Pros and Cons of Joining an Exchange Program
Students can experience learning in certain institutions in different countries by joining an exchange program. An exchange program is usually conducted by governments to reach a goal of having students with new and more open knowledge. They are expected to learn new things and bring greater impacts when they are back in their home country. Exchange programs are also held by certain non-government institutions that have an interest to contribute in conducting self-developing activities for students.
Joining an exchange program can give you knowledge, experience, and new points of view, despite all of the drawbacks. Being an exchange student offers you an exposure to new knowledge and experience that you will only get by joining an exchange program. This knowledge can be obtained through many ways, such as learning foreign languages and ways of living from various cultures, especially the ones you are newly-exposed to in your exchanging country. These countries also conduct school systems that may be better than what we are having right now, and another way to obtain new knowledge is to learn things from these school systems. Traveling to new places and adapting in new environment also give you chances to explore yourself.
You get to know who you really are, your strengths and weaknesses, and also your limits in life. Life values can also be learned throughout the process, such as friendship, tolerance, and teamwork. By being an exchange student, you can have new points of view from the “side” you haven’t experienced before. All this time, you may have thought that you were great enough. But, by joining an exchange program, you will be able to see that the world is a big place. You get to meet people that are much smarter than you, also people that do things that are much better than what you did.
You also learn to not take stereotypes seriously. There are so many stereotypes about certain nations that we become so judgmental to believe them. This trait of judging is often applied in not tolerating differences that we often see in the world with a very diverse culture. By being exposed to cultures that are more diverse, you get to understand what people do and why they do these things. You don’t get to judge people easily in such narrow minds.
However, an exchange student can also experience drawbacks. Exchange students should be apart from their family and friends that are a half world apart, and sometimes, for a long period of time. Also, for some people, getting out of comfort zone and missing their families may bring difficulties and suffering. Besides that, some people can also experience corruption of values. Exchange students are usually exposed to new cultures they will often find interesting.
They will get so excited that sometimes they don’t filter out these cultures. Not all of these cultures have ways of living that are suitable for themselves, specifically, the values they originally have from their homes. If exchange students don’t pick out what’s suitable for them and what’s not, they will be badly influenced by these cultures. Overall, when you are able to overcome the drawbacks, great advantages will be experienced. In my opinion, when you have difficulties in adapting, all you have to do is be patient while enhancing the way you socialize.
Because, as time flies, you will eventually find your own way to socialize better. Great friendship will be made with your new friends. This friendship can make new experiences you will find exciting. Also, phones were invented to ease your way in communicating. Make calls and text your parents and friends regularly to relieve the feeling of homesickness.
To prevent corruption of values, you have to own strong moral beliefs in order to not get influenced by values that are not suitable to your moral beliefs. By overcoming the drawbacks in these ways, you will have an advantageous exchange experience that brings improvement to your personality.