paper being published every Wednesday. Working in the city meant that I never had a boring lunch break, from shopping to sightseeing there was no shortage of things to do! The scale of New York went above and beyond my expectations although I quickly adjusted to the fast paced way of life and to my commute to and from work in the mornings and evenings.

Staying with an American family for six weeks can be a daunting experience and I was unsure if I would settle in at all being totally out of my comfort zone, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Terry and Tom made me feel at home from day one and I settled in very quickly. They are such a generous family and I am so grateful for all that they have done for me and how well I have been looked after here during my stay in America! In such a short space of time I have made friends with people I may never have crossed paths with or had the opportunity to meet, I have made friends and formed relationships that I hope will last a lifetime! Project children provides its interns with a completely invaluable experience!" 



Conal Smith

Conal Smith a student at Queen's University Belfast studying Computer Science interned at the Full Circle Solutions Group, LLC.

"This summer Samantha and I had the privilege of having Gene and Sandra McGillycuddy as hosts. Gene, the most hard working man in the world, had organised an array of places to work while we were here. We spent the first two weeks working in the prestigious Tuxedo Country Club in New York. This was an experience in itself, living within the grounds and working in the club alongside lots of really great people. Our next two weeks saw us move up to Massachusetts where we interned at Calorique LLC. For the duration I stayed with Brenda O’Connor, the most hard working lady in the world! Brenda welcomed me into her home with open arms and it was so great to meet and work alongside her. I helped with projects and worked on a development project of an application to record data and help the sales team. The whole area was beautiful, with a stunning coastline overlooking Cape Cod Bay. I got to see lots of the area, including a trip to Boston for the weekend and a day of whale watching past the very tip of the cape!


Finally, we spent our last two weeks interning at the Augusta Glenn offices in New York and staying at Gene’s house in Suffern. I shadowed Bert and Al who work for Full Circle Solutions, working alongside them as they maintained networks and client systems. We met James who worked in the Augusta Glen partners office, and he very kindly took us out most evenings after work. We had a great night playing kickball at the Rockland Boulders’ baseball stadium. We went shopping to the local malls, ate food in different restaurants and visited some scenic spots where we hiked. We also met up with some other interns to go to Washington DC for a weekend! Overall, my summer here has been an unforgettable experience! I have met so many great people. Everyone is extremely kind and welcoming, happy to bring me into their homes and make the experience as fulfilling as possible. I couldn’t thank all involved enough, especially Gene, Sandra and Brenda for making it possible and . I definitely want to visit the USA again, I definitely won’t forget this experience and the kindness that everybody has shown!"



Cormac Lynch

Cormac Lynch a student at Tralee Community College studying Hotel Catering & Tourism - Hospitality Studies, interned at The Waterstone Inn, Greenwood Lake, NY.

"I did my internship in greenwood lake, New York. It is a small quiet town and I was working in a bed and breakfast. I am studying hospitality studies in school and this showed me exactly what I will be doing in a few years. Every morning I get up for 8am and get everything ready for breakfast. We serve breakfast between 8.30 and 10.30 and I be a waiter for the guests and also cook for them. when they are finished eating I cleaned up after them and set the tables again. When they check out by 12 o' clock I go up and clean out all the rooms and bathrooms and get them ready for the next guests checking in. It takes a lot of time to clean out each room.

Once they are cleaned out I wash all the sheets and towels and when there finished and dried I fold them and put them away. When its time for the guests to check in I wait for them and get them to sign their receipts and give them their keys and show them around explaining everything about the place. There is a lot to do around here , just across from us is a big lake where we go out on the boats and swim in the lake. I was out on a pontoon boat and there is kayaks and canoes and paddle boats there too so there is always something to do. At the other side of the town is a small beach and I went there every week. I loved it here and had a great time doing my internship here and I will definitely come back to America again when I get the chance."



Dearbhla Boyle

Dearbhla Boyle, a student at Queen's University Belfast, studying Law LLB and interning at The law office of Colleen A.White, family attorney in Jacksonville, Florida.

"This summer, I was given a unique opportunity to gain an insight into what it is like to live and work in America. My summer has been spent in Jacksonville, Florida where I  along with a Sophie, another intern, have met some of the most wonderful people and got to experience a variety of different things. During my stay in Jacksonville, I had the opportunity to intern at Colleen A. White's law office. A solo practitioner, Colleen is practiced in numerous areas including family law, small business law and probate. As a result of this, my experience here was varied. I was allowed to participate in the drafting of numerous legal documents including petitions and motions as well as getting to start my own adoption documents on a fresh case that had come into the office. During my time at Colleen's office I also learnt the importance of keeping up with administrative work especially when working as a sole practitioner.  Not only that but I also grasped the significance of communicating with all people involved within the legal world. From clients to the court clerks, I have realised the importance of communicating in a way that is both effective and practical in order to create change and achieve the desired results.

