Practice shows that exchange students who participated in foreign exchange programs when studying are in greater demand in the modern labor market than those who were afraid or couldn’t take part in them. Employers highly value young professionals who studied abroad, as such employees are not afraid to experiment, always open to something new, active, and initiative.
And don’t forget that studying abroad is a great way to get to know more about different people and their cultures. You can find out why the French are so obsessed with love, why Germans are so pedantic, why Slavic ladies are so beautiful, learning the myths about Russian brides.
That’s why all students who have the opportunity to take part in a student exchange program shouldn’t miss their chance. We have picked a couple of tips to help you if you finally decided to study abroad.
1) Difficulties of translation
If the only thing that stops you from taking part in the exchange program is uncertainty about your knowledge of a foreign language, you may leave your doubts behind. University lecturers are always loyal to exchange students and ready to lend a helping hand. Moreover, in extreme situations, people learn languages faster. The main thing is to communicate as much as possible with local students, participate in student activities, try to integrate and absorb the new culture. All this will only speed up the process of learning a foreign language.
In an English-speaking country, you have nothing to fear. But if you’re going to study in a country where English is not an official language, it will still be easy enough, because, in Europe, almost everyone speaks decent English. When your adaptation period passes, try to learn the language though.
2) A place to live
Never leave home without making sure that you have a place to live in a country you’re going to. Most often, finding rooms for exchange students is up to the foreign university. For example, in Germany, there are special organizations and societies for student aid, which work closely with universities and help students with housing. The main thing is to apply for a place in the hostel on time and pay for the first month (the university will also help you with this).
3) A bit of bureaucracy
Before leaving, check to see if you have all the necessary documents with you. You need the invitation from the university, then your passport with a visa, and your medical insurance. Maybe you’ll have to confirm your financial security (it will be necessary after you obtain a residence permit if your stay exceeds a 3-month limit). And try to prepare a couple of your photos in advance for a student ID and other papers.
4) Choice of subjects
Before you go abroad, look through the site of a foreign university and your faculty, check out the list of subjects and try to find those you studied at home. In this case, if you pass the examinations abroad, your university can also accept these results. It’s better to choose one or two completely different subjects. Let it be something interesting and unusual for you, say, theatrical art or rhetoric.
5) Preparation for a semester
Sure, it’s difficult to come to a foreign country and immediately begin studying without the knowledge of a foreign language. Therefore, many universities organize intensive language courses for foreign students a month before the beginning of studies. We advise you to attend them. This will help you not only to start speaking a foreign language, but also make some new friends. Of course, you need to pay for courses, but they worth money you spend on them. Also, foreign universities organize so-called orientation weeks for newly arrived exchange students, during which they help newbies to settle bureaucratic issues, get used to the university and the new country in general. Such meetings are usually free of charge.