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How To Study Abroad As An International Exchange Student

A student exchange program is a program where students from a 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 their home country. Signing up for an exchange student program abroad will change your life by exposing you to a different environment and different cultures at an early age in your life. Exchange schemes have a number of advantages, one of them their generally low costs. 

Because students are exchanged between one partner university and another, costs such as tuition fees, health insurance and student housing may be paid by the student’s university before travelling, making the cost almost the same as a normal academic session.

Exchange schemes are administered over varying lengths of time, with one-semester program being the most popular. During the period of exchange, students attend class and fulfil all other academic requirements of the host institution and bring a transcript of their performance back to their home university on completion of the exchange. 

In today’s post we share with you How To Study Abroad As An International Exchange Student. If you are new to these posts, welcome. We aim for all-round education of young Africans. Consider joining 20000+ others in subscribing to AfterSchoolAfrica on Youtube to continue exploring opportunities and watching videos like this one below:

WATCH: Top 10 International Student Exchange Programs!

Let’s begin…

1.     Do your research

First things first, where do you want to study abroad? Do you want to study in an industrialized or developing country? Do you want to go to schools where English is the native language or are you feeling more adventurous? How long do you want to study abroad? Two weeks, a semester, or a whole year? Do you want to earn transferable credit during your time abroad?  These are all questions you must answer before you make a decision. If you’ve never traveled alone before, maybe you should check out how much support each programme offers. If they offer help in your native language or help with visas and offer orientation before and during the programme. You should also confirm that they are easy to get hold of incase of an emergency and if the program has good ratings.

2.     Choose a foreign exchange programme

There are many exchange programs out there. Look at the web page for Council On Standards For International Educational Travel (CSIET) to get a reputable list. Programs are organized based upon a commitment to universally accepted higher standards. A few to consider are Rotary Youth For Understanding, and International Cultural Exchange services. The European Union’s Erasmus student mobility program is another example of this kind of programme, with the added bonus that travelling students are provided with small travel and living grants to facilitate their period away. It is important that you choose the right exchange program that meets all the criteria for a valid exchange program.

3.     Identify your ideal host country

While some programs make no promises about the exchange destination, it’s still worth selecting the country you’d like to visit. Isolating the country can help prepare you for the various paperwork, financial obligations, educational requirements, and language hurdles.

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4.     Register and apply for your desired program

After you have made all these researches and decided on what program you want, it is now time to apply. Generally applying for foreign exchange programs are not difficult. Most student exchange programs require basic information like name, sex, desired country, age, address, phone number, email, and nearest international airport. There may also be a deadline for your submission. There are usually two semesters; a Fall semester and a Spring semester. The deadline for application for the Fall semester is usually April while for the Spring Semester, it is usually October. Information on an exchange programme can always be found on the programme’s website or social media pages.

5.     You need to provide language proficiency scores

 Most application processes will require some form of proof that you’re capable of basic communication in your future host country. In some countries, there may be a general language certification. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a worldwide recognized test that measures English proficiency and is widely accepted. You could also submit an IELTS score instead.

6.     Check your Eligibility

Each international college sets their own admissions requirements and may have minimum grade averages or language levels that applicants must meet. You can find academic requirements on each of the program pages, and the eligibility section of the programme you choose will make sure that you are eligible to apply for the programs you have selected. If you do not meet a program’s minimum requirements, you will need to remove it from your application.

7.     Apply for a passport and visa

You need an international passport if you will be travelling outside your country. Most countries you go to will require a visa. It may also depend on your country of origin and its political affiliation with a potential host country. You’ll need to view a government-sponsored website that lists specific requirements when visiting foreign countries. Be aware that some countries require submission of paperwork or travel to their specific consulate in order to receive appropriate passport and visa stamps. Note that some countries have visa requirements based upon the length of time you intend to stay in their country.

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8.     Submit supporting Documents

Many programs require information that supplements your language proficiency. Aside from proving you have the appropriate passport and visa, you may also have to provide an additional passport photo, your scholastic transcripts, and a curriculum vitae (CV) among other documents.

9.     It is advisable to apply to an institution affiliated to your university

This will help you save costs as you will only pay tuition fees equivalent to the one you pay in your home country. Your home country institution could also help you with the application process and foot additional costs you may incur.

10.Participate in Orientation

Most programs have an orientation before you leave. It may be at the business location or at your home. Afterwards, a follow-up orientation is often conducted once you arrive at your host country. Both orientations are beneficial for the final details and questions that make everything function smoothly.

That’s it for studying abroad as an international exchange student. Have you studied abroad as an international exchange student? Have been on an international exchange programme before? Please share your experience in the comment section below.  If you found this video helpful, thumb up and share with someone. If you are yet to subscribe to the After School Africa channel, now is a good time to do that. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!

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