Why You Should Be An Exchange Student

 Image Credit: Canva

Image Credit: Canva

Have you ever been interested in being an exchange student? Maybe you are, but you just don’t know that much about it. If that’s the case, then you are not the only one. Despite the fact that most universities offer student exchange programs, it always seems as if they are swept under the rug, and that no one really knows that much about them. It’s important to learn more about what exactly makes up a student exchange program, and the reasons as to why you should embark upon one. If you’ve always wanted to continue your studies somewhere new, then maybe a term studying abroad will be right for you. 

So… What exactly is a student exchange program? A student exchange program is a program that allows university students to study at one of their university’s affiliated partner universities abroad for a specific amount of time. Although in saying this, student exchange programs are not strictly limited to abroad options. If you’re looking for an option closer to home, than the National Student Exchange (NSE) program offers inter-university exchange within the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. If you do choose to study abroad, you will be placed in either a hostel, apartment, Halls of Residence, or with a host family. Usually, exchange students choose to fund their exchange through scholarships, self-funding, and student loans. Student exchange programs differ from your typical holiday, as they offer the chance to experience your new destination as a local, not as a tourist. 

Why would this be right for me? If you’re interested in studying abroad but are not quite sure of how it will benefit you, then learn about the personal and professional benefits that you will attain.

Learn about a new culture and language: A lot of foreign countries don’t use English as their main dialect. So, in order to communicate with the locals authentically, you’re going to have to learn at least the basics of the local language. Learning a new language is not only a great personal accomplishment - as it means that you can communicate with a whole new group of people - but it also looks great on your resume/CV. The culture of the new country that you have chosen to study in will inevitably be different than back at home. This is by no means a bad thing. You will have the chance to experience different foods, social interactions, atmospheres, sports, and a whole other way of life. Experiencing a new culture will leave you more open-minded to new ways of doing things and other cultures apart from your own. 

Make friends with people around the world: Not only will you make friends with the locals of your destination, but you will also make friends with people that have chosen to study abroad - just like you. You can communicate with other travelers via communities Rakbo or informally with Exchange Student USA. Making friends with people of a different culture will strengthen your social skills, expose you to new experiences and opportunities, and it may even help you to make friends for life! 

Make you attractive to employers: Choosing to study abroad is undoubtedly a bold and brave decision. This is something that employers realize when they see that you have studied abroad on your resume/CV. Choosing to study abroad suggests to employers that you take the initiative, care about your education, are eager to learn about new cultures, and are a confident risk-taker. These are all attractive attributes to an employer and will separate you from the pack.

Gives you a new perspective: The culture of your destination probably has a whole new way of approaching a problem or looking at life. You might agree with these approaches, or you might not.You might even be inspired to develop your own perspective. Either way, you will be exposed to new ideas, and ways of thinking about things, instead of being limited just to the beliefs of your culture and country. 

From studying abroad, you will gain personal and professional benefits that will enhance not only other people's opinions of you but your opinion of yourself. Studying abroad may seem like a scary decision to make, but the benefits that you will gain will make it well worth it.