Student Exchange Program: Key Opportunities And Obstacles

Choosing to spend a semester or a year abroad and trying to cope without your family, friends and environment can be daunting. There are many reasons students should consider an exchange program, but there are just as many reasons many don’t. No matter what your motivation is to go either way, it is important to be sure of the pros and cons before you commit. There are popular countries students want to go to, and then there are the less popular countries. If you are going to spend some time getting to know another culture, make it as far from your own as you feel comfortable with. Let’s get into the opportunities and obstacles that come with joining an exchange program.

Exchange program opportunities

Exchange program image

It’s great

You will have the opportunity to meet new people, explore a different culture, and be your own person. You can learn a new language which is great in itself, because you will become more marketable after school. The more languages you speak, the better and well-rounded you become. Find out how to write a reflective essay to send with your application if necessary.

You’ll change

When you join an exchange program, something is sure to happen to you that changes the person you are. You will be taken out of your comfort zone and you’ll have to adapt to a lot of changes. This is a positive thing because you are going to be challenged; and you are going to come out on the other side a stronger, more confident and braver person. If you can do this by yourself, you are going to start believing that nothing is beyond you.

Easier admissions

After you’ve completed an exchange program, you will most likely find that it is easier to get accepted by colleges in your own country. These institutions are looking for students who are well-rounded; and the fact that you have decided to take on a challenge, will help you stand out. Pay attention to your reflection essay structure when applying for an exchange program, as this improves your chances of getting accepted and changing your life forever.

Affordable travel opportunity

The costs to do an exchange program is not as expensive as it would be if you were to visit a country on your own. This is such a great opportunity if you are unable to travel as a student. You could stay at someone’s house instead of having to pay for hotel accommodation. Yes, there will be traveling costs but many institutions will be able to give you a grant or a scholarship to help pay these fees. If you are able to get a grant or scholarship, this exchange can end up costing you very little.

Obstacles

Homesick

Many students find it very overwhelming being away from what they are used to. Family and friends will not be accompanying you on this program and you will probably start missing everyone back home. This is not your typical vacation and you will still need to work hard without your support system. It’s only understandable why students become homesick once things get back to normal and the excitement fizzles out.

Language

As exciting as it is to learn a new language, it can be equally challenging. You are in a foreign country and no one knows what you want to say, or you don’t know what everyone is saying. You may start to feel like an outcast when your classmates speak in their native language. Trying to learn a new language is also not an easy task and many students return home without having mastered the native language of the exchange country they went to.

No friends

It will take some time to win over the hearts of the students in your class. At home, you may have friends you’ve known since you were 6 but now, you’d need to fit into a new group of friends. It is not always the case where everyone is excited about the student from another country, and that can be difficult. If there are siblings in your host family’s house, you will still have to deal with getting to know them. It can become very challenging if you end up not fitting in.

Religion

This is a rather huge obstacle because religion is a very personal thing for everyone. If you are going to a foreign country where a certain religion is very strong, you might feel uncomfortable. Social standards are different in every country and you might want to stick to what you know while being pressurised to fit in.

Conclusion

Clearly define the reasons you want to do an exchange program and be sure to prepare mentally. Keep all the pros and cons in mind and do your research. Perhaps you can choose a country where the culture is not too far-fetched from your own, or challenge yourself to try something a bit more adventurous. If you then decide to do this, be sure to enjoy the experience, because it will be over before you know it.


Rebecca Morrison imageRebecca Morrison is a content manager and guest post blogger. She likes her work as it is her hobby writing. Her life credo is “Never give up!”. She dreams of becoming an illustrious author and blogger.

 

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