An International Student Exchange Program is a study curriculum for students wherein they can attend classes at an International Institute, which may or may not be in a tie-up with their Alma mater, for six months to a year.

The US, Australia, the UK, China, Canada, New Zealand and Germany are some nations that see a large influx of Indian pupils annually. The one thing is clear from all this is the fact that the access and knowledge that international schooling provides are high on the priority list of a lot of Indian students. 

Is the only way to get that access is to study full-time at an international university?

The response to that is no. There are several schools, colleges and universities in India that provide their students the opportunity to experience life in a foreign country through what is known as Student Exchange Programs.

For the uninitiated,in a student exchange program, students from an academic entity travel to a foreign country as part of their institution’s host country affiliate.

The students on this curriculum, may or may not be mandated to study at the college or school overseas.

Other than being a life-enriching experience, these exchange programs also provide one with a head-start to achieve their future goals.

The students will remain independent, strengthen their language skills and grow a global perspective on a variety of worldly issues.

Even though these Exchange Programs for students last usually a school year, but they are certainly the opportunity of a lifetime.

What are Student Exchange Programs?

They say you don’t start living unless you step out of your comfort zone. One may feel that in their own state, hometown or college, they have a lot to discover and experience in life.

But how will they get to know all the exciting things about living in another country if they’re not willing to step out of their comfort zone?

Student exchange programs are one of the easiest ways to experience international education without having to spend a lot of time away from home.

These youth exchange programs are different from the usual forms of studying abroad. For some time, they may entail international travel and research, but do not necessarily require the student to live outside their home country.

What are the Types of Exchange Programs for Students?

  • Short-Term Exchange Programs

A short-term exchange runs from one week to three months and does not mandate students to study at any college or institution in particular. Students are subjected to an intensive course which will improve their knowledge of other cultures, societies and languages.

Often recognized as a summer/intensive or cultural exchange program,these concentrate on housing, language skills, service to the community, and cultural activities.

High school and university students may apply to different government or non-governmental organizations coordinating the applications for the programs.

  • Long-term Exchange Programs

A long-term exchange is one that takes six to ten months or one full year to complete. Participants, in their host countries attend high school or college through a student visa. Usually, a J-1 cultural exchange visa or a F-1 foreign student visa is issued to guest students coming to the United States. 

It is hoped that students will integrate into the host family and immerse themselves in the local community and surroundings. They are required to integrate this information into their daily lives upon their return to their home country, as well as to give their sponsors a briefing on their experience.

Many exchange programs, at least at an elementary level, expect students to be able to speak the language of the host country. Several programs require students to complete a standardized test for English language comprehension before being accepted into a program that takes them to the U.S.

Some programs do not analyze the capacity of speech. Within a few months, many exchange students are proficient in the host country’s language.

The Benefits of Student Exchange Programs

  1. Study Overseas at a Fraction of the Price 

    Their most attractive feature is the low cost of student exchange programs. Going to university abroad normally costs a fortune which goes beyond most Indian students’ economic means.

    However, students can gain the experience of studying and living in a foreign country at a tiny fraction of the cost when traveling internationally on a student exchange program.

  2. Exposure to Innovative Learning Methods

    Every nation has its own way of teaching its pupils. When a student from a specific country goes overseas, they are introduced to alternative educational methods, something they are likely to bring back to their native country to exchange with their peers.
    The exposure however, improves not just their own educational process, but also that of their classmates back home.

  3. Stepping Stone to Personal Growth

    There’s nothing quite like living by oneself in a foreign country for self improvement, away from family and friends.The learning will lead to increased self-esteem and self-confidence. It will further strengthen the decision-making skills and critical thinking skills of students, not to mention their understanding and appreciation of various cultures and landscapes.

    Staying overseas, even for a short duration, would give students a world view, in the true sense of the term.

  4. Plan for the World Economy

    The rapidly diminishing business world is always searching for people who know and can work in the global economy.

    As most university students traveling abroad on student exchange programs are on the verge of entering the workforce, they are prepared to work in the global economy by their experience overseas.

    They have a clear grasp of the global market dynamics and are far better trained to address global problems at their workplaces.

  5. Create Life-Long Bonds

    Many programs necessitate students to live in the host nation with a foster family. This helps students appreciate and understand the host country’s culture and heritage, creating global citizens.If they ever decide to work and move overseas, the experience of moving into a new way of life comes in handy.

    In fact, living so close to a set of people while being on the receiving end of their hospitality and kindness helps students develop life-long relationships with them.

How do these Student Exchange Programs work?

Whether they’re in university, college or just starting their career, the right exchange program will improve their self-confidence and skills set, letting them develop a better understanding of the various dynamics of the world around them.

Even if their Alma mater is not in a tie-up with any international institutions, one can still apply for student exchange programs as there are many agencies that offer them.

They will need to contact a student exchange company to get started with an exchange program and search for the services they offer.

Apply for an exchange program at a school or university, the exchange company will help them find a host family in the host country. Volunteers from the exchange company will work with them and help them move into the new environment. 

How to become an Exchange Student?

Students can find a lot of exchange companies that place them in different nations. Seeking support from a reputable agency with a proven track record is important. One should review the qualifications for enrollment and certification, and the length of the course before they even contemplate applying for it. They should also consider the overall cost and also pursue international student grants to make their studies more viable abroad.

