National Student Exchange: 10 Benefits to Domestic Travel

National Student Exchange Benefits
National Student Exchange Benefits

Roadtrip by abhisawa, on Flickr

Backpacking Europe, exotic jungles and ancient cities with walls covered in vines older than the United States, oh how they call… but wait! Distant lands may whisper from afar but what about the incredible place calling from just a state away? The beauty and diversity that our own country has to offer is too often overlooked by dreams for international travel but they shouldn’t be.

The NSE or National Student Exchange is designed to help students within the United States experience the United States! It allows students to attend universities all over the country, US territories(Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands) and Canada for a semester or a year and avoid the ridiculous costs of out-of-state tuition. The application process is simple. It includes a little research to determine your top picks, an essay of purpose, a decent transcript and an application fee.

What do you want to see? What new experience do you want to have? My home school was a small university in landlocked Nebraska. I knew I wanted to experience what it was like to go to a larger university, have a selection of really unique classes, and be far from home. I ended up attending a university in Honolulu, Hawaii for a year. The metropolitan area has a population of nearly one million, an average year round temperature of 75 and let’s not forget, miles and miles of sandy beaches (not a factor in my decision at all).

My second choice was North Carolina, which many people laugh about, but what can I say they still have herds of wild horses and I love me some country biscuits! To each is own, right? This list can help shed some light on the vast opportunities waiting right in your own backyard.

1. Enhance Your Program

Studying biology? Imagine taking a field trip with your oceanography class in Hawaii or studying history or politics in Washington D.C. You can use it as a way to investigate graduate schools or take courses that aren’t offered by your home institution.

2. Establish a Love and Knowledge of Your Homeland

You’ll probably be surprised what it has to offer. The United States is huge and home to colorful canyons, snow capped mountains, log cabins and giant cathedrals! Plus, when you do have the chance to go to that faraway land you will be more equipped to represent your home.

3. Price$$$

National Student Exchange Travel Benefits

Baggage Claim at SMF by robef, on Flickr

International travel/study is far more expensive. There is airfare, taxes to enter and exit a country, international phone calls and the prices of the study programs themselves quickly add up to a hefty ticket.

4. No Passport or Visa Hassle

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork! No fun and pricey as well. The rules surrounding the bureaucracy of international travel can be confusing. Many countries require both even for short stays with strict guidelines surrounding extended stays or re-entering the country. While definitely worth it and necessary, it’s wonderful to get to avoid them.

5. No Language Barrier…Unless You Want There To Be

You can travel and be surrounded by your own language and foods if you would like. But, the NSE has over 200 participating locations to offer you more. Puerto Rico will immerse you in Spanish or Canada can offer French. Try the southwest if you want to stick with the continental 48, but still learn a new language.

6. Traveling By Road Is a Possibility

This means no airport lines, security or baggage limits and you’ll have a mode of transportation while living there.

7. Different Cultures, Foods and Accents

Southern or Brooklyn accents, country biscuits or lobster tails, laid back in California or a business suit in New York City, you choose! You don’t have to cross international borders or fly over an ocean for some extreme diversity.

8. Safety 

There is of course danger everywhere but travel within the Unites States offers political stability and secured law enforcement and bureaucracy.

9. Boost The Economy 

The money you spend will travel full circle to help benefit you! You will be supporting local businesses and jobs. A great perk to great trips!

10. Friends You Make Are Likely a Road Trip Away 

I don’t mean to say you aren’t going to make friends internationally, of course you will, but it is nice to have some of them near. Knowing people throughout the country will open your eyes and give you opportunities for future road trips. Plus, it’s easier to maintain a long distance friendship when that distance isn’t quite so long.

What other benefits are there to domestic travel? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!


**This post is brought to you in part by this month’s GoAbroad Blog partner, Maximo Nivel! Looking to volunteer, intern or teach English abroad? Be sure to check out Maximo Nivel’s programs in Costa Rica, Peru, and Guatemala.**


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