It has been a difficult journey for Conor Fitzgerald, who was born in Northern Ireland and is the son of a British serviceman.
But the 18-year-old has been rewarded with a scholarship from the Irish National Scholarship Fund.
He is the first Irish student to be selected to the prestigious scheme.
His father, Brian, was born and raised in Dublin, but he moved to New York for a job with Goldman Sachs in New York City.
“My father was in New Jersey and had a house there and I lived with him for three years.
It was really tough.
I was there for about two years,” said Mr Fitzgerald.
His first job was at a car wash.
“I worked in a carwash.
I did it for about a year.
I worked in the car wash, and I took care of a lot of cars, and that’s how I got my start in business.
I think I was doing a lot, and then I started working for Merrill Lynch and started working at Merrill Lynch.”
Mr Fitzgerald was offered a job at Merrill as a salesperson, but was not offered a position in the bank.
“They said ‘we don’t want to give you a job and we’re not going to do a job because you don’t have the qualifications to do it’.
So I took the job,” he said.
After three years, Mr Fitzgerald was hired by Merrill.
“That was the start of my career, and it was very difficult, because I was a young lad,” he says.
He went to a private school in Dublin and worked hard.
“At school you were given a lot and you worked hard, you got good grades.
So I think that was a big motivation for me, to get that diploma,” he added.
The young man is now an entrepreneur and he’s working on his Master’s degree.
He said he didn’t think of the scholarship as something that he would be able to get.
“It was a great gift that my family was able to give me, so I really feel very blessed.
I felt like I was given something special that I am very grateful for,” he concluded.”
As an Irish person, if you are not Irish, you are Irish, and you need to get a scholarship.”