Mattheisen says she has enjoyed excursions to the Biltmore Estate, Atlanta and Charleston that were organized by Gahagan’s staff and hails her academic experiences.
“I’ve had several really good professors. I’m really enjoying my class, ‘African American Religious Experiences’ with Dr. Bobby Donaldson, and my class, ‘Visions of Apocalypse’ with Dr. Kevin Lewis. I took ‘Religion and Existentialism’ with Dr. Lewis last semester.”
Gahagan says Mattheisen and other NSE students enrich Carolina’s Columbia campus.
“It provides the university with the opportunity to add to its diversity by having students from other parts of the country come and study here. They get involved on campus and look at Carolina as a potential destination for graduate school. Some students like Carolina so much, they have transferred here,” Gahagan says.
So why don’t more people know about NSE?
Gahagan says one reason is the growing attention and interest in study abroad. While he’d like more students to learn about and pursue a NSE experience, he is quick to emphasize the value of a study abroad experience.
“Many students think of study abroad first, and those global opportunities are extremely important in today’s marketplace,” Gahagan says. “We want to encourage students to pursue study abroad, but we also want students to explore the diverse opportunities available to them by studying in a different part of our country. NSE provides a rich cultural experience. It also can be good preparation for a study abroad experience.”
Gahagan says students should begin looking into NSE their first or second year of college. A good first step is for students to discuss it with an academic advisor.
“National Student Exchange can be extremely cost effective, and a lot of the scholarships that students rely on can make it very affordable to study in a different part of the country,” Gahagan says. “It offers students the opportunity to have a fantastic and affordable travel study experience.”
“It was great because you save money and can get an out-of-state experience for in-state tuition. That’s the beauty of it,” he says.