Every year, an exchange is made between the University of Maine and the University College Cork of the National University of Ireland. Students awarded the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship have the opportunity to study at the exchange campus.
The Peace Scholarship is an agreement between Maine and Ireland for student exchange at the university level. During the academic year, students from Maine will reside in the city of Cork, on the south coast of Ireland, at the University College Cork of the National University of Ireland, while students from Cork will attend the University of Maine on a full scholarship.
The George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship honors the North Ireland Peace Accord, negotiated by Senator George Mitchell between the governments and the people of Ireland and the United Kingdom. The accord was reached April 10, 1998 and accepted by vote of the citizens of Ireland and Northern Ireland on May 22, 1998. The first exchange took place in the 1999-2000 academic year.
The scholarship is competitive and requires that students meet a laundry list of criteria, including having a minimum 3.0 GPA and the ability to demonstrate leadership skills and community service.
Patrick Fehily, a third-year business student from the University College Cork of the National University of Ireland, is one of the select few chosen for the prestigious scholarship. Fehily had always wanted to visit the U.S. and said that the George J. Mitchell Peace Scholarship is what brought him to Maine. “I just applied and I got it. This is my first time in the states,” Fehily said, “It’s good, everyone’s very friendly.”
Unsure of what to expect from the University of Maine before he arrived, Fehily said he googled the campus on Google Maps. “It looks a lot more dull on Google Maps,” Fehily jokingly admitted, “but it’s very nice here. It’s very green and it looks very nice with the ivy on the buildings.”
This being his first time in the states, Fehily has a great appetite to travel around the country. Thus far, in addition to having been to New York City, Fehily hopes to see Chicago and catch a rugby match. Fehily also hopes to see Montreal and Boston. “If I don’t get on there, I don’t know what I’ll do,” Fehily joked of the Irishly-influenced Massachusetts city.
Fehily is from a small village just outside of Cork, where his family owns a bakery. “That’s kind of why I study business I guess,” Fehily said. Having previously interned at a business firm in Cork, Fehily hopes to continue to work there and build his skill set upon returning to Ireland.
In his free time Fehily likes to listen to music, hang out with friends and travel.
“I went to Prague in January and hopefully [I will] go next summer.” But in terms of moving to Maine for the semester, “this is my biggest trip,” Fehily said.