October 7, 2002 Vol. VII, No. 4

CSUN Among Top Schools in National Student Exchange

University is Near the Top in Sending and Receiving Students Among 177 Participating NSE Schools

Cal State Northridge ranks among the nation's top participants in the National Student Exchange, sending and receiving more students than most of the 177 colleges and universities that participate in the program, according to newly released statistics.

CSUN placed in the top four among all National Student Exchange participating institutions during the 2002-2003 academic year, importing 120 students from other campuses and sending 90 Cal State Northridge students to other institutions elsewhere in the United States and Canada.

Northridge has been bringing in more than 100 students a year through the NSE program, greatly surpassing the campus' initial goals during the past six years, according to Marta Lopez, adviser for Northridge's Study Abroad and National Student Exchange activities.

"CSUN is very popular and large numbers of students want to come here," added John Charles, CSUN's assistant director of international programs. He noted that the NSE program's official statistics for CSUN are actually low, because more students were exchanged after a determining conference last March.

The National Student Exchange is a network of 177 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada that swaps undergraduates interested in enriching their studies through experiences away from their home campus. Now in its 35th year, the entire program has more than 4,000 participating students.

Students' involvement in the National Student Exchange program is often based on their interest in potential academic benefits. Visiting students to Northridge frequently choose the university because of the reputation of its business and theater, radio, television and film programs.

Charles said the university tries to maintain an even exchange of imported and exported students. Exchanges with the University of Hawaii-Manoa with 23 visiting students and 25 exported students top this year's program. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst came in second, with 13 students in and 10 out.

Because of its importing strength, CSUN has little trouble placing its students at other universities. But last year, Charles said the university had to turn away 35 exchange students who wanted to come to CSUN in order to maintain program balance.

Primarily, students join exchange programs to gain new experiences away from home. The National Student Exchange is a good alternative for those students who cannot afford to study abroad.

Liane Kaneko, a senior from the University of Hawaii, came to CSUN for the university's popular business program. But other factors also helped influence her final decision to attend Northridge.

The Southern California climate is moderate like Hawaii's, the NSE program allowed her to pay her home state's tuition and fees, and most importantly, Kaneko saw the exchange program as a wonderful vehicle for personal growth.

"This was my first trip away from home, and I learned that I take a lot for granted," she said. "This has been an experience in independence, learning to shop, cook, and be responsible for myself while working with roommates, people you never met before, and taking the initiative to make new friends."

The continued success of the National Student Exchange program at Northridge also is related to the active role of its coordinators. Their interaction with students, visits to other member campuses and participation at NSE conferences contribute to the high numbers of participating students at CSUN.

Another important means of recruiting participants is word-of-mouth. Kaneko entered the program after hearing of a friend's positive experience at CSUN and is happy she took that advice. "John and Marta really help the students and go out of their way to assist and guide them," Kaneko said.

-Debbie Catanese

National Student Exchange Participants for 2002-2003
Top Importers
University of Hawaii-Manoa 310
University of Massachusetts at Amherst 141
University of Hawaii at Hilo 127
California State University, Northridge 120
Humboldt State University 120
Hunter College of the City of New York 101
Florida International University 69
University of Oregon 68
University of West Florida 62
University of New Orleans 61
Top Exporters
University of Massachusetts at Amherst 142
University of Hawaii-Manoa 100
California State University, Northridge 90
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 75
Oregon State University 73
Iowa State University 70
University of New Mexico at Albuquerque 69
Humboldt State University 62
University of South Carolina at Columbia 62
Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge 55
New Mexico State University 55
Source: National Student Exchange

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