During my internship, I also got the chance to attend the Duval County Courthouse. Whilst the building is in itself architecturally compelling , what I got to witness inside was even more compelling. From battery to murder, myself and Sophie were fortunate enough to sit in on a variety of trials, some of which were high profile cases being covered by the media at the time. I was welcomed by all the Bailiffs and court clerks and even got the chance to speak to numerous Judges who were governing some of the trials I got to witness. It is through attending court that I have been able to see some of the theory I have learnt from studying law being put into practice. I have realised the importance of good advocacy skills and how beneficial having such skills can be in influencing a trial to you and your client's advantage. The difference in the criminal law system within the state of Florida, especially in its sentencing laws in comparison to Northern Ireland was an additional element of interest during my time spent at court, a difference I am glad I also got to see during my Internship.

​Aside from my internship, living at the beach during my time in Florida has certainly had its advantages. Being housed at the beach meant that myself and Sophie got the chance to experience Florida's 'salt' way of life. We quickly had to develop our bicycle skills as the quickest way to get from place to place at the beach was through using beach cruisers. After getting lost on numerous occasions, I think we managed quite successfully to fit into the beach lifestyle. We also got the chance to go on various trips during our time here. We visited the oldest town in America; San Agustin, got to spend a weekend down in Daytona Beach as well as getting the opportunity to eat our way through nearly every restaurant Atlantic, Neptune and Jax beach have to offer. Overall, I really enjoyed getting a first hand experience into how relaxing and laid back living at the beach can be!

No write up can be complete without mentioning undoubtedly the most important key in making my time here what it was; my host families. Words are insufficient to describe the kindness and hard work of all the host families involved. The LaGoys, the Armstrongs and the Kelehers all went above and beyond in making myself and Sophie's experience here an unforgettable one. We are both so grateful to each family and to all the people we have subsequently met through them for such a warm welcome and making us feel so at home during our stay in Florida. I have gained so much from my summer in Florida; an insight into American lifestyle and culture, invaluable knowledge into the workings of a different jurisdiction but most importantly, life long friends."​



Denise Haslett

Denise Haslett a student at the University of Ulster studying Psychology, interned at Employment Horizons in New Jersey.

"As soon as I found out I was accepted to become an intern for project children, I knew it was going to be an experience of a lifetime. My time spent in America has been more than I could have ever imagined it to be. I stayed in New Jersey State with another intern named Nicole. We bonded well and it was fun to experience everything with another person. We stayed with the Grant family and interned in Employment Horizons. Employment Horizons is an employability workshop for adults with physical and mental disabilities. It is unbelievable the experience I have gathered from my internship. The Grant family are wonderful people. These two people are remarkable for doing what they did for me. They are the nicest, most caring and giving people I have ever met. They welcomed me into their home with open arms and made me feel like part of their family. While staying at Chez Grant, everything you want to experience becomes possible because the Grants help you make it possible. During my eight weeks here I have learnt so much about Americas history. Thankfully I received the opportunity to visit four states. As well as staying in New Jersey we got to visit Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and New York City. It has defiantly been a mind blowing experience.

Working at Employment Horizons I have received more experience than I could have imagined. I met and worked along side some remarkable people. The production team have outstanding charisma and I am grateful I got to become part of the team. All the clients are amazing, they all are unique and have some many different personalities and characters who work there I am lucky I got an internship like this one.  Everyday at Employment Horizons is always different from the last. This non-profit organisation has opened my eyes to a new world. I have developed new skills to help me work alongside people with disabilities and have a more depth understanding about the many unrecognised abilities a person with disabilities have. I hope I can one day make a difference in Northern Ireland/Ireland by helping the country develop more to aid people with disabilities. 

I appreciate everything I have learned and experienced. The past eight weeks have flown in and I have enjoyed every single minute of it. I will certainly be back to visit one day soon. This experience has helped me develop and become a better person. I cannot thank everyone enough for this opportunity, I will never forget it or the people I have met. They are the ones who made it such a great time." 



Diarmuid O'Connor

Diarmuid O' Connor a student at the Limerick Institute of Technology, studying Civil Engineering Management, interned at JT Magen Construction & Co.


