The National Student Exchange (NSE) program allows undergraduate students at more than 175 universities, including IUPUI, the opportunity to study at a member institution in North America, Guam, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. Valerie Pokorny, an honors student and double-major in Environmental Science and Sustainable Management and Policy, knew right away this was an opportunity she wanted to take advantage of. With an interest in sustainability, Pokorny felt a semester at the University of Alaska Southeast would provide her with the chance to explore the natural world and help her determine what she wants to research in graduate school.
In fact, it provided much more than this. Pokorny had the opportunity to take classes not offered by IUPUI in areas like marine ornithology. She also had the opportunity to explore glaciers and ice caves. And she did this all while making lifelong friends. During her time in the program, she met 10 other exchange students from across the U.S. who all formed a tight-knit group.
Pokorny wants other students to know this is an affordable study-away option. Students simply pay IUPUI tuition and fees in order to continue receiving scholarship funding.
“It’s financially feasible because, through this program, you’re able to continue paying IUPUI tuition and fees. I was also able to keep my honors scholarships.”
Check out this video to learn more about Pokorny’s time in Alaska.
Description of the video:I'm Valerie Pokorny and I'm an environmental science major at the School of Science and also a sustainable management and policy major at O'Neill, and I'm originally from Austria. I first heard of the National Student Exchange program through a student presentation in one of my science courses my freshman year. I knew I wanted to do some sort of like study away or study abroad experience while at IUPUI, just because there's so many like financially feasible programs available during your time at college to be able to like live somewhere and study somewhere completely new, and Alaska stood out to me for sure, because it's just so different from Indiana. Studying in Alaska allowed me to take a lot of classes that IUPUI wasn't able to offer. So I took a lot of like environmental courses that were very specific to Alaska. I took environmental biogeography as well as marine Ornithology and herpetology, which is obviously something that we don't have here. I also took a class in sea kayaking, so that was pretty cool, and I was able to basically count all the courses I took in Alaska back to my degree. I kind of took my personal education like outside the classroom, into my own hands. There were just so many outdoor adventures that we were able to do, with some other exchange students while I was up there. So, we did everything from like hiking and seeing glaciers, ice caves. We did the polar plunge, which was cold. But yeah, we were able to see the Northern Lights and we did some tide pooling, which is basically where you just go to the beach at low tide and you flip rocks and see like what critters you can find, so just kind of exploring the southeast Alaska coastal environment was really, really interesting. Studying in Alaska, I think really solidified my interests in kind of going into the environmental sustainability field. Just kind of being able to have so many outdoor experiences first-hand and being able to explore kind of the natural world and kind of having that need to kind of preserve it. I really recommend this program to other students because it's just such a great way to not only diversify your academics, but also kind of mix up your college experience in general.
The opportunities at IUPUI are endless! Learn more about the National Student Exchange program.