What are the costs of  Program for Indian students?

The expense of international student exchange programs is determined, as appropriate, by the student exchange program entity or their respective school or university.

The price of Indian student exchange programs often varies depending on the host country, study period, and other factors. There are services that can offer scholarships to international students to cover travel and lodging costs, and other requirements.

Some of these programs are:- 

1. The Fulbright-Nehru Program


The Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships are planned for exceptional Indians to complete a master’s degree program at chosen U.S. colleges and universities in the fields of Arts and Culture Management, including  Economics; Heritage Conservation and Museum Studies; International Legal Studies; Public Health; Higher Education Administration; Urban and Regional Planning; International Affairs; Environmental Science / Studies; Public Administration and Women’s Studies/Gender Studies.

Such fellowships are for highly driven individuals who exhibit leadership potential; have completed a U.S. bachelor’s degree equivalent; have at least three years of formal work experience, and are committed to returning and contributing to their communities. The fellowships are one to two years in duration.

Grant Benefits

The following benefits are provided along with the fellowship:

  • Round trip economy class air travel to the host establishment in the U.S. from fellow’s home town
  • J-1 Visa aid 
  • Tuition and fees funding
  • Housing and related costs; and 
  • Coverage for injuries/accident and illness as per U.S. Government Guidelines.

 * No financial support for dependents is provided by the Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships.

  * USIEF grants might not cover the full cost, and the researcher might need to add additional assets to the grant benefits.

Eligibility Requirements

Other than the General Prerequisites, the applicants must/should:

  • have finished with an equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree, with at least 55 percent marks from an accredited Indian college. Applicants must either have a four-year bachelor’s degree or a concluded master’s degree if the bachelor’s degree was less than four years; 
  • have at least three full-time (paid) experience in the field related to your desired field of study within the application deadline; 
  • exhibit leadership and community service skills;
  • not hold any degree from a U.S. institution or be enrolled in a U.S. graduate program; 
  • and if you are working, make sure to follow the employer’s endorsement instructions carefully. If required, please receive the approval of the FNMasters Employer’s Endorsement Form from the relevant regulatory body. The manager should state that for the duration of the fellowship, a leave will be issued.

Click here to read more about their eligible fields of study, amongst other things.

 

2.  AFS Intercultural Programs

 

AFS Intercultural Programs is a global, non-governmental, voluntary, non-profit organization that promotes opportunities for cross cultural education to help individuals acquire the expertise, skills and knowledge they need to build an equitable and peaceful world.

Vision 2020: To be the prominent cross-cultural educational organization for experiences focusing on expanding its undeserved programs.

AFS creates committed citizens of the world who intervene where they reside, learn, work and volunteer to make a positive impact. Their international research, training and volunteering services enable people of all ages ; identities with critical intercultural knowledge, competencies and comprehension. We believe that global competence is central to building fair, equitable and peaceful societies, as a prominent non-profit global educational organization.

More than 1000 students from India have been sent by AFS Intercultural Programs India on different year-long and short-term programs. There are numerous high school students, teachers, mentors and respected academics among our sending partners.

AFS India sponsored 500 plus members in different locations on various year-long and short-term programs.

Through working with AFS you can: 

  • Collaborate with seasoned mentors and find creative approaches 
  • Take on daunting personal growth scenarios 
  • Polish valuable skills and gain an upper hand in school or work 
  • Practice to become a cross cultural interaction facilitator Know how to make informed decisions and resolve issues
  • Acquire leadership abilities that you will use forever

Click here to read more about their program. 

 

3. International Student Exchange Programs(ISEP)

ISEP is a non-profit academic community that helps students transcend the monetary and intellectual barriers to study abroad. It has now become one of the world’s leading networks of studying overseas.

As a trusted educational community, they help students overcome the financial and academic barriers to study abroad. They are able to connect students with high-quality, academic programs at more than 300 universities in over 50 countries!

They advocate that nobody should be hindered from being able to learn overseas ;irrespective of educational background, geographic location or economic background.

 

How it works

In their affiliate organisations, they immediately enroll students in classrooms.They appreciate the true experience that can only come from residing and studying with the residents. This broadens educational awareness as students partake in a course that is interpreted from different perspectives from their home country.

In addition, they provide students with access to affordable, high-quality programs by using existing academic resources at universities. In return, it helps to develop culturally sensitive skill sets needed for today’s global workforce.

Click here to find an appropriate program for you at ISEP.

Being on an exchange program is undoubtedly the experience of a lifetime, and that too at such a young age! Luckily, this life-altering experience is now well within your reach. You will return home equipped with new knowledge, social empathy, insight, and friends from a new country. Go on and apply now! An exclusively unique and fruitful adventure awaits you!

Before signing up for student exchange programs…

Where would you like to study abroad? Would you like to live in an emerging or an industrialized country? Would you like to go to a country where English is the native tongue or do you feel more adventurous? How long will you study abroad? How long would you like to stay there? Would you like to earn transferable credit while you’re abroad?

Find out why you should study abroad !

(Article contributed by Rishika Singh, Graphics by Anulipi Debnath for Precisely)

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