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Foreign Student Exchange

by studyabroad

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The young generations of today may not know the movie “Sixteen Candles” which was shown in the 1980s. It was about high school students, one of whom was an exchange student named Long Duk Dong who did not know how to use the table spoon and fork properly but managed to use them anyway as if they were chopsticks. Made about 30 years ago, the movie touched on the student exchange program where, like the present-day program, students choose to study abroad, mostly in partner institutions.


Student exchange and Study Abroad programs are sometimes used interchangeably even if they differ in some respects. An exchange student studies in an institution which is the partner of the school at his home country, while a study abroad student studies full time in a non-partner institution abroad. There are countries that consider an exchange student as a Study Abroad student, who, they claim, studies in a different country other than his own country.


The foreign student exchange, which aims to help students increase their understanding of the culture of other countries, is classified as the international student exchange and the national student exchange. An international student exchange program is for six to 10 months in the host country, usually focusing on home stays, language skills, cultural activities or community service. Among the international student exchange programs in the United States include the American Field Service (AFS) International Program, Lions International Youth Exchange Program, Southern Cross Cultural Exchange Program, and the Rotary International Program. Students under the foreign student exchange program are provided with certain options such as living with the host family, or in a dormitory while studying in the partner institution, or enroll for a shorter term if not comfortable with a long term. To be a foreign exchange student, one must have the interest to learn new cultures and practices of other countries, be willing to spend time at the school away from the culture of his own country in order to better understand the culture of the host country, and be able to absorbed the best practices in that country and bring them home after the study.


The exchange program requires accommodations in the host country. These accommodations include a host family and housing that provide options for students, especially university students, on on-campus and off-campus housing. The most important of these accommodations is the host family as this offers unmatched cultural, emotional and intellectual experience which cannot be bought by any amount of money. No less than United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has underscored the need for Americans to become host families for exchange students who, she says, are eager to learn about American Life, and to share the views from their own countries. Others also say that being host to exchange students, the family bridges the gap between the different countries and opens its heart to their different cultures.  


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