Traveling and studying at the same time? Yes! We’re talking about a foreign exchange program—a cross-cultural opportunity like no other! It’s the chance you’ve been waiting for to leave your comfort zone and explore the beauty of the world.
Short-term foreign exchange programs only last about a week to less than six months. This setup is a cheaper option than taking a complete and years-long degree program. Studying abroad short-term is one way to counter homesickness, too!
Opportunities could be limited, though, depending on your school or course. But don’t lose hope! We’re here to share useful tips on how you can find that exchange opportunity in and out of your school! It will be pretty quick and easy, if you know where to go. *wink*
External Relations Office of your school and other schools
Office for External Relations, Office of International Affairs, or Office of International Linkages—it depends on what you call it in your school but they’re all the same.
These offices handle partnerships with foreign universities and facilitate student exchange programs. All you have to do is inquire, submit the requirements, and pass the interview! How cool is that?
No need to worry if you’re school doesn’t have one, you can still join an exchange program by searching for websites and even Facebook pages of those schools who have exchange opportunities. There are opportunities open to students regardless of school!
You’ve probably seen this org during your university recruitment fair. AIESEC is a non-profit youth-run organization that provides young people with leadership development, cross-cultural global internships, and volunteer exchange experiences. Apply through their website! You could also join the AIESEC org in your university!
Their exchange programs are driven by Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aim to empower young people like you to take action and create an impact around different parts of the world. You can teach children, volunteer in a wildlife center, raise environmental awareness, and more!
NYC offers various exchange programs for the Filipino youth. Their programs promote a friendly relationship with other countries and encourage our understanding of each other’s culture. If you’re passionate about learning world cultures and history, and are also deeply acquainted with our own culture in the Philippines, this might be the exchange opportunity for you! Make sure to check the requirements to apply!
There are also private non-government organizations that are on the lookout for promising young people who excel in academics and leadership like the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. This exchange program aims to “recruit participants from underrepresented, non-elite backgrounds, who have not had other opportunities to study in the United States.”
You can also apply at AFS Philippines, a global intercultural education organization to “develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.” Explore your passion and purpose all at once!
Former student exchange participants
Finally, do you know someone who recently participated as an exchange student? Ask them! They will definitely be more than willing to share you their stories and experiences plus tips if you pursue your application!
Bonus tip: Look for testimonials of exchange participants in the websites or Facebook pages you’ll visit. Try to connect with these students via email or Messenger (or in person!) to know more about student exchange opportunities!
Participating in an exchange program is a life-changing experience. The opportunity will take you to places you’ve never been before and let you brave the world on your own. Along the way, you will meet different people and build lasting friendships! The best part is learning from your adventures and misadventures as a wide-eyed exchange student who can share these stories once you get home.