A student exchange program offers you an opportunity to study, for a semester or two, in another country at a different university.
If you love adventure and traveling, then there’s no need to persuade you to participate in one. But if you are wondering if such a program is the right fit for you, and its potential advantages, this post is for you.
It’s an Opportunity to Experience New Cultures
Living in another country exposes you to cultures that are different from what you’re used to at home. For example, when in Japan, you shouldn’t get into someone’s house with your shoes on. You leave your shoes at the door and wear indoor slippers.
This is because they consider the outdoor shoes dirty. The cultures are different from place to place and country to country. You learn to appreciate the diversity and not judge them.
You’ll Learn a New Language
Speaking to native speakers is the best way to learn a new language. You’ll be corrected instantly and learn pronunciations and intonations better.
Most of all, you’ll have to speak and read the language almost always. If you are learning Mandarin at your school, an exchange program to China for a semester will propel your progress by a margin.
New Friends From All Over the World
A student exchange program is a chance to make new friends from all over the world. These contacts might turn into invaluable networks later in your career and in business.
It will also make traveling to other countries easier because you have someone you know in that country. You might also be invited to weddings or meet-ups that are opportunities to travel, especially if the countries are restrictive on visas.
Taking up the challenge of studying abroad shows you are not afraid of an unfamiliar setting. You are also adaptable and know how to work with people.
It also demonstrates that you are able to respect people’s cultures and beliefs. This will give you an advantage, especially when it comes to multinational companies.
You’ll Be Able to Appreciate Different Styles of Teaching
There are different approaches to teaching and learning. When exposed to different methods, you’ll be able to understand which methods work for you and which ones don’t.
If you are interested in a career in academia in the future, you might just learn a teaching or studying trick at your new school. This break in monotony brought by an exchange program can open up areas in your field of study that you hadn’t thought of before.
Higher Self-Awareness and Self-Esteem
Leaving home for a different country is a challenge. You have to adjust to the culture there and learn how to interact with new people and make new friends. As you get used to the new environment, you get to know yourself better and your self-confidence and self-esteem grow too.
This empowers you to meet new challenges later in life. You also become fit for a global environment. This is actually the biggest change that is seen in students returning from exchange programs.
You Can Travel to Nearby Countries
Staying in another country allows you to travel to the neighboring countries also. For example, if you go to Spain, you get a Schengen EU visa. This allows you to travel to any country within the European Union during your stay.
You can visit France, experience authentic Italian food in Italy, or go hike the Swiss Alps. All this will broaden your cultural sensitivity and you’ll make even more friends and future networks during your stay.
It Will Give You a Global Viewpoint
Interacting with people from different countries will make you privy to global issues. Issues like climate change, corruption, security, and unemployment affect most countries in different ways.
You will see how the countries are tackling these issues and even how your degree will help solve some of these issues.
Wrapping it Up
Although deciding to participate in an exchange program might be a daunting task, it has a lot of benefits. As someone who has participated in an exchange program, I’d encourage you to make that application right away!