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Dublin High School Grad Jessica Scrimshaw on the National Student Exchange Program

November 13, 2013

by Jessica Scrimshaw (Dublin High School Class of 2011, CSU Monterey Bay Class of 2015)

Jessica Scrimshaw

Jessica Scrimshaw

Although I love being by the beach at California State University, Monterey Bay, I found myself yearning to travel to try something new. I had heard about studying abroad and loved the idea of traveling to another country and immersing myself in their culture, but no particular country stood out to me. How could I go to another country when I hadn’t seen anything of my own country? That’s when I knew the National Student Exchange program, or NSE, was going to be perfect for me.

NSE is offered at a large number of colleges across the nation, including Hawaii and Alaska, which allows students the opportunity to go anywhere they want. Now, the program isn’t only good for being able to live in another state for a semester or year without paying those pesky out-of-state expenses that most colleges charge you. It also lets students take classes that may not be offered at their school, or even experience a major that they may have always been curious about, but sadly is missing at their home school. A friend of mine didn’t have a media or film program at her school so she participated in NSE to see if it was worth it to transfer to another school to continue pursuing media and film.

Manhattan Skyline

Manhattan Skyline

Now that I knew which program I wanted to participate in, the next question was where I wanted to go. After much debate, I decided to apply for the program with Queens College CUNY in New York as my number one choice. Luckily for me, I got in to the school and have been able to experience New York City. In two months, I have probably experienced everything that is standard to the ‘New York lifestyle’; from public transit issues to having my photo taken by street photographers to subway performers and beggars to getting caught in a sudden rainstorm, it’s all happened while I’ve been here. The only thing I have yet to experience is being mugged (and let’s hope it stays that way).

What also is very nice about NSE is that our coordinator at Queens College has set up events for us to all participate in. This semester we went to the NYC Ballet, saw Jersey Boys, went to this insanely awesome poetry slam, had a yacht tour on the Hudson River passing by the Statue of Liberty, and now will be attending the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. It’s wonderful that we all get to attend such events, but also it is a great opportunity for us to connect with all the other students who have also chosen to come to this enormous city. I have now met so many wonderful people from all over the country, as well as a few from outside the US, and could not be happier with the NSE program and all that it offers.

I know it often gets overlooked to study somewhere else in the United States, since there are so many programs to study abroad, but I would highly recommend it to anyone. I would also suggest that if the National Student Exchange program is offered at your school to reach out a hand and meet some of the students that are there for the semester or year. I did that back home and ended up meeting some of the greatest people in my life. I also now have an excuse to go to almost anywhere.

Jessica Scrimshaw and friends New York City

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