by Zana Pommier
While MSUM’s National Student Exchange (NSE) program has always been popular, participation is skyrocketing. While the program usually hosts 38-40 students a year, next year 50 students will be participating in the program.
NSE gives students the opportunity to study at one of 200 participating universities within the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. One of the most popular semester exchanges, Hawaii, is expecting 15 students to travel next year.
Sherry Estrem, MSUM’s NSE coordinator, attributes the unusually high participation to recruitment efforts and formerly involved students.
“Being able to talk to someone who was on exchange, to hear about their experiences and know that the exchange worked well has a significant impact for prospective students,” Estrem said.
While NSE is appealing for several different reasons, Jade Choung used it to expand her coursework in biology courses. She participated in the Guam exchange, citing its distant location and less-westernized environment as her deciding factors.
“I loved visiting the neighboring islands when I lived in Guam; it’s a beautiful island,” Choung said. “The diversity within the people of Guam is so interesting to study and the people I got to know made everlasting memories in my life.”
Financially, NSE is also an affordable option, with most universities allowing students to pay home tuition – making MSUM’s $3,449 a semester a bargain. The cost of living in another state is often the main additional expense.
Choung found out before her trip that having a car was essential to her stay in Guam, due to island’s size.
“I was prepared for this because I asked about it prior to my trip,” Choung said. “Research the cost of living, shipping costs and other things that you may not think of in detail while living in your hometown.”
In addition to expanding coursework options, students choose NSE to get comfortable in culturally diverse environments, as well as exploring potential employment locations.
NSE is also an opportunity for undeclared majors, or those early in their academic careers to explore options by studying in a different area of the country.
Jessica McNutt, a freshman studying at the University of Westchester in Pennsylvania through NSE next year, is looking forward to the program for personal growth.
“I am also really excited to have more responsibility and to try being on my own since I have grown up, always lived in the Fargo-Moorhead area,” McNutt said.
Choung agreed, advising interested students to take the opportunity.
“Use the NSE program as an opportunity to broaden your perspective on life. Travel when you can, study with new friends, involve yourself in the local community, join organizations and be open to other points of view.”
Students who wish to participate in NSE must have at least a 2.5 GPA, have completed at least 12 credits at MSUM, be currently enrolled full time and have no university holds. Interested students can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.