Student exchange programs are a great experience. They would not only let you learn from other people’s culture, language and belief, but it would also look great on your resume. Imagine having them on your CV as you apply for a job later. This would make you stand out. Most of all, you can create lifelong friendships that will stay with you wherever you decide to work later. Not all programs are the same though. Each of them has a purpose and it helps if you understand why you select the program that fits you best.
This is a perfect program if you wish to take more courses overseas which you think are beneficial for you to improve in your chosen field. Usually, universities have partners around the world where they send students to learn more. These are great universities as they won’t just partner with any university without strong credentials. However, if you really want to enroll in a university that is not one of your university’s partners, you can still go ahead. You need to make arrangements personally though. There is also no assurance that the said courses will be credited. Just make sure you arrange it in advance so your university will allow you to push through with the plans.
For study programs, they can last for a semester or an entire year. For internships, there is really no exact length. It can go on for a month or two, but it can be longer depending on the student. Usually, internships are required in every university before allowing students to graduate. You can choose where to do the said internship and going abroad is an option. Whether you conduct university-based internships where you learn more in their lab under the supervision of a professor or you work for a company, it is fine. The point is for you to expand your knowledge and be prepared when starting a career in the future.
These are usually not credited by universities, but this is a perfect way for you to immerse with local cultures. You can stay with a family and learn their ways. There are a lot of families that are willing to accept you. However, you need to ensure your personal safety. Make arrangements in advance so the homestay program is smooth. This should just be for a short period of time, specifically during the break. The goal is to experience local cultures and be away from your family for quite some time. This teaches life lessons.
The length of volunteer programs depend on where you are going and what activities you decide to join. This includes tutorial services for underserved children, building homes in poorer areas, medical missions, and other advocacies that could benefit a lot of people. Poorer countries are usually the target. Universities might be partnered with certain organizations that can help you get on board with this program or you can find one yourself. This is a good way for you to spend your time overseas but also be of help to others.
Choose the right program for you and learn a lot from it. Again, not everything can be learned from the 4 walls of the class. Go out and see the world.
Featured and 1st image by Basak (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
2nd image by tony cassidy from Nottingham, UK (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) or CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons