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WKU Study Away announces first National Student Exchange class

Through a new membership in the National Student Exchange (NSE), eight WKU students will expand their WKU education by studying at other institutions, ranging from Montana to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The first class of exchange students includes Riya Patel, a biology major from Bowling Green who will exchange with the New College of Florida; Brooke Guess, a biology major from Louisville who will study at the University of Montana; Whitney Marlin, a biology major from Franklin who will study at the University of The US Virgin Islands – St. Thomas; Westley Perry, a biology student from Frankfort studying at the University of The US Virgin Islands – St. Thomas; Kori Shannon, an international affairs major from Bardstown studying at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington; Ashley Tutt, a Louisville psychology major who will study at Queens College of New York; James Padgett, a finance major from Louisville studying at the University of Montana; and Michael Wilbanks, a history major from Leitchfield who will study at the University of Idaho.

According to Jerry Barnaby, Study Away director and NSE program coordinator, the consortium offers students affordable and practical opportunities to study and live in a new location without giving up studies at their home institution. “Our students continue to earn their WKU degree, but they get to spend a significant amount of time studying in a new setting,” said Barnaby, who adds that the program appeals to students for a variety of reasons.

Patel says the program is a great opportunity to combine college with something else she enjoys. “I like to travel, and this was a great way to travel without getting off track from my four-year degree,” Patel said.

Guess sees it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She chose to study at the University of Montana because of its outstanding wildlife biology program. “Montana has a lot of landscapes and wildlife that I would not come in contact with on this side of the United States,” Guess said.

And she plans to make the most of her experience. “I expect to go to many of the national parks and wildlife refuges close by and hike/bike many trails as well as snowboard,” she said.

NSE is a not-for-profit education consortium that coordinates semester or yearlong academic student exchanges at over 183 campuses throughout the United States, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since 1968, the consortium has helped more than 100,000 students exchange with member institutions. WKU joined the program in November 2011, and the inaugural class of students will begin their exchange this fall.

The program is available for a semester or an academic year.

For information concerning the National Student Exchange, visit www.wku.edu/studyaway/nse or contact Jerry Barnaby at (270) 745-2231.

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