Benefits of Participating in a High School Exchange Program
For many students participating in high school exchange programs can provide an incredible and valuable learning experience that helps to inform their world-view for years to come. Students who participate in an exchange attend either a private or public school, stay with a host family, and often participate in fun and educational extracurricular activities. The benefits of participating in a foreign exchange go beyond just having a fun adventure and meeting some new friends, though. Many participating students report that their exchange programs helped to inform their world-views and change their lives for the better even years after their returns.
Students interested in improving their foreign language abilities often find these types of programs particularly beneficial, as they are given an opportunity to practice using their second languages in a real-world setting. Most exchange programs taught in countries whose native languages are not English require students to have at least two years of formal study and consistently high grades in order to be eligible. Proving basic language proficiency helps to ensure that any students chosen for the exchange will be in a position to get the most out of their experiences. It will also help to ensure their safety abroad, as living for any period of time in a foreign country requires at least a basic understanding of local languages and cultures.
Not only will students participating in an exchange improve their existing language skills, but they will also gain immense perspective from living with host families and befriending students at their host school. This will encourage them to take more of an interest in global issues and help encourage the development the attitudes of cultural acceptance and the problem solving skills so sorely needed in today's world.
In addition to providing a valuable learning opportunity for the students themselves exchange programs also help to foster communication between members of different societies and general cultural exchange. In today's world this is helpful not just in informing individuals' world-views but also in helping to create more acceptance of cultural differences. The personal perspective these students gain can, and often does, go on to influence other students and family members well after they have returned from the program.
Nacel International runs many exchange programs in different countries for high-school age students. Some programs are run in English, while others are intended to help students learn other languages. Their Costa Rica exchange programs helps students improve their Spanish while learning about the country's fascinating history and culture. Interested students or parents can check them out online at http://www.nacel.org/high-school-programs/costa-rica.