Thursday, May 24, 2012

Foreign Student Exchange: The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Are you a high school student who has recently been approached by school staff and given the unique opportunity to study abroad as a participant of a foreign student exchange?  Would it be helpful if you had a bit more information regarding these types of programs and what’s potentially in store for you?  If so, the following article may prove quite useful.  Here we will spend some time discussing the basics of a foreign student exchange, including such topics as attending a foreign school, living with a host family and some of the benefits you’ll reap both personally and educationally as a participant.

Foreign Student Exchange:  The Opportunity of a Lifetime

If you’re like most high school students, the chance to study and live in a foreign country for a year or even a semester is not an opportunity that comes your way very often—if ever.  However, as a participant in a foreign student exchange that’s exactly what you’ll be able to do, and at a much reduced cost when compared to traveling independently.  While many people will have the chance to travel abroad later in life, after they’re settled, few individuals have the unique opportunity to do so when they are still very young, vibrant and adventurous.  Just imagine all the fun you’ll have on this exciting international excursion:  learning a different culture, acquiring valuable language skills and meeting hundreds of new faces, some of whom will become treasured friends with whom you will share a bond for a lifetime.  Only in your high school years will you possess the perfect combination of maturity and adaptability, the spirit and flexibility to truly immerse yourself in a fresh new way of life and absorb all it has to offer.

In a foreign student exchange you will study at a secondary school that may admittedly be very different than your own, but these differences will only augment your overall learning experience, giving you a fresh new perspective on the various ways people learn—a perspective that will enhance your problem-solving and analytical skills.  Of course, the instruction you’ll receive will be in your own language and the courses will count for credit at your home school, but you will also be fully immersed into a novel environment where people, in most cases, speak a different language than your own, which, experts say, is the fastest route to new language acquisition.

As you might expect, the classroom or school portion of a foreign student exchange is enough to make the trip well worth any cost, but there are also many other program components that are equally valuable.  For example, most foreign student exchange programs allow time for several cultural excursions during the course of your stay—field trips in which you’ll travel with other international and local students to visit some of the most significant sites in your host country, providing you the opportunity to taste the local food and mingle with the locals.  From the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Coliseum in Rome to the Great Wall of China, wherever you decide to go as a member of a foreign student exchange you can bet there will be sufficient time to visit some of the country’s most treasured sites.

Finally, there is your host family.  It has been said there is no better classroom than a family home, a place where cultural learning and understanding takes center stage.  As a member of a foreign student exchange you will live with a family who generously donates their time and their home to make your experience a special and unforgettable one.  As most former participants of a foreign student exchange will tell you, these comfortable accommodations serve as a type of second family, a place at which you’ll learn the most about the country and forge the greatest number of friendships.  From weekend trips, in which you can explore your new surroundings, to nightly meals and informative discussions, your host family are the people you can lean on for support as they strive to make your international journey as fun, enlightening and fulfilling as possible.

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