National Student Exchange enchriches college experience

Kennedy Jaerger and Isabelle Hesse (middle two) visit Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens in Hawaii with friends they met in the exchange program.

Kennedy Jaerger and Isabelle Hesse (middle two) visit Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens in Hawaii with friends they met in the exchange program.

Tori Schulz, Reporter

The National Student Exchange  is a program that allows students to study at another school in participating schools in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada.  

NSE Home Coordinator at South Dakota State, Marj Thompson, describes the experience as an opportunity for students to study abroad domestically and enhance their education.  

Students will first meet with Thompson and discuss the requirements and the schools that will help them reach their goals. Once that’s done, they will fill out the preliminary application and if approved, it will be sent off to NSE for placement.  

The likelihood of getting into the program is dependent on the school and payment type. There is “home pay” and “host pay.” Home pay means students will be able to pay their SDSU tuition, and host pay is the tuition of the school they are exchanging to. The probability of getting into each school on home pay versus host pay is on the NSE website.  

Once placed, an acceptance form will need to be signed and students will complete host campus requirements like applying for admissions, sending transcripts and signing up for classes.  

 Students can do an exchange for a school year or one semester. This can be during the fall, spring or summer. 

 Isabelle Hesse, a psychology major at SDSU, is doing her exchange at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.  

 “This experience allowed me to learn that there is so much more to life and being able to be outside in a beautiful place makes you so much happier,” Hesse said. “I think this experience was definitely an adventure, but it made my mental health so much better, and I grew so much as an individual. I highly recommend doing this.”  

 Hesse says the program does come with some challenges though and says it has been a struggle to not have a car. 

 Kennedy Jaerger, a marketing and apparel merchandising and design major, is on an exchange from Iowa State also at University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.  

 She says it was challenging to ensure the classes she was taking would transfer over to her major at her home school.  

 Both Hesse and Jaerger want to make the most out of their experience while still balancing their studies. They set aside time each week to study in coffee shops and work on homework. They balance this by saving time to explore the new environment and learn about the culture.  

 Jaerger said the experience allowed her to learn outside of the classroom about different experiences, cultures and even herself. She has also met new people who she plans to stay friends with after the exchange.

 “I also got to experience so many cool things that I’ve always wanted to do like swim with sharks, skydive, go on lots of hikes and just explore the islands,” Jaerger said about her exchange.  

 Hesse and Jaerger recommend this experience to other students looking to grow as a person or get out and explore. The advice that Hesse would give to someone hoping to do an exchange is to not be afraid to reach out and meet new people. She says she has met many kind people who are always willing to go do something new. 

 Jaerger recommends starting to plan an exchange early and thinking about what places will be the best for you. She also says to be open to new friendships and experiences.  

  The NSE program is still growing at SDSU, and Thompson hopes that in the future there will be an NSE ambassador program and a bigger presence on social media.