An exciting opportunity open to many undergraduate students is the chance to participate in an exchange program, in which a student can study at a different institution as part of their degree. Typically, students will use this opportunity to study abroad; to learn about their subject in a different setting and to become familiar with a different culture.
Exchange programs provide a great chance to live and study in another country as part of a structured program. But how do you decide which one is the right fit for you?
Since we know how important it is for you to find a high quality exchange program, we are happy to publish a piece of advice from STUDYPUNK, a platform for students that helps you find top Bachelor’s programs around the world, which was created by INOMICS, our partner.
Location, Location, Location
One of the biggest issues to consider when thinking about studying in Asia is where you would like to stay. Consider not only the country that you would like to visit, but also the specific region. Are you a fan of big, bustling cities? Or would you prefer to be some where less populated, maybe close to a beach? Would you like to be in a cosmopolitan place, surrounded by people from all over the world, or would you prefer to be somewhere more homogeneous with a strong shared culture?
Naturally, you need to think about language issues too. Do you speak the local language well enough to get by in your day-to-day life, or will you need to learn the language before you go? In most Asian countries you’ll get by with English, but learning the local language will help in your daily life!
Short or long term?
The next big issue to consider is the length of time which you would like to spend abroad. Short-term programs tend to run for a few weeks to three months, often over the summer break. They allow you to have the experiences of studying abroad, without interrupting or changing the schedule of your regular learning. However, don’t assume that such a short-term program will be easy, or not require any work! Often short-term programs are the most study intensive, as all the materials must be compressed into a small number of hours. Typically such short-term programs focus on teaching you about the local language and/or culture, rather than focusing on your specific field of study.
A long-term exchange, on the other hand, typically lasts for one or two semesters, and includes teaching from a local university which forms a part of your degree. This means that you get the true local’s experience of attending university in your host country, and gain a different perspective on your subject. This is a much greater commitment than a summer-only program, and will come with its own challenges such as making friends in an unfamiliar setting. In this case, it’s vital for you to consider the reputation of your host university. Is the university and department well-regarded, within both your host and home countries? Do your research to ensure that you know what kind of teaching to expect from your stay abroad.
Finally, it is important to consider how you will pay for the expenses of your study abroad program. You will need to be ready to cover your travel expenses, insurance, accommodation costs, living costs, and in some cases university fees too. Find out if you are entitled to any study grants, or support from your government or home university, or if you would qualify for any scholarship programs.
Hopefully you’re now ready to go out and find the ideal exchange program for you!
We also invite you to join STUDYPUNK to find your dream study program matching your discipline and preferred location. Subscribe to STUDYPUNK email alert here, receive fully customizable updates and never miss an application deadline again!
This post was shared on Asia Exchange blog on behalf of Inomics and STUDYPUNK.