Students grow, learn through National Student Exchange
As a junior, Wichita State student Brian Simpson decided he wanted to experience college life in a location other than Wichita.
Now a WSU senior, Simpson spent the 2011-2012 academic year studying at the University of Montana in Missoula through the National Student Exchange program.
“My best friend from high school moved to Montana our freshman year of college, so when I saw that school on the list, I didn’t even think twice,” he said. “It was probably the most spontaneous decision I’ve made.”
Simpson, a string bass performance and computer science double major, said he benefited most from exposure to professors with different teaching styles than he had experienced at WSU, meeting new people and networking.
“We got along so well and I had some of the best conversations of my life while I was there,” he said. “I definitely miss all my friends in Montana.”
Simpson, from Valley Center, Kan., took advantage of several opportunities while on exchange. He played bass at the Missoula Children’s Theatre, in the Missoula Symphony, for the UM Pep Band during basketball season and at regular jazz gigs around town.
“I used my time to absorb the culture, experience new things and really explore Montana,” said Simpson.
Stepping out of comfort zones
Jadee Isler is another student who participated in NSE last school year. The communication major exchanged from New Mexico State University to WSU as a way to broaden her horizons academically and personally.
“It is one of the best and most rewarding decisions of my life,” she said.
Isler, from Clovis, N.M., said that the experience gave her exposure to the real world and helped her develop a more well-rounded professional resume, which could increase her marketability to potential employers upon graduation from college.
“My communication courses (at WSU) were a lot more challenging, but also more realistic to the jobs that they pertain to,” she said. “I know it will be of great benefit when I graduate and go into a career.”
Although the exchange forced Isler out of her comfort zone in challenging ways at times, she is grateful for the experience because of how much she matured during her time at Wichita State.
“I am so glad I took the risk to go somewhere completely new,” Isler said. “Now Wichita, WSU and every person I met in my time here will be in my heart forever.”
About National Student Exchange
National Student Exchange (NSE) provides students the opportunity to study for a semester or full academic year at one of about 200 participating universities within the United States, Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico.
According to Gandu, the number of students who participate in NSE each year varies.
“We’ve had as many as 45 students on exchange in one year, and as few as five students one semester,” he said. “Typically, we have about 10 to 15 students on exchange throughout the year.”
Some of the reasons students apply for the program are to experience a different location and meet new people, take classes that may not be offered at their university, or search for internships or post-graduation job opportunities.
“It provides access for our students to expand their personal and educational horizons,” said Gandu. “WSU students really have an opportunity to grow, learn and play in completely new academic and social settings.”
For more information on National Student Exchange at Wichita State, go to www.wichita.edu/nse.