Students/Cultural Exchange Programs
A student exchange program is a study program in which students from a secondary school or a college/university pursue their education at one of the international institutions for a semester to one year. It is different from the usual study abroad programs which may involve international travel and study for some time, but does not necessarily require the student to remain outside his/her native country.
Internationalization has taken a strong hold within education worldwide, implying the necessity for cultural and intercultural transformation as reciprocal exchanges of national culture towards gaining first-hand experience of cultural exposure through exchange.
To encourage student mobility across borders, universities around the world invite interested students and researchers to study a semester or conduct research in a diverse range of fields via exchange programs. These programs are an ingenious way of gaining international exposure and learning from remarkable faculty and peers.
Reasons for students to try at an exchange program
Student exchange programs are extremely low cost, and it is one of the primary reasons they are very popular amongst students. The same exposure and experience students get in studying abroad can be achieved by enrolling in a student exchange programs.
These programs provide students with an opportunity to study in a different country and environment, experiencing the history and culture of another country, as well as meeting new friends to enrich their personal development, and help boost their self-confidence, improve self-esteem and independent thinking skills..
The relationships and bonds they make in a new country stay with them forever which helps students understand the way of living of others and respect it, therefore becoming global citizens.
International student/cultural exchange programs enrich students’ life both academically and personally, increasing chances of employability opportunities in the globalised world and help gain skills for their future jobs as employers are looking for students with international experience because students with international exposures can adapt quickly to changing situations and are a good problem solver with a better understanding of different cultures, which is highly valued in the work places particularly in international companies.
As the world is becoming increasingly multicultural and interconnected, many universities and reputed schools are emphasizing the importance of cultural exchanges, global exposure and international perspectives.
Though sending a child abroad to study or for student/cultural exchange in a new country looks like a scary prospect to some parents yet more parents are seeing the value of sending their children abroad for studies or student/cultural exchange.
These programs bring unity among diversity. Students discover that a multitude of similarities exist between them all and they try to figure out life towards unity irrespective of their background.
Sharing cultures allows students to become open and tolerant to other cultures and traditions and inculcate the habits of flexibility, adaptability, and confidence among them to foreign situations such as independent living, traveling and managing daily and academic chores. This helps understand and experience of integrating into a foreign way of life if they ever decide to work or settle abroad.
Students get experienced to improved self-confidence and self-esteem which may enhance their decision making power and independent thinking skills, in addition to understanding and acceptance of different cultures and perspectives.
Types of exchange programs:
Short-term exchange programs, also known as STEP, focus on home stays, language skills, community service, or cultural activities. Such programs last from one week to three months and don’t require the student to study in any particular school or institution. The students are exposed to understanding of other cultures, communities, and languages.
Long-term exchange programs are those which last six to ten months or up to one full year. Students integrate themselves into the host family, immerse themselves in the local community and surroundings. After returning their home country they are expected to incorporate this knowledge into their daily lives, as well as give a presentation on their experience to others.