Student Exchange Programs, academic programs that give students the opportunity to study in a foreign country. Student exchange programs are offered through schools, educational foundations, and private organizations. Most students who participate in exchange programs do so during their junior year of college or during the summer between their sophomore and junior years. Exchange programs are also available for high school students, graduate students, and adult students.
Students who participate in exchange programs often gain command of a foreign language and expand their understanding of other cultures. For many students, an exchange program provides their first experience with independent living. Students who participate in exchange programs generally stay in dormitories or in the homes of host families while in the foreign country. Students who stay in homes have the added benefit of experiencing the day-to-day activities of a host family while pursuing their studies.
Most American colleges and universities accept academic credit for student exchange participation. Many offer their own study-abroad programs, often with courses taught by regular members of the institution’s faculty. Students can also find programs through American colleges or universities located in foreign counties. These institutions are structured like schools in the United States and generally offer classes in English. Some foreign universities also offer special courses for international students that focus on the language, history, and culture of the host country. Credit for these courses can sometimes be difficult to transfer to a student’s home college or university.
A large number of organizations in the United States offer programs for American students to study abroad. Some of the most notable include the Institute of International Education (IIE), which conducts the Fulbright program for students at the pre- and post-doctoral level; consortiums of colleges and universities, such as the Great Lakes College Association and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest; and the Council on International Educational Exchange, which offers programs for high school students and adults.