"For my internship I worked for JT Magen & Company Inc. who are general contractors and construction managers. I was based in the site office of a newly constructed school on 95th street near the East River in Manhattan. As a civil engineering management student there is only so much to learn in a classroom, so to get the everyday experience of been on site putting what I know into practice and learning so much more than the basic construction side of things was amazing. Coordinating with other trades, making up daily, weekly and monthly schedules, sitting in on trade meetings and owners meetings gave me an insight of the kind of work I will be doing once I’m qualified and is something that I’m excited to do. My supervisor was so helpful to me showing me his daily routine and helping me in every way he could. 

For the 8 weeks I was here I was lucky enough to stay with my host family in Floral Park, Long Island.  They made it so easy for me to settle into New York helped me out with everything and anything.  They definitely went beyond their duties to make me feel comfortable in their home and help me in anyway possible. Without any doubt, these 8 weeks in America have been the best time of my life. I've met some incredible people along this journey, was told some great stories from other years, had some great laughs and most of all the other students I met, I think it’s  safe to say they are friends for life.  I cannot thank everyone in Project Children, JT Magen and my host family enough for this once in a life time chance. I would encourage any student looking to go to America is to apply for Project Children Intern Program, it’s just a no brainer! You won’t regret it!"



Fergal Power

Fergal Power a student at the University of Ulster studying Management, interned at Michael Stapleton Asscociates.


"Along came mid-week during our stay in Tuscaloosa. All had become adjusted to the early morning starts and today was the day we were getting the chance to visit the 5th largest football stadium in the country. I was especially excited, being a big fan of the NFL, watching it every chance I get. Spirit was high in Camp Y all around as the football stadium was one of the first sights we seen on our trip from the airport to camp on day one. 

After a day on site we headed straight onto the stadium which is situated in the middle of town. Having claimed 15 national titles, Alabama are the third most successful football team in America. We got a guided tour of the stadium and were especially amazed to see the size of the changing rooms. The tour then went out on to the pitch where we got the chance to see the view of a stadium that holds over 100,000 people which was quite special. The tour was great to be on and would love one day to catch a game there.With over 80,000 students at the University of Alabama I can imagine game night is pretty special."    The seven weeks I have spent with Project Children have been a once in a life time opportunity.  Starting off with habitat for humanity in Alabama gave such a rewarding feeling to the group and was a great way to start of the program. Going back to basics at the camp site gave us all a chance to enjoy each other's company and all had a great time! The first week in Alabama gave us all the chance to get to know each other and, throughout the duration of the 7 weeks, we got the chance to meet up and do the tourist things together. Going to see a Yankees game and even just walking around the city were highlights of the summer. Celebrating my birthday in Manhattan with the interns was also something special.  

My internship at Michael Stapleton Associates gave me the chance to put all that I've learnt during my university years into practice in a real-life workplace. The MSA finance team I worked with were a great bunch of people and kept me busy during my stay. I learnt many new skills throughout the internship and am now much more confident in my excel ability and in using computer programs such as NetSuite. Jo and Ray opened their doors to myself and Rory this summer and quickly became our mum and dad for the summer. Getting to spend 4th July with them and their relatives give us a proper view of the American culture. I couldn't have asked a nicer host family to stay with, and what was most important was they were always up for the craic! My time with Project Children has been fantastic and would strongly recommend the program to anyone​"



Gregory Creaney

Gregory Creaney a student at Queen's University Belfast studying Politics, Philosophy and Economics, interned at the office of Peter King, Congressman.


"My time interning in the US was spent in Congressman Pete King’s District Office on Long Island. My duties predominately consisted of assisting constituents, be it contacting federal agencies on their behalf, listening to their concerns or following up on their enquiries. The experience is certainly unlike many other recent graduates and I feel advantaged not only to have the internship itself on my resume but to have developed myself and my skills while working there. My co-workers were genuinely interested in my learning and development and before long I felt a sense of accomplishment working there.

The entire experience was incredible, from nights in the city to singsongs on scaffolding in Alabama. I didn’t have a minute to myself in Alabama, I went to sleep listening to snores and woke up to laughs and jokes, but I loved every minute of it and it forged great friendships. It really allowed us to bond together and after Alabama my weeks working were spent in constant contact with the other interns, planning weekends into the Manhattan, Washington DC or just out in sunny Long Island. For the entire experience I have so many people to thank, Vinny for being the kindness and most welcoming host, the office of Pete King and his staff and all those involved in the program, those that were with us in Alabama and those in the background helping everything run smoothly. Altogether I can genuinely say my experience with Project Children has been the time of my life and I’m eternally grateful to everyone involved, all I can do now is encourage absolutely anyone willing to give it their all to apply."



Karen Strong

Karen Strong a student at Bournemouth University, studying Advertising with Marketing Communications, interning at USG Performing Arts, NY.

