Have you ever dreamed about travelling to another country, plunging into the atmosphere of a new culture and traditions, broadening your horizons and trying something unusual? I guess everybody would say yes. But if you are a student and don’t have enough time or money for this kind of adventure? Don’t get upset! In this case exchange programs come to the rescue. Nowadays a lot of countries open their borders for international students and provide them with different types of programs. In this case you have a chance to combine studying with exploring new country. It is worth trying. You will never regret doing it, because it gives a marvelous opportunity to submerge into the life, customs, and traditions of another country. Being a student in a foreign university is a perfect way to become a part of this new society. These programs provide you not only with a place at the university, but also give you different accommodations to choose. For example, you may stay with a host family, or at the student campus, or sometimes they may even rent a flat for you. Moreover, a lot of activities such as excursions, lectures, meeting with interesting people, are offered to exchange students. There is a great variety of programs to different countries, but all these programs have basic principles which you should know and take into consideration.
Most of these exchange programs have a contest in which you have to take part in order to become a participant. Usually this contest consists of some parts, where you have to show your knowledge of the foreign language, ability to cope with some difficulties and team work. In order to prove your language skills you need to pass the test and usually it is enough if your level is B2. But it’s not the end. Then you will have an interview with the native speaker who will ask you some simple questions such as “What would you do if you got lost?” or “You have an important meeting, but your parents ask you to take your little sister to the doctor. What will be your actions?” and so on. In this case they will have a picture of whether you will be able to adjust to the new environment. And the last part is team work. Probably, the most interesting one as you and some other students will be given tasks to do together so don’t be shy and participate. After you are done with this contest you have to wait for some time until they choose the finalists. And if you are the one of them, then your big adventure begins.
Usually they ask for your preferences - what city you would like to live in or university you would like to study at. But sometimes they choose randomly and you don’t know what place you are coming to. Don’t worry; all these programs have agreements and contracts with the most suitable universities. All these institutions have been checked and got the permission to take international students. When the university has already been chosen, here comes the time to choose where to live. It’s up to you to live alone, with other students or stay with a host family. Of course, the best way to plunge into the atmosphere is the host family. In this case you will experience not only the students’ life, but also you will be the part of this society. By choosing to stay with the host family, you get a chance to see the way of life of this country. Probably the only minus is that you have to obey not only the program’s rules, but also to follow the rules of your host family. Some students stay at the campus which is also a good way to adjust to the new environment. In this case you become more independent and rear self-sufficiency. Only a few students choose to live on their own. It is quite difficult to be alone in another country and in this case it is harder to find new friends and the period of adaptation will be longer.
Studying process may be completely different from the one you have at home. Don’t be afraid, there are some special people who will help you to understand this system and make the adaptation easier. You will have the same rights and responsibilities as the native students. Don’t skip classes, always do your homework, participate in different activities, don’t be late and you won’t have any troubles. Teachers are always ready to help as they know that you are a foreigner. You should study hard in order to have good performance, otherwise you run a risk of being expelled from the program. At the end of the studying year you will take a final test which will show what you have achieved. Then the university will give you a special paper which will prove that you have accomplished one year here. It will be a good addition to your diploma at your home university. This is just some basic information about exchange programs. If you want to know more, just google “international exchange programs for students” and choose the best one for you. Good luck and have fun!