5 Reasons Why You Should Try a Student Exchange Program

A large number of Indian students travel abroad every year for higher education in a foreign country. According to data available with the World Education News & Reviews (WENR), there were close to 100,000 student-visa holding Indians in the United States of America, clearly one of the most preferred destinations for higher education, in 2012-13.

The UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, China, and Germany are other countries that see an influx of Indian students in large numbers every year.

If there is one thing clear from this, it’s the fact that the exposure and experience offered by foreign education is high up on the priority list of a lot of Indian students. But is enrolling full time in a foreign university the only way to get that exposure?

The answer is no. There are many schools, colleges, and universities in India that offer their students a chance to experience life in a foreign country for a short duration of time through what are known as student exchange programs.

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For the uninitiated, a student exchange program is a program in which students from an educational institution travel to a foreign country as a student of their institution’s partner institution in the host country. It needs to be understood that the student who travels abroad on this program may or may not be required to study at the foreign university or school.

These student exchange programs have become a global trend of sorts and educational institutions in India have been quick to latch on. Many colleges, B-schools, and private universities in India have established student exchange programs by forming alliances with educational institutions in other countries to give their students a chance to travel abroad.

If you are a prospective student in India, here are five reasons why you should try a student exchange program:

1. Study abroad at a fraction of the cost: The low cost of student exchange programs is perhaps their most attractive feature. Studying abroad typically costs thousands of dollars and is beyond the economic means of many Indian students. However, students can get the experience of studying and living in a foreign country at the fraction of that cost when they travel overseas on a student exchange program.

2. Get exposure to alternative ways of learning: Every country has its own way of instructing students. When a student from a particular country travels abroad, they are exposed to alternative approaches to learning, something that they are likely to carry back to their home country and share with their peers. The exposure, thus, not only enhances their own learning experience, but also of their fellow students back home.

3. Gateway to personal development: There is nothing like living on your own, away from home and from the protective gaze of your parents, in a foreign country for personal development. The experience will lead to improved self-confidence and self-esteem. It will also improve the students’ decision making and independent thinking skills not to mention enhance their understanding and acceptance of different cultures and perspectives. Staying abroad, even if it’s just for a semester or two, will give students a world view in the true sense of the term.

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4. Prepare for the global economy: The increasingly shrinking business world is forever on the lookout for professionals who understand the global economy and are able to function in it.

Since most university students who travel abroad on student exchange programs are on the brink of entering the job market, the experience of studying/living overseas prepares them to work in the global economy. They have a better understanding of the international market forces and are much better equipped to solve global challenges at their workplace.

5. Form life-long bonds: A lot of student exchange programs require students to stay with a local family in the host country. This helps students understand and appreciate the culture and way of life of the host country, turning them into global citizens. The experience of integrating into a foreign way of life comes in handy should they ever decide to work or settle abroad. Moreover, living in such close proximity with a set of people and being on the receiving end of their warmth and hospitality helps students forge life-long bonds with them.

For someone to have a life-altering experience at such a young age is nothing short of good fortune. Luckily, the experience is well within your reach if only you choose to study at the right school. AIMS Institutes, one of India’s premier private universities, offers several international programs aimed at globally-informed development of its students. With a student exchange program, the journey to a truly unique and rewarding experience awaits you!

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