Building bridges across the country and creating enriching and life-changing experiences for students, Plymouth State University this year is hosting a group of students from around the country as part of the National Student Exchange (NSE). At the same time, 15 PSU students are traveling from their home campus to various universities across the country.
The NSE is a domestic parallel to study abroad programs and is the only comprehensive, university-level student exchange program in the United States. Students at a member institution can choose from over 177 colleges and universities in 49 states, three U.S. territories and four Canadian provinces.
PSU has participated in the program for three years, sending students to other universities throughout the United States. During the upcoming spring semester, 15 PSU students will attend universities in California, Arizona, Idaho and the Virgin Islands, among others. This year, however, marks the first time students from around the country will journey to Plymouth State.
“The National Student Exchange program is a great opportunity for both incoming and outgoing students to explore another campus and maintain degree progress at their home campus,” says Ruth DeCotis, associate director of the Bagley Center at Plymouth State University. “Just as the students who join our campus for a semester enrich the experiences and lives of our student body, our PSU ambassadors do the same around the country.”
Plymouth State’s four visiting NSE students include Katherine Smith and Elizabeth Behrens from Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif.; Jennifer Williams from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge; and Jenna Ross of Towson University in Columbia, Md.
“There are various reasons why students choose NSE, from experiencing personal growth or taking courses not offered at their own university, to living in a different area or evaluating graduate schools,” explains DeCotis. “I’ve gotten great feedback from PSU students during their stay at the host campuses. They resoundingly endorse the program and their experiences and always return to PSU with a refreshed and expanded outlook.”
Kat Smith, a native of Mission Viejo, Calif., chose Plymouth State for a chance to participate in the adventure education program. Having completed the fall semester, she is continuing on through spring.
“I had wanted to live in a place that I had never seen, as well as participate in a program not offered at my home university,” says Smith. “PSU is very different from my home university in the size of the overall student body as well as individual classes. I have been able to experience a much different lifestyle and climate. It’s kind of like I get to have the whole ‘going away to college’ experience twice. I believe now that I can make a life for myself wherever I choose to go.”
Louisiana State University student Jennifer Williams said spending a semester in New Hampshire offers a vastly different experience than that of her home state of Louisiana.
“I chose to do the exchange because I have been in the Baton Rouge area my entire life and I was ready for a new experience,” says Williams. “I chose PSU because I wanted a completely different experience: Plymouth is much smaller, in the mountains and has a cold winter climate. I want to experience everything I possibly can during my semester here in New England, so I am getting involved in activities and meeting new people. This experience is already stretching me and making me more independent, because I am away from everything I know.”
Plymouth State University, founded in 1871, is a coeducational, residential university with an enrollment of approximately 3,800 undergraduate students and 1,500 graduate students. A regional comprehensive university, PSU preserves the brick-and-ivy look of its New England small college heritage while integrating state-of-the-art technology and facilities into an attractive, contemporary campus design and dynamic educational environment. PSU is a cultural center for the area, as well, with numerous concerts, lectures, art exhibitions, films, dance and theatre performances on campus.
For more information on the National Student Exchange program at Plymouth State University, call Ruth DeCotis at (603) 535-2336 or visit the Bagley Center online at www.plymouth.edu/career/nse/
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