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What is a "student exchange program"?Previous Next
A student exchange program is a program in which students from a secondary school or university study abroad at one of their institution's partner institutions.
A student exchange program may involve international travel, but does not necessarily require the student to study outside of his or her home country. For example, the National Student Exchange program (NSE) offers placements throughout the United States and Canada.
Foreign exchange programs provides students with an opportunity to study in a different country and environment experiencing the history and culture of another country.
The term "exchange" means that a partner institution accepts a student, but does not necessarily mean that the students have to find a counterpart from the other institution with whom to exchange. Exchange students live with a host family or in a designated place such as a hostel, an apartment, or a student lodging. Costs for the program vary by the country and institution. Participants fund their participation via scholarships, loans, or self-funding.
Student exchanges became popular after World War II, and are intended to increase the participants' understanding and tolerance of other cultures, as well as improving their language skills and broadening their social horizons. Student exchanges also increased further after the end of the Cold War. An exchange student typically stays in the host country for a period of 6 to 10 months. International students or those on study abroad programs may stay in the host country for several years. Some exchange programs also offer academic credit.