National Student Exchange provides a significant opportunity in the multitude of options available for new living and learning experiences. Some of the reasons students choose to exchange with NSE are to:
- Access different courses/faculty
- Become more independent
- Enrich educational experience
- Experience life from a different view
- Grow personally
- Live in a different area
- Master a second language
- Acquire life skills
- Break out of comfort zone
- Evaluate graduate schools
- Explore new areas of study
- Immerse self in new environment
- Look for future employment
- Study away without leaving the country
National vs. International Exchange
When the concept of exchange is mentioned, most of us think international. For many students, however, this kind of international exchange may not be possible. Some students may not yet be ready for an international program but are seeking new academic, cultural, and personal experiences to enhance their undergraduate education. In many areas of study, remaining in the U.S. or Canada makes more sense due to academic compatibility, affordability, and personal safety. NSE offers exchanges for students who do not have advanced foreign language skills, cannot find a study abroad match, or who cannot afford an international exchange. Thinking globally begins closer to home for NSE students who cross state, regional, provincial, and cultural borders to experience a change of people, place, and opportunity. The concept of study away in practice is any experience that takes students outside of their comfort zones and challenges them to experience life from a different point of view.
Most students will move elsewhere after they graduate to find employment or attend graduate school. NSE provides an opportunity for students to explore the feasibility of living in an area of interest for future study or work. The changing diversity in culture and ethnicity across the United States, its territories, and Canada presents numerous challenges and opportunities for tomorrow's citizens and leaders. Through their exchange, NSE students gain insight into the historical and cultural makeup of different regions, improve their communications skills with individuals from different backgrounds, and prepare themselves to live and work in a culturally diverse society.
For participating NSE students, the single term or year on exchange is frequently the most significant and enjoyable time in their education. Students return home with a fresh outlook on their education and better able to define academic and career objectives. For many, NSE is a period of dramatic personal growth and maturity, particularly for students who are not well-traveled or have lived most of their lives in the region where they are attending college.
The changes seen in student attitudes, understanding of other people in other settings, flexibility, maturity, self-confidence, and decision-making are similar to the experiences of students who study internationally. Like study abroad, volunteerism, internships, service learning, and research, the NSE is an enhancement of the student's undergraduate program, demonstrating to graduate schools and future employers that they have gone beyond the expected.