Nine University of the Virgin Islands students on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix will begin studies at other universities in fall 2018 and spring 2019 through the National Student Exchange Program (NSE).
The NSE Program provides students with the opportunity to study at other institutions in Dendmark and the United States, including Puerto Rico and Guam. Students learn about different cultures, different geographical locations, explore graduate school and employment options, enroll in courses not presently offered at UVI, expand their world view, and experience personal growth and enrichment.
Patricia Towal, director of Counseling and Career Services and NSE coordinator on the Albert A. Sheen Campus, says that study abroad programs offer students an amazing life-changing experience.
“Watching our students prepare to exchange and seeing the results when the students return is truly a thrilling experience,” said Towal. “Stepping out of their comfort zone brings so many growth benefits to our exchange students as they meet new experiences, new cultures, new people and new challenges. Our students rise to the challenge brilliantly.”
Below are comments shared by some of the students in this year’s cohort.
Marc Anthony Colon, junior, BSC Applied Mathematics/3-2 Engineering Program
“I have always been interested in study abroad programs. I am most excited about experiencing the cultural experience of another area, expanding my career options, learning a curriculum that is different from UVI.
“I am really looking forward to my exchange; knowing that Denmark had a big influence on St. Croix, I want to learn about St. Croix from a different perspective.”
Colon will be studying statistics, chemistry and quantitative and qualitative analysis at the University of Aalborg, Denmark.
Tione Grant, junior, BSC Applied Mathematics/ 3-2 Engineering Program
“The thought of doing NSE wasn’t something I cared for; however, after the hurricanes and witnessing the atmosphere in the Virgin Islands, I wanted something different. When I saw the email with the opportunity my friend said, ‘let’s do this and try something new.’
“I have been doing a lot to prepare for my trip including acquiring winter clothing, speaking with individuals from the partner school, overcoming hurdles with applying for the student visa, confirming housing and finalizing paper work. The process has been really taxing and frustrating, but worth it.
“I just can’t wait to go to the other side of the world. I always wanted to go to Europe. I just can’t wait.”
Grant will be studying inorganic and organic chemistry, chemical analysis and statistics, at the University of Aalborg, Denmark.
Tywreh Nelson, junior, BA Hospitality and Tourism Management
“Hawaii is a very large tourism hub, and it has a very successful tourism industry. I chose to go there to see what they do and what we don’t do and what we can do, learn something new that I can come back and implement in our tourism industry.
“Being able to study in Hawaii is an experience that I would not have been able to do if I had not gone to UVI. This is a life changing opportunity that has already began to change me, and I’m not even there yet. Imagine who I will be at the end. Then on top of that, to think I can do it all again somewhere just as extravagant as my first choice? Unbelievable. I can finally see this place I have been dreaming about for the past two years. I have been there mentally, and now I can indulge myself into a new experience. Thank you UVI!”
Nelson will be studying the Hawaiian language, environmental science, cruise and hotel management and macroeconomics at the University of Hawaii- Manoa.
Carissa Simons, sophomore, BA Elementary Education
“I decided this experience would be a really good opportunity for me to learn a different culture and lifestyle. This is my first extended period away from home and I am really emotional. I love my island and I will miss it. I love UVI; it has become my home. Though I am excited, it is bittersweet.
“To my peers at UVI, go for it. There is no limit to what you can do, don’t be afraid, open that door of opportunity, take advantage of it; through experiences like these, you learn a lot and experience growth. Go for the stars no matter what.”
Simons will be studying elementary Spanish, world literature and special education at the New Jersey City University.
Crystal Carino, junior, BA Biology
“I’ve always wanted to do an exchange program; I love to travel; I love to go to new places I’ve never been to. I chose New Jersey because I have family there as well so that I can be comfortable in that state.
“Through this program, I hope to experience new places, learn a new campus, meet diverse people, experience different cultures and different teaching styles.”
Carino will be studying cell and molecular biology, physics and scanning microscope at William Paterson University, New Jersey.
Eleyce Flemming and Angelique Flemming will complete their exchange program at Texas State University.
Damalia Simmonds will complete her exchange program at Virginia State University.
Jahlea Escobar will complete her studies at Alabama State University in Spring 2019.
The NSE Program is open to full-time undergraduate students with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or better who have at least 24 degree-credits at the time of application or at the completion of the term prior to the exchange.