Essay on Benefits Of Student Exchange Programs

990 Words4 Pages
An exchange student is a student that leaves his/her country for a foreign one for a year, where she/he usually learns a new language and experiences a new culture. Nowadays, there are more than 35 international exchange programs from which very many high school students benefit. For instance, each year, almost 13000 students travel on American Field Service Intercultural Programs between 65 countries (AFS, 2011). Unfortunately, the number of students who go on exchange is still relatively low, even if the benefits they receive are big. Because the age of 15-18 is the perfect period of time for going on an exchange [1], students discover a new culture and develop themselves [2], adults can have a new experience by taking a student…show more content…
Consequently, students do not have to focus too much on their studies while being abroad; they can focus more on their personal growth. Furthermore, through exchange programs students develop themselves, thus contributing to society from an earlier age. Most people don’t think about self-development until they experience a life-changing event — something that shakes them up and changes their perspective. An exchange year is such a one-in-a-lifetime experience that prepares young people for their responsibilities and opportunities in a changing, interdependent world. They experience the first culture shock when arriving in the host country and the second one when arriving back to their home countries. These shocks make youngsters more sociable, confident, adaptive, independent, flexible and definitely more tolerant. Besides, discovering a new culture also implies discovering more about their own culture and about themselves. Fortunately, all previously mentioned effects are long-lasting. An AFS long-term impact study showed that, 20-25 years after their experience abroad, AFS program alumni are more likely to be fluent in foreign languages, have higher education levels and be more comfortable in different cultural settings, both professional and personal, than their peers who did not have a secondary school intercultural sojourn experience (AFS, 2008). For instance, Catherine Coleman, an AFS alumni, is a former United States Air
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