The National Student Exchange (NSE) recently announced recipients of its Student Achievement Awards, including William Harrigan from The University of New Mexico, who was recognized with the Bette Worley Student Achievement Award.

These awards recognize students who demonstrate the best use of their exchange participation. The awards are named after former NSE consortium leaders. A $500 stipend and NSE portfolio is given each award recipient.

Part of the award criteria includes academic accomplishments, but consideration is also given to social welfare service, contribution to the campus or community environment, and unusual or creative use of time while on exchange.

Harrigan, who’s majored in Criminology and Communications at UNM, attended the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas for a year from Spring 2015 through Spring 2016.

It was in the spring of 2015 when Harrigan discovered the University of the Virgin Islands, a university he could attend through the National Student Exchange program. The university, in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, is located in a beautiful location and is only a five-minute walk to the beach.

UNM NSE advisor Rob Burford told Harrigan ‘that students loved their time at UVI and that it was a well-regarded program.’

During his time there, Harrigan and other exchange students were able to immerse themselves in the Virgin Islands community. “We performed multiple community service activities, attended cultural food fairs and the St. Thomas Carnival, and even went on trips to Virgin Gorda, B.V.I., as part of the program,” he said.

Alongside the NSE activities, Harrigan also volunteered as an assistant with the Family Resource Center in St. Thomas, and interned at the university’s public relations office in the spring of 2016. During his second semester at UVI, he obtained an internship at the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands arranged by the faculty at UVI. He is now a first-year student in law school.

“My time at UVI broadened my horizons, and put me in touch with people from diverse backgrounds and different upbringings,” Harrigan said. “Between the fellow exchange students and the full-time students at UVI, I made friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

“I would highly recommend that students go outside their comfort zone and experience the NSE program. Not only did I get to pay my home university’s tuition, but I formed friendships with students from different parts of the country!”

The National Student Exchange provides study away opportunities to students enrolled at its 170 member colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Established in 1968, NSE has provided exchange opportunities to more than 110,000 students.

NSE is a study away program that fits into university initiatives for globalization, diversity and engagement. It is a program that takes students out of their comfort zones and challenges them to experience life and learning from a different point of view.

For more information, visit National Student Exchange or UNM National Student Exchange.