"I had half-heartedly applied for the program in late March, not really expecting to get a place. I was making other plans for the summer and had forgotten all about it until I got a call one evening with a few questions about me and why I thought I should be on the program. I'd never been to the US before and when I was given a place I couldn't believe that I'd be soaking up US culture for close to 2 months. In late June I found myself in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with 25 other young interns hammering and painting with Habitat for Humanity, a cause I really felt at one with at the end of the week. Many laughs were had and friendships formed before we all headed our separate ways to complete our placements. 

Mairead and I stayed with Sam and Unateresa Gormley in the scenic Greenwood Lake. Their welcome was so warm and they continued to be wonderful hosts until it was time to leave. We were straight into work on Monday with an exciting task ahead. We would be organizing the pre tip and half time performances at the Liberty Games the following Friday in Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden! It was all go as we searched for last minute performers. I spent the week getting in touch with musicians, dancers and troupes as well as putting together flyers and posters. We didn’t spend all day on the computer – Una took us out on the road delivering and putting up posters, still looking for performers but also getting the word out about music lessons which Mairead would be taking during our time here, teaching traditional Irish music.

I’m glad to say I haven’t wasted a moment of my time here. At the weekends we’ve been seeing the sites in Manhattan and even Washington DC with some of the other interns. I’ve made some friends I hope I’ll never lose touch with and am really thankful for this invaluable work and life experience!" 



Mairead O'Neill

Mairead O'Neill a student at University Collage Dublin studying Agricultural Science, interning with USG International and the Rye Harrison Veterinary Hospital

"I was lucky to be given the opportunity to do a two part internship. For the first part of my internship I worked for and lived with Una Teresa Gormley. Working in America was very interesting. The first couple of weeks after Alabama were very busy as we were preparing for our show in Madison Square Garden. We had to advertise the performance, which was on during the Liberty Games. This was an amazing opportunity as we got the hands on experience of organizing uniforms, tickets and performers. I was given the opportunity to perform on the stage which was the biggest performance of my life.  After Madison Square Gardens, we had summer camp, which I taught the tin whistle to some of the students. We also had to promote upcoming classes. Unateresa took Karen and I to different events during our stay. We helped to sell tickets at the Self Help Africa event in Stone Street. We also attended the IBO meeting where we helped sell tickets for the raffle. While we were at the event we got to meet the current consulate general and deputy consulate and we also got picture with the Liam McCarthy Cup and Sam Maguire Cup.

The Gormley family took us into their home as if we were family. They were very generous with their time and home. It was like living at home.  Unateresa took us to the Catskills an Irish music festival where I got to meet the Yanks, Matt Cranitch and Jackie Daly. We got to part take in a music session with these musicians, which was an amazing experience.  I also had the opportunity to perform at the Warwick Summer Fest with a dance troupe. The Mulcahy family was also very generous to us taking us out on the lake and BBQ’s at their home and Inn. This has been a very good experience. I have met many interesting people and seen many different places. I have gained hand on experience working in events and music performance.  

The second part of my internship gave me the opportunity to work at Rye Harrison Veterinary Hospital in Rye New York. This hospital is equipped to do laser surgery, endoscopy, ultrasound, and digital radiography. They offer full dental services including dental radiographs, as well as providing general surgery. Here I had the opportunity to shadow Dr Peter Romano as he carried out his day to day checkups and even surgery. He always took time to explain each case to me. It was a great experience and I learnt a lot about the small animal side of a veterinary practice. Each day at the practice was very busy, the hospital deals with a wide range of situations and each employee deals with each case as it arises with precision. On any given day there were at least three vets on call as well as numerous vet technicians,   there was wide range of appointments, ranging from a cat that needed a vaccine shot to a dog that had been hit by a car. It was a real exciting place to work and all of the staff were very nice and helpful and were always very encouraging and made an effort to teach me how to carry out certain tasks.

This has been an amazing experience and I’m very grateful to have been given the opportunity to come and to be able to work in America." 



Martin McCloskey

Martin McCloskey a student at Queen's University studying Civil Engineering, interned at the City of Hamilton, Texas.

"Taking part in the Project Children experience has been an amazing experience and I have gained an incredible insight into American culture. My first week was spent working for Habitat for Humanity in Tuscaloosa Alabama. It was inspiring to see how groups from across the country had come together to help those whose lives had been affected by natural disasters. The week proved to be a very good bonding experiencing for the group, which isn’t surprising when you have to spend all your waking hours together. My internship was situated in Hamilton Texas working for the town itself, everyone was very pleasant and accommodating. I spent the majority of my time mapping water lines, fire hydrants and sewer lines for the city as it had never been done before, hopefully it will prove helpful to the town in the future.


