In Parents, Teachers, Teens

The Foreign Exchange Student: A Valuable Experience

Foreign Exchange Student

Getting an education from a national or international institution often proves very rewarding for many students, and this is one of the main reasons countries have come up with student exchange programs. Many exchange student programs are available around the world and right within the U.S. ASSE International Student Exchange Programs were founded in Sweden by the Ministry of Education. In the U.S. they have ISEP established in 1979 in Arlington, Virginia. A foreign exchange student gets not only to acquire the education of their dreams, but also to learn about other cultures, widen their horizons, and explore the world. 

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Advantages

  • Independent learning in a different social and education environment
  • Enhancing intercultural stability
  • Personal growth through involvement in another culture
  • Obtain an outlook of academic field from a different perspective.

These exchange programs also build character in forms of poise and sophistication giving those students who gain this experience a positive edge in the business and social world. If a student chooses to be a part of this program the institute requires a tuition fee.

Students in the national student exchange have the privilege of ‘exchanging’ a neighborhood, school and family for a period of time to either expand their knowledge of a different area, or gain the advantages of a higher standard of education from a unique education branch. Having a host family to sponsor or care for them costs the same as the host family caring for a child of their own, so this way both students, the exchange and the home student, benefit from it.

Student Book Exchange

When you need a book for an academic project and you don’t have the money to pay for one what do you do? You can become a part of a book exchange program and swap a book you don’t need any more for a book owned by another student. Many schools and colleges offer student book exchanges making it easy for students to pursue their academic goals while also completing lengthy assignments in a timely fashion. The borrowed book is recorded with information from borrower and lender. The student ticket exchange is similar to this and is a way students can save money spent on tickets that they want to trade in.

International Student Exchange

One of the most rewarding and exciting programs involve international student exchange. This program requires a fee – including travel and program expenses – and offers students the experience of going abroad for an education. These programs are sometimes short and can even take place during the summer. The programs are available through governmental or non-governmental entities and offer exposure to languages, foreign history and a variety of communities. This system does not insist on academic requirements and can be as short as one week.

Seeing America from the eyes of a foreign exchange student is a very interesting and educating experience. From them you can learn that what they feel portrays an ‘all American’ standard and way of life – what is acceptable and unacceptable from an American teenager’s standpoint.

From the perspective of one foreign exchange student, the culture is extremely different from their county and they went on to relate that bullying was a common occurrence in U.S. schools; an action that was less frequent in their country. They observed that the bullying stemmed from one or more of these components; teenagers disapproval of speech, dress, preference and students whose lifestyles, sexual orientation and outlook on life differed drastically from theirs. If a foreign exchange student fell in any of these categories, than they fell victim to bullying just like the rest. They also noted that, above all other types of bullying, cyber-bullying was the most common.

Exchange students are no different from any other teen. They like the same privileges: would like to be respected and want to be accepted by the friends and acquaintances of their host family. They want to make a good impression and hope to make a lasting and favorable impression – and also hope they gain one. Most of all, they want to learn and explore their host country and have fun while they do it.

What is bullying? Learn here!

Foreign Exchange Student Program

One of the foreign exchange student programs which are one of the easiest to join is the AFS YES program. The program gives many privileges and opportunities to students who are members. YES students are involved in volunteer work, give presentations in classrooms, make appearances to youth groups and organizations and host many academic programs. There is something special prepared for all YES students.

How to Become a Foreign Exchange Student

Becoming a foreign exchange student doesn’t only depend on the exchange program; it also depends on the student. A student interested in a foreign exchange opportunity must have certain qualities:

  • They should be willing to adapt to their environment
  • Sociable and willing to make friends
  • Studious and excited to learn about the country they are visiting
  • Be an active member of the host family they are staying with.

Most programs require the student to be in a certain age bracket, be in good health and maintain above average grades.

The STS student exchange program lists their requirements for joining the program with an online application right on the home page. The information is straightforward, easy to understand and generally gives students and idea of what to expect before they sign up.

Before a student decides, the first thing they should do is ask themselves why they want to become a foreign exchange student and their real purpose for joining the student exchange program? They should talk to people who were previously involved with exchange organizations and what benefits they got from it. With this knowledge, prospective exchange students will know which programs are the best to sign up with and what to expect from them. Another good idea is to find a pen pal from the country you want to travel to in order to gain viewpoints and ideas about the country from its natives.

The foreign exchange program is a great opportunity to travel, explore, learn and discover about the world.

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