National Student Exchange

The National Student Exchange (NSE) provides UGA students the opportunity to study away at one of more than 170 colleges and universities. Students can apply to study at a campus the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. A variety of institutions are available; programs vary in size, location, programs offered, and native language.

The National Student Exchange provides students a unique experience to explore a new location, take classes not offered at UGA and make new connections. Studying away is a great way to show one’s ability to work well in a different environment and expand their interests through new experiences.

Find a campus that meets your preferences on the NSE Website.

Interested in starting your next adventure? Email Josh Podvin for more information:

Receive more updates about the UGA National Student Exchange on our Facebook.

Photo taken by Liz Jurado who studied away at the University of Montana

The application deadline for the 2020-2021 student exchange is March 1, 2020.

Students must be enrolled full-time at time of application and during exchange.

GPA of 2.5 on a 4.00 scale is required.

Students must be in good financial, academic, and conduct standing.

Review the Student Information on the NSE website.

Visit the NSE Office in the Office of Service Learning at 1242 1/2 Lumpkin Street. We are located behind the Fanning Institute, Building #2627 on campus maps. Our email is

Obtain a link to the NSE Application for Exchange (available from the NSE Office).

Submit the application fee (check or money order payable to UGA NSE). A non-refundable fee of $250 is assessed at the time of application and provides eligibility for an academic year of exchange. Subsequent exchanges will require the fee if they occur within a new academic year.

Include an unofficial transcript.

Include a statement of personal goals and reasons for exchange participation (250 word essay).

Include a letter of recommendation from a UGA staff or faculty member.

All students who apply must pay a non-refundable $250 application fee.

Students have two payment options for tuition:

Plan A – Students pay the in-state tuition and fees to the campus where they are studying away.

Plan B – Students pay the normal UGA tuition and fees. No tuition will be payed to the host campus.

Students must also pay for meals and housing while studying away. Other miscellaneous fees may be assessed depending on the program.

Liz Jurado studied away at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana.


How did you become interested in the National Student Exchange?

“I grew up in Athens, Georgia and I started college a year early. I have been in Athens a long time and I was looking for a way to not be in Athens and see something new for a little while.”

Did you benefit from seeing different parts of the United States?

“Definitely! Growing up and going to college in the same place limits the amount that you get to see, and I had never been to the other side of the county. I had never seen the West Coast before or the Midwest so that was a completely different experience.”

Once you decided to study away, how did you choose your campus?

“I kind of just chose Montana at random. It ended up being really good because I study ecology and that campus is one of the most beautiful natural states and places in the world and definitely in the US … They have a great compatibility for environmental studies and biological ecology there, so that was a factor...”

Where did you study away and what types classes did you take?

“I was in Missoula, Montana at the University of Montana. From an experiential perspective, this is completely different from Athens because here we have hills everywhere and it is very hot and it is a struggle to get across campus. They have a tiny campus and it is completely flat because it is in a valley and is surrounded by mountains. On a day to day level that was really different”

“I was taking classes that were relevant to my field that were also fun. I took environmental politics and policy, which is not a course offered at UGA. I took biochemistry, which may not have been a great choice because it is a very hard class. I took anthropology, a basic elective I got out of the way. I got rid of core curriculum requirements and took some classes that were interesting to me.”

What was the most memorable moment you experienced while studying away?

"In the last two days I was in Montana and all of my friends were determined for me to have the quintessential Montana experience. So we drove to Idaho...and we had real snow... we drove 2 hours through these tall evergreens and it looked fake. We got to the national park area called “Jerry Johnson” and we climbed the mountain for a mile in the snow. Not as hard as you would think! Very wet though. And there were natural springs. We got in the hot springs and sat there for a couple hours as the snow fell. That was surreal. Definitely my favorite memory."

What are some of the benefits you experienced through the program?

“The sense of independence is really important. When you are from one place and stay there long enough, you can start to fall into the trap – “Am I my history?”, “Am I the activities I do every day?”. Your sense of identity can be muddled. When you go somewhere and remove the context of who you are, I think you know yourself better … it was very confidence building for me.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying away?

I would say get involved immediately. The best thing you can do is to have a plan, join clubs as soon as you get there, and be friendly and open minded ... If you are open to experiences – and more than that if you are trying to have new experiences, it will happen. So join a club. Join a couple clubs.”

Learn more about Liz Jurado’s experience by reading her guest column in the Red & Black.

Charlie Folkestad is a student at the University of Oregon and is studying at the University of Georgia for his Spring 2020 semester. Charlie’s interest in studying away began after he went on a trip to New Orleans and realized how much he enjoyed exploring new cities. Afterwards, Charlie saw a poster on campus advertising the National Student Exchange and followed up with his NSE Coordinator.

Charlie wanted to go to a large school in the south with a “college town” feel, leading him to pick the University of Georgia as his number one choice. Once Charlie was accepted to come to UGA, he found off-campus housing. After moving in at UGA, Charlie quickly meshed well with his roommates. He is currently taking philosophy classes and has had great experiences with his professors. When comparing UGA to his home campus, he has found that UGA is a much larger school, but his class sizes have been small. He has enjoyed exploring what UGA has to offer – especially going to local shows and exploring the Athens music scene. He has also traveled to Savannah and goes to Atlanta for sporting events.

As an introvert, Charlie feels that the National Student Exchange has opened him up to new experiences, allowing him to come out of his shell and define himself in a new context. While the University of Oregon is only two hours away from his home, UGA has been a completely different experience!

Charlie says that those who are considering whether they should study away should absolutely do it. He feels that the program is a great opportunity to see a new part of the country that you have had less experience with and can help you to understand different cultural settings.