I got to experience a real southern lifestyle while I was here like enjoying the local delicacies like bison burgers and shrimp. I got the opportunity to go horse riding and shooting which would not be possible at home so it was a unique experience. It was made all the better by the sense of community in a small town like this, everyone was really welcoming and full of questions which led to me having to stand up in front of a few crowds and explaining how I managed to make my to the middle of Texas. This was the best experience of my life and I would recommend this program to any student because it is a brilliant opportunity to learn some new skills and meet some very interesting people."



Natalie Cooke

Natalie Cooke a student at the University of Ulster studying Marketing, interned at the Turning Stone Resort, Verona, New York.

"Living and working in America was a very insightful and interesting experience. We were fortunate to hit the jackpot with a very welcoming, warm-hearted host family, who made every effort to help us feel welcome and integrate us as part of their family and neighbourhood. They also gave us freedom to explore and go on trips to New York City, Washington D. C. and Niagara Falls. Sight-seeing in America at the weekends was my favourite, although your feet will be in agony by the end, as you cover a lot of ground. Popular tourist sites are well run with a huge variety of tours, exhibitions, gift shops, refreshments and experiences on offer. American sight-seeing is all about the experience – The Maid of the Mist Boat Tour at Niagara Falls highlighted this for me. Take as many opportunities to explore as you can get. My work experience was very much out of my comfort zone, though the trick was to turn this into an opportunity, from which I gained confidence and experience. I got to see the work of a number of different departments, and crucially, got to see how they worked together. I got to watch and learn a lot which."



Niamh McEvoy

Niamh McEvoy a student at University of Ulster studying Law with Criminology, interned with Judge Coogler at the 11th Circuit District Court, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

"During my internship I gathered a lot of practical experience of the federal court system in America. I sat in on various criminal and civil trials and participated in numerous educational tours to places such as a shooting range, federal prison and the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum- to name a few! When not participating in such activities we were given our own individual projects that included tasks such as compiling the facts and history of the case assigned to us. I have gained valuable insight into legal language and learnt how to draft legal documents among many other benefits. 

When not interning in the Courthouse we spent our time sightseeing and spending time with our host family. Over the fourth of July my host family and I travelled to Georgia and went kayaking. We watched a beautiful array of fireworks over the lake close to our accommodation on the 4th night, which was spectacular! During my weekends off I also took trips to Washington D.C. and New York City to see the sights and experience different types of American culture. 

Overall my time in America was the most thrilling and exciting experience I have done in my life so far, and I have fallen in love with the ‘Deep South’ and the hospitable people that live there. I would urge anyone considering this programme to apply without hesitation. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Project Children for this invaluable experience and my host family for putting up with me during my time in Alabama, I am forever grateful for their kindness and hospitality, and it is an experience I will never forget!"  



Nicole Killen

Nicole Killen a student at the University of Ulster studying physiotherapy, interned at Employment Horizons in New Jersey.

"Thanks to the Project Children and all those involved both in America and back home in Ireland, I was able to spend an unforgettable eight weeks in the United States. I spent my time with a wonderful family called the Grant’s in Morris Plains, New Jersey. They opened up their home to me and made me feel welcomed from the beginning of my stay and are the most kindhearted and loving people I have met. I spent my time interning in a non-profit organization called Employment Horizons in New Jersey. This organization allowed me to gain valuable experience in working with adults with both physical and mental disabilities. The organization aims to help these adults develop skills and characteristics that allow them to work, advance and achieve in a employment environment. The organization also encourages these individuals to fulfill their ambitions and seek employment in the local area with support from onsite job coaches to develop both personal qualities and expertise to suit them individually. 

Over the eight weeks my main role was very hands on and extremely busy at all times. I was in the production area of the organization and had the role of supervisor to the clients. I aimed to both facilitate clients in their needs and to motivate them to achieve their best potential in their work area. It was my job to inspect all work completed by clients. Additionally during my time at EH I led synergy exercise classes for the clients, providing comprehensive, easy to use and targeted group exercise programme’s. I offered strength & conditioning, balance, stretching and range of movement exercises for all areas of the body, to maintain and improve upon. This keeps an active work force for the company and enables participants to stay fit and dynamic, less prone to injuries and pain and motivates them to have a healthy outlook on life. I was granted a great deal of responsibility as this task sometimes involved me taking classes of very large groups of up to 30 or more adults with special needs on my own. Initially I found this was challenging but soon gained the confidence to lead my own exercise classes from week 2 onwards. This certainly allowed me to gain valuable skills as I learned how to deal with seizures, challenging behavior and how to apply many different means of communication to unique characteristics of client’s disabilities. This role was very fitting to my degree as a Physiotherapist (or Physical Therapist which it is referred to in the U.S) and I gained priceless knowledge and experience in this area.

