Student exchanges: The pros and cons

Exchange programmes are a fantastic way for students to immerse themselves in new cultures, make new friends and generally gain invaluable life experience. However some parents are wary of sending their youngsters away to a new home where they can’t keep a watchful eye on them around the clock. To help you decide whether or not a student exchange programme is right for your child we’ve put together a list of the key pros and cons.


  • Teaches independence – When children are plucked out of their comfort zones and thrown into a brand new environment they’re forced to learn the art of independence. While student exchange programmes don’t leave children to fend for themselves they do teach kids to be proactive, conscientious and autonomous.
  • Fosters new friendships – Student exchange programmes are a fantastic way for kids to form new friendships with fellow pupils who may live on the other side of the country, or even the other side of the world.
  • Allows children to experience a new culture – Whether you’re sending your child to a different county or an entirely different country, student exchange programmes are a wonderful way for them to experience a new culture. They’ll return with an enriched understanding of how other people live, and will also learn how to respect and communicate with people who may not share the same lifestyle as themselves.


  • Can be distracting – Parents are often concerned that sending kids away on student exchange programmes will distract them from their schooling. This isn’t an unjust anxiety as the upheaval from home, family and friends can often throw students off when it comes to their studies.
  • Is often expensive – While some student exchange programmes are more or less free, others can be very expensive. If there are airfares and student board involved costs can quickly skyrocket.
  • Children may lack support – Many parents worry that when living away from home children won’t receive the support and assistance that they need, be it educational or emotional.

At the end of the day most students return from exchange programmes with nothing but positive experiences. The key is to take the time to choose a suitable school, secure a supportive host family and ensure that your child is 100% ready to take on the responsibility of living away from home. Thinking about timing is also an important part of ensuring that your child enjoys a positive experience. Programmes range in length and can be anything from a few weeks to several months or even a full year for older students.


What Are The Benefits of Extra-Curricular Activities?

For many parents, choosing a school comes down to things like examination results and academic standards. And while academics are an integral part of education for children, a well-rounded education can involve more playful components – like extra-curricular activities.

Whether they’re boosting their fitness by joining a sporting team, or sharpening their mental edge with a chess club or a debate team, after-school activities can round out the academic careers of talented students and give them a range of skills they might not pick up in the classroom. Here are some of the benefits of extra-curricular activities:

Children learn about commitment

Taking up an extra-curricular involves a lot of commitment. Whether it’s learning to play the violin or joining the school tennis club, children will need to give up their free time to attend regular sessions, as well as keeping certain dates free for things like examinations or competitions. Responsibility is also a key factor here – if a child is the lead violin in the orchestra, or a defender in the school football team, other children will be relying on them to show up and play their part.

Benefits of socialising

Socialising in school is very different from socialising outside of it. When joining after-school clubs or teams, children find themselves in an environment where they might have to communicate with older pupils, or forge relationships with new members to strengthen the team. Children also reap the benefits of spending time with other children with the same hobby as them – they can get together out of school to practice, and develop a wider circle of friends.

Raised self-esteem

Some children find school a struggle because of the pressure on academic achievement. If they’re not achieving to the same level as their peers, it can have a negative effect on their self-esteem. But finding a hobby that they love and excel at can give them that extra boost they need – it can ensure they look forward to going to school, and the positive outlook can even spill over into their academic approach.

Educational benefits

It’s been proven that children involved in musical or theatrical activities (school choirs, plays or orchestras, for example) often exhibit increased academic performance, as well as a higher ability to think creatively, and enhanced memory skills. Children involved in sporting activities generally have stronger social networks than children who don’t, as well as having an increased sense of self-worth and a higher likelihood of completing high school successfully. Extra-curricular activities can provide just as many educational benefits as classes themselves – and they should always be a consideration when you’re choosing a school for your child.

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