Students who travel overseas on foreign exchange programs come back changed drastically. The experience allows improving foreign language skills, discovering new cultures, builds your portfolio and allows getting knowledge away from the classroom environment. Travel abroad is enriching that you come back a mature person. It is a good thing to take the plunge and go abroad. However, your stay benefits the host country as well.
How Foreign Exchange Students Benefit The Host Country
Supporting the Local Economy
When you go to another country as an exchange student, you play a significant role in boosting the economy. This is true from the time when planning your visit throughout your stay. Obtaining a student visa costs money which is income to the host income. Additionally, you come with foreign currency that you exchange during your stay in the country. This boosts the foreign exchange market. On arrival in a new country, the temptation is usually high to buy souvenirs to take back home.
Additionally, you buy items for use during your stay such as local SIM cards and personal items. All these support the local economy tremendously. Apart from spending on lodging and other commodities, you are likely to spend on a few luxuries such as eating out in fancy restaurants. These have an international cuisine to include favorites from way back home. You are likely to frequent these until you get a local dish you like. All these expenses significantly boost the local economy.
When making up your mind on how to be a foreign exchange student , opting for cultural exchange is a great idea. Landing in a new location with people brings you face to face with a strange culture. After overcoming the cultural shock, the locals are likely to become interested in discovering your culture.
Understanding a new culture comes with various benefits including:
- Developing a better understanding of the world
- Eliminates stereotyping
- Allows overcoming racial and ethnic divisions
- Boosts effective communication
- Exposes you to new experience
By the time you leave at the end of your program, you will have played a part in creating international cultural interaction in the host country.
Improving People’s Lives
Traveling to another country as an exchange student is not solely for learning. Taking the plunge to board a plane to another country is an opportunity to engage in various extra-curricular activities. This is very exciting for everyone. A wonderful idea is to consider involving yourself in volunteering opportunities in the local community.
You can spend time in local slums, teach English to local youths, or help clean the environment. Volunteering contributes to improving the lives of the local people while giving insight into people’s private lives. Other benefits of volunteering during a summer abroad program include:
- Building a strong bond with other volunteers
- Learning teamwork
- Allows having fun
- Development of team management skills
Encouraging International Connections
Building friendships and connections is a wonderful idea. And, it becomes even better when you make connections in other countries. An opportunity to go abroad as an exchange student allows making new connections. As a foreign student, everyone in the local community including students, teachers, and citizens will become interested in you.
You can share new ideas from your home country with the locals as you also learn something new from them. This exchange of ideas is a wonderful way to build international connections with significant benefits including:
- Instills a sense of empathy in the world
- Widens circle of friends
- Creates an opportunity to learn a new culture firsthand
- Exposure to new experiences
- Inspires future study and travel experiences
Increasing Social and Cultural Diversity
The presence of international students in local universities enhances cultural and social diversity on the campuses. This enriches the learning environment and research while helping local students to develop skills relevant to the international market. Foreign exchange students also introduce new ideas for research and expertise in local universities strengthening international collaborations.
Encourages Development in Local Communities
Communities that usually host foreign exchange students experience immense growth in the short run. A community is more like to face various developments if it hosts foreign exchange students regularly. Various new businesses such as fast-food chains are likely to grow to target foreign students.
Trying to live like locals is a wonderful idea but you can always go to a fast-food chain and grab your favorite snack that you know from home. An influx of foreign students inspires creativity in the local people to cash in on the presence of foreign students.
Becoming a foreign exchange student will have a significant impact on your career and personal development. Equally important is to understand that your presence here will have significant benefits on the host country in general.
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