October 5, 2017
Johnson State College students now have the option to study for one or two semesters at hundreds of colleges around the world for the same cost as their JSC tuition, room and board.
This semester, Johnson became one of just three Vermont colleges or universities with membership in the nonprofit International Student Exchange Program (ISEP). Students who meet GPA requirements may apply to study at another campus starting in fall 2018. Students may choose from nearly 250 programs in more than 50 countries.
JSC’s ISEP membership reinforces the importance of travel, alternative study options and global awareness to a liberal arts education. Johnson State is the only Vermont institution in the North Carolina-based Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, which offers opportunities for undergraduates that include student exchanges and summer study-abroad programs.
Elaine Collins, president of JSC and Lyndon State College, “is very much in favor of these experiences and recognizes the extreme value in them,” says Johnson State Director of Advising Sara Kinerson, who coordinates the college’s ISEP involvement.
“There’s a lot of value in traveling and learning a new culture, and being able to bring that to the employment setting only benefits the company you want to work for. There’s a lot of learning that goes on in those experiences…The self-development, critical-thinking skills and bigger-picture skills they have to engage in really prepare them well for after graduation,” Kinerson says.
Other study-abroad programs available to JSC students typically cost much more than Johnson State’s tuition, room and board, and that prevented many students from pursuing those options. With ISEP, students’ required costs beyond tuition, room and board will be limited to travel plus one-time application and administration fees that total $500.
About 30 percent of JSC students in a typical graduating class have participated in study-abroad options. One opportunity is the National Student Exchange Program, which offers about 200 programs at colleges and universities in the United States, U.S. territories and Canada for study up to a year.
Madeleine Boyce, a senior creative writing major from Montpelier, attended California’s Sonoma State University for the fall 2016 semester to experience the West Coast through the National Student Exchange Program.
“Being on exchange prepared me for living on my own. It was a safe way to have a trial run of what it’s like to move away from your family and have to figure out how to support yourself. Being on exchange and succeeding gave me confidence for after I graduate and have to live outside the education bubble,” she says. “As for my career, I have a firmer grasp on what I want to do with my life because I had the opportunity to take classes in my field not offered at Johnson State.”
On July 1, 2018, Johnson State College and Lyndon State College will become Northern Vermont University, a two-campus institution of higher education that combines the best of both colleges’ nationally recognized liberal arts and professional programs under a single administration. Driven by a mission to provide a high-quality, accessible, inclusive education for students in the state, the region, the nation and online, NVU will begin recruiting in fall 2017 for its first class starting in fall 2018. Learn more at NorthernVermont.edu.