If you wanted to study abroad, you could do it in more ways than one. Yes, the traditional international university application is the more common route to experience learning in a foreign land.
However, there are other avenues to get a taste of the foreign culture in parallel with education, as well. These are the lesser known, but nevertheless long standing, avenues of international education through Student Exchange Programs.
Student Exchange Programs are usually short-term programs lasting a summer, a semester, or sometimes even a whole year, where students travel abroad to study in a host country, while still being enrolled in their native country.
Unlike the other traditional degree abroad courses, all credits earned in these exchange programs are ultimately transferred towards the completion of the degree in your home country. Though this largely depends on whether your university is partnered with a foreign one, or whether you are seeking a degree course, as you will find out later in this blog.
In this article, we will discuss the why, where, and how to engage in these short-term international exposure programs.
The answer is simple. Such programs provide a window to life as an international student, living independently in a culture unlike your own. These are available to not only university level students, but also high-school students, or working professionals, who want a global experience.
Besides the obvious, there are a few other advantages.
There are three main aspects to choosing to study abroad in an exchange program. You should have a clear motivation before committing yourself to the time and cost associated. Here are a few reasons why.
International student exchange programs are not necessarily sponsored, or linked, via your enrolled university. Here are a few common ways to access an opportunity abroad. We have listed them below.
The advantage of such an exchange arrangement is that the student most likely ends up paying the usual tuition fees of his native university. The rest of the costs are usually taken care of by the program itself.
The application is generally handled as per the student exchange rules whereby both the host and the home universities agree upon an arrangement for the student. Upon clearing some documentations, the host university sends over papers required to apply for a short-term exchange visa. In USA, this is usually the J-1 Exchange Visa.
It is also possible to apply directly to the foreign university exchange program, in the event that your native university is not a partner with any international university. The funding, in such a case, has to be arranged by the student or by any form of financial aid provided by the host university.
Here are some examples of Universities, across the globe, participating in International Student Exchange, not necessarily in fully funded or credit earning programs.
|University College London (UK)||Kyushu University (Japan)||Brown University (USA)|
|CUHK (China)||Butler University (USA)||New York University (USA)|
|University of Texas Austin (USA)||Yale University (USA)||University of Alberta (Canada)|
For a few more in USA, refer to US News’ study abroad list here.
You can also avail of independent government schemes, or private organizations, that arrange for students to receive a short-term international education. These are either sponsored, as in the case of government aided programs, or may require self-financing to burden the costs.
You can explore your options, here too, but be advised that not all of them necessarily count towards a degree. In fact, quite a few are aimed at some form of professional or non-degree training.
Make sure you are aware of the commitment, given that it may either take time away from your native degree schedule, or from your busy professional regiment.
Here is a representative list of government or private exchange programs.
|International Student Exchange Programs (ISEP)||Fullbright Visitor Scholar Program||Fullbright Foreign Student Program|
|H.H.Humphrey Fellowship Program for non-degree graduate study||Global Undergraduate Exchange Program (Global UGRAD)||IES Abroad|
It is hard to summarize costs of all countries in one bracket. However, it can be roughly estimated to be in the range of $3,000 to $8,000 for one semester, including airfare, program fees, rent, and other miscellaneous costs. That being the average, some high end involved programs can even go in the range of $20,000.
Now, these numbers obviously vary on what program you choose, accommodations you are provided, how meagerly you want to live, and of course which country you choose to exchange study in.
As mentioned before, most university exchange programs are designed such that you are expected to only pay for the home university tuition, which is usually within your expected budget. Often such exchange programs include a small stipend or scholarship for the period of stay.
These schemes are subjective to the partner universities and the program.Even if your university doesn’t partner with foreign universities for exchange studies, it may have internal scholarships. Those are best reserved for your independent research into such facilities.
The best way to explore scholarships is to look into native or host country government financial help schemes, or independent scholarships provided by private organizations. Independent organizations arrange for scholarships based on financial need and/or merit. Though absolutely not exhaustive, the scholarships below show a range of available funding options.
Here are a few examples of exchange programs by popular field.
|Engineering||Vanderbilt School of Engineering – International Exchange||NUS Engineering – Student Exchange||University of Michigan – Exchange Programs||ISEP’s list of Engineering Abroad Programs|
|Architecture||TU Delft Architecture and the Built Environment Exchange Program||The University of Sheffield Study Abroad Program||University of Hong Kong –International Student Exchange Program||University of Washington – International Study Program|
|Medical||New York Medical College International Exchange Program||Johns Hopkins Medicine – Exchange Programs||Asian Medical Student’s Exchange Program (AMSEP)||American Medical Student Association (AMSA) – International Exchanges|
|Law||American Bar Association – International Legal Exchange Program (ILEX)||NYU Law – JD Students Exchange Program||National Law School of India University Bangalore – Student Exchange Program||Queen’s University Law – International Exchanges|
|Business||SDA Bocconi MBA Exchange Program||Northwestern Kellogg MBA Exchange Program||Chicago Booth – International Business Exchange Program||USC Marshall – International Exchange Program|
There are a multitude of options to explore for International Student Exchange Programs.It is recommended though that you research the pool thoroughly for the most reliable program pertaining to your situation. After all, if it clicks you will see far more than a teaser of life and education abroad.
A great international experience can steer your goals to possibilities that you may otherwise not be aware of from the comforts of your native land. On the other hand, a namesake program, with no credible benefits may end up being an exercise in futility, too hard on your finances and too frivolous for your time.