The National Student Exchange (NSE) program provides students an opportunity to study in places such as Puerto Rico, New York, Florida and Alaska, where they learn how to adapt to a different culture.
As an alumna of the NSE program at Prairie View A&M; University, Chrishaun Bradford, 21, a senior psychology major, knew adjusting to her new life in Texas would be difficult after arriving to the Houston Hobby Airport.
“I became low-spirited the closer I got to Prairie View, because my scenery outside the window went from being tall buildings, restaurants and malls to dirt, grass and trees,” Bradford said. “In Prairie View there is no public transportation, therefore, it was very difficult for me to get off campus because I do not have a car.”
Juliet Aylmer, CSUN NSE coordinator, recommends that students participate in the program because it allows them to gain a new experience and learn how to survive in another location.
“This program also allows students to visit member campuses and break away from their comfort zone to grow more in life,” said Elma Gonzalez, coordinator of the program at Prairie View A&M; University.
Eligible participants for the NSE program must have and maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA.
Interested students who fit the requirements can participate after completing the first semester of their freshman year. Seniors can apply but must complete their last 30 units at their home campus and graduate at their home university.
Troyla Washington, Prairie View alumna, participated in the program in 2010 and attended CSUN for fall semester.
She said she is not the same person she was prior to participating in the NSE.
“The NSE program has completely reshaped my outlook on life,” Washington said.
Washington was able to intern at KTLA news station while on exchange and said it provided her with the best life experiences.
Bradford participated in the program last school year and also attended Prairie View A&M; University.
“When the NSE program opportunity presented itself to me, I took it and ran with it because this was a once in a lifetime chance,” Bradford said.
Kymeshia Myles, 21, a senior finance major, participated in the program last school year at Louisiana State University (LSU).
“I participated in this program because it was the only opportunity for me to go to school out of state, experience African-American culture and try new things,” Myles said. “My overall experience was great at LSU and I loved every bit of it.”
Students who join the NSE can attend one host university for a fall semester and another for the spring semester; attend one host institution for the whole academic school year; or attend one university for one semester.
“Not only do students get the chance to travel they also learn more about different lifestyles around the world,” Gonzalez said.
Students are responsible for transportation costs, personal expenses, sightseeing opportunities and the $150 application fee. Eligible participants can receive financial aid.
Bradford said although Prairie View was not the experience she hoped for, she had some good times there and learned to appreciate what she has.
“I was fortunate to spend Thanksgiving with an excellent professor, Mr. Smith, who welcomed me and a friend of mine to his house to enjoy the holiday with his family,” Bradford said. “Moving to Texas for a year has taught me to never take what I have for granted and to give back to my community.”
The deadline to apply is Feb. 22 at 4 p.m. for the 2013-14 academic school year. Further information is available by contacting Aylmer at (818) 677-3053 and online at www.nse.org.