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.