Everything you know personally and professionally, from your language to the smallest of your habits, is based on the culture where you were born and have lived in for your whole life. Your personality and traits, as well as your life choices, come from experiences shared with people that have crossed your path. Opting for an exchange program is a way of enriching your theoretical and empirical baggage, professionally and emotionally.
If a trip of only a few days is enriching, living for a time in another country offers vast learning experience of the history, the routines, the customs and artistic expressions of another type of society. Beyond one’s personal growth, an exchange will be appreciated in future job interviews, since most businesses seek professionals with multiple life experiences.
This is because, to the interviewers, the fact that the candidate has had an experience in a foreign country represents his ease in adapting to a different environment and his knowledge of a foreign language, besides the natural creativity of one who needs to re-invent himself – with imagination and responsibility – in adverse situations.
Language courses, though very practical – in the sense of conversation – will never surpass the experience of living in a place where everyone speaks another language. Therefore, studying in another country is the quickest and most effective way of dominating a foreign language. Besides that, “surviving” far away from family and friends adds a sense of independence to your other traits in the eyes of the recruiter.
In a personal sense, there is no returning to one’s native country from an exchange program with the same mentality as before. The courage to face the challenges imposed by life in a foreign country transmits more confidence and self-assurance, which facilitates making future decisions. Last, but not least, opting for an exchange program offers the chance of making new friends. During your studies, you’ll meet people from all over the world, whose goals are the same as yours. Therefore, don’t be afraid. No matter how challenging it may seem, the rewards will come in the shape of good memories for the rest of your life.