Eight WKU students are now studying at different universities around the country through National Student Exchange (NSE). Another student will go in the spring.
The exchange is a way for students to work on their WKU degree at another university for a semester or year.
Jerry Barnaby, program director of Study Away, said this is the first semester students are participating in NSE, and the program is off to a good start. Barnaby said there are almost 200 different universities that students can choose from for the program.
Barnaby also said he keeps in touch with the students while they’re away and the feedback has been positive.
“We wait until after the first few weeks of the semester to start talking about it, but students are already inquiring about going next year too,” Barnaby said.
Senior Brooke Guess of Louisville is studying at the University of Montana for at least the semester.
“I chose out here because I had never been out West before and I’m a biology major with a concentration in wildlife,” Guess said.
Guess said the school has one of the oldest wildlife biology programs in the United States.
While there, Guess wants to network for graduate school. She said she would attend her host school for graduate school if she’s accepted.
“Every direction that you look basically from campus there are mountains. Missoula is actually in a valley surrounded by mountains, so there’s mountains everywhere,” Guess said.
Guess said there is also a river that runs through the intramural fields on campus and you can see people kayaking.
“I miss Western because I have made a bunch of friends there and I know the professors, but I think I do like it here more,” Guess said. “But I think it might just be because it’s new and it’s something different.”
Leitchfield sophomore Michael Wilbanks is studying at the University of Idaho for the year through NSE.
Wilbanks said he is glad he decided to take part in this program, but there are a few things he misses about WKU.
“I miss my family. I miss my friends and I miss Cherry Hall because that’s where most of my classes were,” Wilbanks said.
While Wilbanks may miss Cherry, he said there are a lot of things at his new university that he enjoys, like several restaurants, a rock wall and a dome where sport events are held.
“There are a lot of bikes on campus because it’s a small town, so pretty much everybody either bikes or walks to anywhere on campus or downtown,” Wilbanks said.
If he likes it at U-Idaho, Wilbanks said he might decide to stay.
Barnaby said this year no students decided to come to WKU to study as part of the program.