I also got the opportunity to observe the characteristic behaviors and movement patterns of many different mental and physical conditions such as Autism, ADHD and neurological muscle disorders including Cerebral Palsy; affecting muscle tone, movement and motor functioning skills. I also had the opportunity to observe the role of onsite counselors and job coaches. I furthermore gained an insight into the means by which abilities of the clients were tested.  Working with the clients at EH has given me an abundance of insight into Physiotherapy with adults with special needs. This internship has confirmed for me that focusing on exercise and sports physiotherapy for this group of clientele, along with rehabilitation, is most defiantly an area that I could imagine focusing on as a career path in the near future. I feel honored to have had this opportunity to be a team member of such a valuable and worthwhile organization like EH. All members of staff at EH are kind, supportive and friendly and truly amazing at all aspects of what they do. Both my host family and their friends and working with the individuals at my placement at EH have provided me with an opportunity of a lifetime. No amount of thanks can serve justice to the kindness and generosity I have received in the past 8 weeks. It has been a life changing and unforgettable experience." 



Patrick O'Sullivan

Patrick O'Sullivan a student at the Limerick Institute of Technology studying Construction Management, interning at the MIH Systems Group.

"Working for Habit for Humanity was one of the best things I have ever done. We spent a week in Tuscaloosa Alabama with what we thought were 20 random students. Now we have bonded and are friends for life. Up at 6am for work. The first thing we did was laugh It was such great fun. Everybody loved it. The work was enjoyable, the heat was tough at times. The humidity was unbearable. I never drank so much water in my life. We split up into teams. Out team leader was Brendan Morgan he was brilliant fun and we got loads of work done also. We put siding around 3 sides of the house caulked and painted it. Then we built a balcony at the back of the house. It wasn’t all work and no play. Every evening the coordinators had something fun planned for us which was great. We went shopping, swimming and eating out. I loved my time in Alabama and would love to return.

My internship is with MIH systems group that specialise in HVAC services, commissioning and start-up they are a young company and are really great. In the few weeks I am there I have been on several different job sites 5 to be exact. On each job I was doing something different. This week alone I was working in Wagner College on Staten Island wiring Air con units which was a great experience.  I also worked on a big residential building on the East river. 40 riverside K which has 39 floors of condos and apartments.  Studying Construction Management I got a great insight of how things work. The last night my boss took me out for dinner after we finished work. It was a beautiful meal, to thank me for all my hard work over the past internship weeks and how they would be delighted to have me back. 

I would like to thank Project Children for this unbelievable experience. It has truly changed my life."



Roma McCool

Roma McCool a student at Queen's University Belfast studying Law and Politics, interned at the Law Office if Bubb, Grogan and Cocca, New Jersey.

"New Jersey is an amazing place with everything to offer. I stayed in Morristown in the north of the State but I also travelled to the shores and visited the south when I went to Wildwood beach. During my 8 weeks I managed to visit 3 other states, New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania and seen 3 of America’s main cities, Philadelphia, New York and Washington DC. All three are so amazing and all so different from each other. New York is exactly how it is on the tv, it’s absolutely amazing. Meanwhile Philadelphia was smaller but had so much amazing history from the American Revolution. DC is beautiful and it’s so impressive, definitely worth a trip. 


I was working in a law firm called Bubb, Grogan and Cocca which was amazing. I got real hands on experience dealing with clients and other attorneys and visited municipal court, even getting to meet the judge in his chambers. The American legal system is so different to ours and it was great to get an opportunity to experience it. I got some great universal experience too, particularly doing research and using Lexis Nexis and Westlaw, which we use in our studies at Queens and in many law firms in Ireland and the UK. What I really loved is how diverse American culture is, which such a mix of backgrounds each person you meet is completely different. The food is amazing too, with so many choices and huge portions. I couldn’t have asked for a better family and Al, our New Jersey coordinator, looked after us so well and was so lovely. I’m definitely going to be back to visit some day in the future."



Rory Breslin

Rory Breslin a student at Queens University Belfast, studying Computing and Information Technology, interned at MSA Security, IT, Manhattan.

