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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Instead of Italy, students study in Hawaii or Miami”

    When people hear “”study abroad,”” they usually think Italy, Germany or Spain.

    They might think of faraway destinations where English isn’t the primary language and there isn’t a McDonald’s on every corner.

    Some might even call to mind places where the U.S. dollar used to have value.

    Regardless of what the words “”study abroad”” bring to mind, the thought of possibly studying abroad in one’s own English-speaking, Tex-Mex-loving home probably wasn’t at the top of the list.

    The National Student Exchange (NSE) gives students the opportunity to attend one of almost 200 schools in the United States, its territories and Canada for their current cost of tuition, plus a few processing fees.

    The UA has been a participating college for nearly 11 years, sending and accepting exchange students from places like Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

    “”Just because it’s not a completely different culture doesn’t mean that it’s not an experience that’s similar to studying abroad,”” said Rebecca Noreen, coordinator for NSE.

    Reasons to exchange within the U.S., besides saving money on airplane tickets back home, include a variety of class offerings, a change of pace and even to improve one’s health.

    Monica Quimby, a moleclar and cellular biology senior from the University of New Hampshire, has come to the UA twice through the National Student Exchange.

    “”I heard about NSE after I got in an accident that paralyzed me, and now I am in a wheelchair from a skiing accident,”” Quimby said. “”I came back to the UA because I like the classes, weather, wheelchair athletics and people so much.””

    Quimby was here in spring 2007 and is here again this semester. She is a member of the UA wheelchair tennis team and appreciates the change from her small college town of Durham, N.H.

    “”I have explored Tucson, and there is so much to do. I have been to every shop and restaurant downtown,”” Quimby said.

    Karen Tonsfeldt, a senior majoring in psychology and zoology, came to the UA last fall from Oregon State University.

    “”I wanted to try something new. I put (the) UA first because I had been to Tucson once before and wanted to be somewhere sunny for a change,”” Tonsfeldt said. “”The reason I came to the UA in the first place was the availability of some classes that were not offered at Oregon State.””

    Tonsfeldt became a member of the Eta Sigma Phi Classics Honorary while at the UA, which didn’t exist at OSU.

    “”I also liked that the UA always had things going on. The movie theater, big name bands coming through campus and productions were well-publicized and active,”” Tonsfeldt said.

    Aside from the different classes she was able to take, Tonsfeldt also created lasting friendships.

    “”I made some great friends down there, and I’m looking forward to showing them what it’s like up here in the Pacific Northwest someday too,”” Tonsfedlt said.

    “”I feel that my experience with the UA NSE program was amazing,”” Quimby said. “”(NSE)’s a way to try a new school without having to move there. You can go anywhere in the U.S, and it makes you a more well-rounded person.””

    The UA is known in NSE as a “”plan B”” school. This means UA students pay the tuition they usually pay to attend their host institution. With scholarships and grants calculated into it, a student can potentially pay only the processing fees to attend a university in New York City.

    The UA is also an “”even”” school, which means it accepts the total number of students it sends out.

    Most years, the UA has too many applicants trying to get in and not enough wishing to go on exchange, Noreen said.

    In order to qualify for the exchange program, students need to have a 2.5 GPA and maintain full-time student status: 12 credit hours. Students can apply online at www.studyabroad.arizona.edu.

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