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International Global Network

Things to Consider when Choosing a Student Exchange Program

The idea of joining a student exchange program is alluring for many students, especially nowadays with the widely available options to choose from. Student exchange programs are also great as a stepping stone for aspiring travellers to hop around neighboring countries. If your future goal is to join a student exchange program, then you might want to consider these things prior to choosing one.

Define Your Goal

Student exchange programs normally have a set of goals participants need to meet. Whether it is to run a charity program or conduct research, the hosting institutions will most likely expect something from you. It is easy for student exchange program participants to be overwhelmed by the experience, and being aware of your future goals can help you remain focused. This does not mean you can not have fun, as long as you remain responsible and are able to balance the two.

Cost

How much are you willing to spend? While many student exchange programs are funded, either fully or partially, there is also plenty that aren’t. Undoubtedly, there is always a great chance that you could either request funding from your school or seek sponsorship to finance the program, thus how you would finance the program should be your top consideration. Also, additional costs like leisure traveling is often not covered, so bear these in mind too!

Languange Barrier

It would help immensely if you spoke the language of the country you are headed to, but in the case you don’t, it is important to consider how easy it would be to learn the language, at least enough to maintain daily conversation. Your future goal should be to speak the language of the country you are residing at, as it makes living there a lot easier.

Culture

This one is rather obvious, but it is often the case that students participating in exchange programs face immense shock upon adjusting with their new home. While many survive, becoming more knowledgeable in the process, others who are unwilling to embrace cultural differences end up benefiting little to nothing from the program. When joining a student exchange program, put yourself as a guest in the hosting country. Thus, it is important for you to consider how open are you to embracing and learning the culture of the other country.

Weather

Students in exchange programs are often first time travellers. As if the culture shock is not enough, weather differences also frequently becomes an issue. If the body doesn’t adjust well, it becomes prone to sickness. We advise anyone applying for a student exchange program in a different country to get checked prior to leaving for any possible medical issues and discuss with a doctor.

Logistics

While the future goal of joining a student exchange program is to learn, does not mean you can not have fun. Being in a foreign country is a great chance for you to travel to neighboring countries. For novice travellers especially, the distance and ease of travelling to neighboring countries is an important aspect to consider. Furthermore, how far you are from your country of origin also determines how often you are able to visit home and how much it costs.

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