"I have spent the last 7 weeks with Project Children and it has been a once in a lifetime experience. I have met some of the best people and kindest families I have ever come across. Our first week we were in Alabama doing habitat for humanity. We were helping to build houses for those that were affected by the tornadoes a few year ago. It was one of the best weeks of my life and also one of the most rewarding. Every night there was some form of activities and as a group we bonded extremely fast. The first week in Alabama gave us all the chance to get to know each other and, throughout the duration of the 7 weeks, we got the chance to meet up in the city and experience manhattan. Myself and fergal were able to go see a Yankees game which to me was a brilliant experience and will always stay with me. My internship at MSA Security gave me the chance to put all that I’ve learnt during my university years into practice in a real-life workplace. The MSA I.T team were absolutely brilliant people who took me in so quick. They showed me the basics of what goes on around the company and then set me projects to do. The main task was to help setup their help desk which they will be using after I leave. It was a great feeling to know that something I worked on will be used by the entire company.

I met some wonderful people while working there and they will be sorely missed. I learnt many new skills throughout the internship and am now much more confident in my own personal abilities. Jo and Ray were the best family I could've asked for they welcomed us as if we were one of their own children. They took us everywhere and made sure we made the most of our internship. The best of which was the 4th July with Jo's brother. They had a private firework show and just like Ray and Jo they made us feel part of the family. The last seven weeks has been probably the best experience of my life and I will remember every moment for the rest of my life. The people I have met will always be a part of my life and I will stay In contact with them long after we're home. I would like to thank the entire Project Children for giving me this opportunity and or introducing to me some of the best people I have ever met. I recommend this for absolutely everybody as you will cherish every minute of this." 



Rubymarie Rice

Rubymarie Rice a student studying law at Queens university Belfast. Interning at New Jersey State Professional Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Society, Rahway, New Jersey

"My eight weeks spent in Cranford New Jersey were easily some of the best weeks of my life! I interned in the New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual benevolent association. (NJFMBA). I worked alongside the in house solicitor Craig. I had the opportunity to sit in client consultations regarding relevant labour law problems relating to the firefighters who were members of the union! The most notable ongoing case was the firefighters ongoing battles and negotiations with the Governor regarding social benefits and future pension funds. I also had the opportunity to follow one particular court case regarding pension contributions into court. The family I stayed with where some of the nicest and most welcoming people I have ever met. They made me feel at home from the outset and I became best friends with the three children almost instantly. This really helped me not to feel homesick while away for such a long period! I also had the opportunity to shadow a public defence attorney in the municipal court in Morris County, and the judge even allowed us to come into his chamber for a discussion after proceedings!

On weekends we had he opportunity to utilise our free time in whichever we wished! We ventured into NYC for the Fourth of July to watch the Brookyln Bridge fireworks. We also had the opportunity to visit Washington DC and observe the various landmarks down there for a few days. I spent a lot of time at Jersey shore because my family were from there and got to do a lot of watersports, boat trips and sunbathing! On my penultimate weekend I spent two days in Long Beach Island at the shore before going into Atlantic City for the last night and staying in the Golden Nugget Casino. This was an awesome experience I will never forget. To sum up I had the best summer ever. Having the opportunity to study and observe my course of study in a completely different jurisdiction was life changing! I got a real insight into American culture and family life also and I will definitely be keeping in contact with my 'adopted American family' for the future, with hopefully a few returns trips planned also!"



Samantha Kirkpatrick

Samantha Kirkpatrick a student at South West College Omagh studying Engineering, interned at Calorique LLC.

"I was thrilled to get the phone call to say that I had been offered a seven week Internship in the USA. I was placed in a company called Calorique, who manufacture thin film radiant heat. Through-out my entire stay I did not sit still, for work I moved from NY-Cape Cod –NY again and then in my spare time I went everywhere else: Boston, Washington, Alabama and Plymouth. I stayed with Gene and Sandy in their beautiful Cape Cod home in Massachusetts, here they treated me like one of their family. The McGillycuddy family, friends and Calorique/Fullcircle work colleagues where extremely kind, generous and made sure that my visit to America was the best it could be.

I thoroughly enjoyed my internship, I was able to show Calorique what skills I had to offer the company, whilst also building and improving my expertise. I worked on a number of projects and was constantly kept busy. During my time I really began to understand the American work ethic “Work Hard”. I have met so many new people who I will definitely keep in touch with. Working hard all week, I tried to make the most of my weekends and fit in as much as possible, this included a weekend chilling in Cape Cod, sightseeing in Boston, Washington and NYC. In DC I had the opportunity to spend time with a few of the other interns, who I hadn’t seen since Alabama. We had a great weekend seeing the sites.

I can’t describe how valuable this experience has been, I’ve learnt a lot about myself as a person. This summer has been one I will never forget."



