Would you like to go on exchange?

Where would you’d like to study? What about Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Hawaii, and Ghana? Through UAS academic exchange programs, students can travel the world and study wherever they choose. 

According to Miranda Barril, UAS Exchange and Study Away Coordinator, students who are interested in an academic exchange or study abroad program have two options.

The first option is the International Student Exchange Program. It offers students the opportunity to study in more than 50 different countries. Barill said the program is quite affordable to students. 

“You essentially just pay UAS in-state resident tuition and we send you over to another school in another country,” she said. 

 Once students decide the country where they wish to study,  they determine the length of their stay. ISEP offers the choice of a semester or a full academic year. 

Other international programs include Academic Programs International, Global Education Oregon, Institute for Study Abroad, International Studies Abroad, and Semester at Sea. 

“The programs are a little more expensive, but they have a lot more included in them,” Barril said. 

Sienna Chubak, a junior English major at UAS, recently returned from a semester exchange in Townsville, Australia, where studied at James Cook University. During her exchange, she visited the Great Reef Barrier in Cairns, Australia.

 “It was super neat. You’re swimming with sharks and squid and sea turtles and you got to see coral actually alive. I think that was probably the best experience,” Chubak said.

With the second option, students can have adventures while staying within the United States through the National Student Exchange, which includes the 50 states and the U.S. territories.

“So let’s say students were to travel but didn’t really want to commit to going to another country, this program would be for them,” Barril said. 

Hawaii is one of the most popular NSE exchanges for Alaska students. 

When it comes to the experience of preparing and applying for the exchange programs, Chubak said, “The University definitely made it easy. They did have a lot of options, which was probably the most overwhelming part, but then as soon as you choose a place, they just sent you a weekly list of what to do. That way you know what to be expecting.” 

Once students are accepted into a program, UAS works with them before and during the program. 

There are many benefits for students who go on an exchange program. “It’s a life-changing experience,” Barril said. “Students who go on exchange programs have so many doors open to them. It can only push you further and now that we’re kind of emerging out of the Post-COVID era, who knows when the next one will happen and you don’t wanna squander those chances of going on an exchange.”

According to Chubak, exchange programs are also a great opportunity to make friends and new connections, and learn about another culture. 

“James Cook University has a huge exchange program, so I met tons of people from places like Germany, Scandinavia, and Norway, and I became friends with those people. So not only did I learn about one culture, I feel like I got to learn about a bunch of them, which was super neat. I really realized how limited education can be when you just stay in one spot,” Chubak said. 

Barril studied and taught English in Japan, and still has friends and connections from her experiences. 

“It’s definitely a lifelong journey that stays with you.  Just try it. You’ll never know if you like it or not unless you research it. Ultimately, you’re the one that has to make the experience yours,” she said.

For more information visit the UAS Study Exchange website at uas.alaska.edu/exchanges or contact Miranda Barril at mabarril@alaska.edu.

By Teigan Akagi, Staff Writer, Whalesong

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