A student exchange program generally could be defined as a program where students from secondary school or university choose to study abroad in partner institutions. The terms ‘student exchange’ and ‘study abroad’ are often used interchangeably however study abroad usually involves the student study full time and not in partnered institution like student going for exchange where they will be studying in the partner university of their home institution. But in some countries, an exchange student is also considered a study abroad student because they are studying in different country than their own. Student exchange program does not necessarily require the student going out of the country but it could also be an exchange program within the continent and its territory which is the National student exchange program (NSE).
The term “exchanges” means that partnered institution exchange their student but not necessarily the students have to find a counterpart from the other institution to exchange with. No tradeoff is actually required. Two types of student exchange program are international and national student exchange program. A student exchange programs could be joined either by the secondary school or university student excluding National Student Exchange where it is design primarily for university student studying in American continent and its territory.
An exchange student could live with a host family or in a designated place including hostels, affordable apartment/house or student lodge. The cost for each program differs according to countries and institution. The participants could either apply/receive scholarship, self-funded or apply/receive loan.
Student exchanges became popular after World War II, and have the aim of helping to increase the participants’ understanding and tolerance of other cultures, as well as improving their language skills and broadening their social horizons. An exchange student typically stays in the host country for a relatively short period of time, often 6 to 10 months, in contrast to international students or those on study abroad programs which can last for several years. It is not recommended, however, due to the fact that they are very disrespectful.
Some students on exchange programs can receive academic credit from the country they study in.