The newly created NAC&U Signature Experiences offer domestic study away opportunities that allow students to take advantage of host campuses’ unique locations and expertise to gain real-world experience in a cross-cultural setting. The first Signature Experiences are semester-long offerings in entertainment and music business at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., history of civil rights at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and two programs – meteorology and geography – at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Ind.
“Domestic study away is an opportunity to learn more about the United States and the different cultures within our country,” said NAC&U President Nancy Hensel. “The Signature Experiences expand on that concept by providing tailored courses and real-world experience in specific areas of study.”
The Signature Experiences offer specific courses and an internship (or other hands-on learning) to ensure that enrichment is meaningful, both for the student’s personal and professional growth. The Entertainment and Music Business Semester at Belmont University, for example, allows students to take courses at the renowned Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business while performing a 30 hours-per-week internship in the heart of Music City. Samford University’s Birmingham Civil Rights Semester places students at the heart of the struggle with access to important documents, materials and places that were key to the civil rights movement, helping them to better understand both our past and present civil rights issues. Valparaiso University is offering two specialty programs, including its nationally recognized meteorology program in which students can pick from numerous electives, including research and broadcasting, and gain experience in various ways, such as forecasting for the local school district and manning the university TV station’s weather desk. Students can earn a Geography Certificate in Valparaiso’s Geography Semester while exploring computer mapping tools and going on excursions to local landform sites.
The four Signature Experiences are additions to the current NAC&U Student Exchange programs which include customizable, flexible domestic study away options at 12 different campuses across the country. Many of these also offer field study, internships, and special projects. Student Exchange participating members currently include Arcadia University, Glenside, Penn.; Drury University, St. Louis, Mo.; Nazareth College, Rochester, N.Y.; North Central College, Naperville, Ill.; The Sage Colleges, campuses in Albany and Troy, N.Y.; The University of Scranton, Scranton, Penn.; Wagner College, Staten Island, N.Y.; Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah; and Widener University, Chester, Penn. Belmont University, Samford University and Valparaiso University also offer flexible Student Exchange programs.
In addition to providing robust opportunities for study, the Student Exchange network simplifies the study away process for students with a streamlined application process and tuition exchange policy. The latter allows students to pay tuition to their home campus while away so that financial aid packages remain intact.