Sending your child abroad to study in a whole new country while they’re still in school may seem like a scary prospect to some parents.
The benefits of the experience, however, largely outweighs the risks.
International student exchanges became popular in the 1960s, intended to increase tolerance and understanding of other cultures.
Typically, an exchange student stays in the host country for a full semester or school year, although it varies from country to country. Some exchange programmes offer academic credit.
More and more parents are seeing the value of sending their children abroad for studies. According to a HSBC study in 2017, 42 percent of parents would consider sending their children abroad for college, a significant increase from the 35 percent recorded in 2016.
Here are some of the major benefits of student exchange programmes for those in their teenage years.
Student exchange programs at TRINS offer broad-based benefits like
acceptance and understanding of an array of different cultural and community
perspectives. #TRINS #ExchangePrograms pic.twitter.com/HtIfShAu5v
— Trins (@Trinschool) February 28, 2018
Several universities and international schools today are emphasising the importance of global exposure and international perpectives.
This is because the world is becoming increasingly multicultural and interconnected, and it will serve the current generation well in the future to be able to communicate with people across all cultures in an international environment.
According to TrainingIndustry.com, “A global mindset is the ability to reflexively adjust to the cultural signals you receive so that your effectiveness isn’t compromised with dealing with people from other backgrounds and styles.”
When kids are exposed to people from other cultures, they also enrich their own perspectives as they learn from people who have different points of view and ways of thinking.
They also develop tolerance and understanding of people who have different cultural perspectives.
Master the English language
The best way to master a language is to speak it with native speakers. For those in countries where English is not the first language, sending your child to study in an English-speaking country can be a great way to improve their English.
As academics in the host country will also be in English medium instruction, they can also improve their written and reading skills.
Do the international student exchange program – Living in another country will build your confidence, develop your cultural sensitivity and help you understand a wide range of life circumstances. @lokshall #STEMStories #USAhttps://t.co/GE5oHsIocC pic.twitter.com/u8mT3l7Y8I
— GeekyGirlReality (@geekyreality) January 9, 2019
When a person is taken out of their comfort zone, they will have to adapt to new surroundings. Although it may be daunting at first, the experience will eventually help them develop self-confidence so they graduate ready to take on academic and professional challenges.
Learning in a new environment also helps. In Western countries like Australia and the US, kids are encouraged to speak up in class, do presentations, and think critically.
Sending a teenager from an Asian country where the school culture is quite different can help them develop essential skills at a faster rate.
Prepares them for university life
📌From Philippines 🇵🇭
“I’ve found that student exchange has been a life changing experience that has made me realise I can do so much more than I ever thought was possible. Confidence, independence, and becoming who I really am”#workandtravel #workandtravelj1 pic.twitter.com/GRMjMe5zWL
— Work and Travel J1 (@workandtravel) November 3, 2018
When a teenager goes abroad to study, they will have to become more independent. Although they will be staying with a host family, they will be expected to clean up after themselves, do their homework, and keep up their grades.
They will also have to adjust to a whole new environment and learn how to make new friends, all which helps them when they need to transition to university life.
As more employers and universities are looking for those who have spent time abroad, the experience will also look great on a college application or CV.