Sophie Hynds

Sophie Hynds studying Law LLB at University of Ulster interned at Osborne & Sheffield, Jacksonville, Florida 

"While staying in Jacksonville, Florida I interned at Osborne & Sheffield Title Services. Mr. Osborne's real estate law office was busy and dealt with many clients on a daily basis regarding matters of real estate closings, wills and probate. As these are areas of law which are practiced within Northern Ireland it was interesting to note the differences between our land law system and that of Florida's. I had the opportunity to sit in on property closings and with clients who wished to draft or redraft their will. This allowed me to develop the skills needed within business to interact with clients for many hours on a daily basis. I learned the importance of communicating with clients and colleagues effectively under stressful situations. During my time at Mr. Osborne's office I noted the importance of the administrative staff who form the packages prior to a seller or buyer coming to the office for their closing. Their jobs form a substantial part of the real estate closing process. Interning within Mr Osborne's office enabled me to further develop many skills including meeting management, problem solving and lateral thinking and I thank Osborne & Sheffield for supporting Project Children and making my stay in Florida possible. 


My internship allowed me to attend at Duval County Court during my time in Jacksonville. All of the Bailiffs and administrative staff at the Court welcomed me and I had the opportunity to talk with the various Judges who were overseeing the trials I watched. I also spoke with various attorneys during my time at court including Assistant State Prosecutors and Public Defense Attorneys who offered me an insight into their clients cases. Having the opportunity to further my advocacy skills from viewing an extensive number of attorney/Judge interactions and various trials was beneficial and helped further my leadership, stress management, critical thinking and negotiation skills. I was fortunate enough to see trials of a variant range including simple battery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and second degree murder, as well as seeing a couple of high profile cases which were on the news here in Florida. I learned a lot about the Juvenile and Adult court systems, and it was interesting to note the drastic differences between the criminal law system within Florida and Northern Ireland. 


I was fortunate enough to spend my time living at the beach with another intern, Dearbhla from home. We lived with a range of host families during our time who all lived at Atlantic, Neptune and Jacksonville Beach. Life at the different beaches was very relaxing and being able to cycle everywhere and go to the beaches at any time was a luxury. We lived with the LaGoys, the Armstrongs and the Kelehers all of whom were very kind, welcoming and treated us like members of their family. We got to know their kids really well and enjoyed spending time with them. We did many fun activities including shopping at the outlets and St. Johns Town Centre, a trip to St. Augustine, a weekend trip to Daytona Beach, went to a Jacksonville Suns baseball game and ate out at the extensive range of restaurants Atlantic Beach has to offer. I enjoyed being able to ride our beach cruisers everywhere as everyone who lives here does, and being able to go to the beach at any opportunity. 


I met an extensive range of people during my stay in Jacksonville, who invited us to various activities and it was astounding how generous everyone was that we met and the interest displayed in what we were doing in Florida. I met so many wonderful people here who are now great friends and I will continue to stay in contact with all of them. I would like to thank all the host families for their generosity and kindness, and for all their hard work in going above and beyond to make our experience an exceptional one. This is a summer that I will never forget and I am glad to have met the fantastic range of people I did."





Zita-Maria Buchanan

Zita-Maria Buchanan a student at the University of Ulster studying Interior Design, interned at the Turning Stone Resort, Verona, New York.

"My internship was in the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York. It is one of the most popular destinations within New York State. After two orientation days,  I was designated to the events department. I thoroughly enjoyed my placement as I helped organise and work in events such as All Star Sumo Wrestling Event, televised Boxing Event,  Press Conferences and at one Tiger Woods had been announced as a competitor for upcoming event. In the events department I was given the opportunity to rearrange the office space  which was a challenge and different to any projects I had done before. The placement was an invaluable experience especially working in a very professional and organized team successfully meeting targets and deadlines. 

Living with a host family was a pleasure. Our host families level of hospitality and care was of the highest standard and made us feel welcome and right at home throughout our visit. Waking up every morning to the lake view from my back garden was a beautiful and idyllic view. We lived in a close knit neighbourhood so there was block party bbqs and trips out on the party barge boat.  After work we watched the sunset over the lake, watched beach volleyball or cycled into the town for ice cream, It was just an unreal, very relaxed and enjoyable experience. Every weekend there was so much to do and the highlight was an amazing trip to Niagara Falls.  There was plenty of trips to the mall! Shopping always goes down a treat! Project Children was a fantastic experience and an exciting, memorable and rewarding life time opportunity. I enjoyed the American Culture and acquiring and developing new skills and experiences from my placement, and of course meeting many new friends and contacts!"