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Study Abroad or Student Exchange Program – Which way should you go?



I came across the concept of the student exchange program when I was in my 12th grade. I was already very much equipped with the notion of studying abroad. The student exchange program was something that I had recently discovered and thought was quite an amusing concept. Therefore, I went ahead and researched/enquired about both these topics as much as I could. Shortly after, I made a list that helped me understand which one bared the potential for me. Here’s what I gathered about the student exchange program and studying abroad.

Also, stay tuned to know which of the experiences I ended up choosing for me.

Since it’s better to understand these concepts separately – I will briefly write about their role and procedure, first. And later proceed to differentiate them based on the investment, duration, and motive – so that you can understand which one holds more potential for you (feasibility, perks, purpose, and interest wise)


Let’s begin with,

The Student Exchange Program

The student exchange program is about interchanging places with another student who is currently studying at the university that your university/institute has partnered with. The student exchange program is usually about 6 months or 1 year worth of time. In which students visit/study their exchange partner’s university and equip themselves with an experience worth telling. Long term and short term student exchange program are the also options you can opt to choose.

How to apply for the student exchange program?


You will have to get in touch with the department dealing with the student exchange applications and let them know about what exact experience you are looking to gain. According to your supplied information which also includes academic performance, they will send out the applications to their partner university. The partner university will then decide if you are the right candidate the university is looking to swap their student with.

Study Abroad

As many of us know, studying abroad means applying to a university situated in another country. Here, a student is accepted in a university from another country where one can learn, live, study and even apply for a job. Studying abroad usually last for about 6 months up to 5 years.

How to apply for studying abroad?

The process of applying to study abroad is pretty straight forward. You will have to list down the country, universities and also gather the mentioned documents for studying in your desired university. I was looking for study abroad assistance during my application procedure – simple and easy to understand articles on India Education page solved most of the queries I had. Here are my top recommended articles for study abroad aspirants –

How to apply for student loan

How to apply in universities of United Kingdom

How to apply in universities of Germany

Attention! Mistakes to Avoid on Your Student Application

How to choose the right college while studying abroad

There’s a possibility that you might think one is more decisive than the other or end up being convinced by both of these ideas. I wouldn’t disagree, both of these options are pretty convincing. Anyway, it’s best to draw yourself to one decision. That is exactly where we are heading to – differentiating and choosing the one that holds the most potential for you!

The Student Exchange Program

  • With student exchange program you will exchange places with another student
  • Duration – 6 months to 1 year
  • Any undergraduate or postgraduate student is applicable to apply for this program. Some exchange programs are subject specific
  • Your graduation will be delayed by a semester or two
  • Accommodation, tuition fee, travel tickets, and visa will be taken care of by the host university. Extra expenses such as lifestyle must be taken care of by you
  • Your university will take care of your documents and the rest of your education/class schedule

Choose the student exchange program if,

  • You are independent and have what it takes to manage your lifestyle in a shorter period of time
  • You have a fixed budget for your education
  • You are looking to get a fresh perspective about a subject
  • You want to interact with local students
  • You are looking for a reasonably shorter stay in a foreign country

Study Abroad Program

  • With study abroad program you will become the student of a foreign university
  • Duration – 6 months to 5 years
  • Any student willing to study abroad can apply for the courses
  • You will responsible to take care of your accommodation, tuition fee, exam fee, food, travel and lifestyle expenses

Choose the Study Abroad Program if,

  • You want to get a degree from a globally recognized university
  • You are looking to improve and grow your skills and qualities
  • You are ready to invest in your future
  • You want to work and settle abroad
  • You are looking to study a specific subject

I personally felt that the study abroad program was the one for me – because it had the potential of gradually learning and getting equipped with a better education system, which was something I wanted. However, if you are looking for to get an idea about the education system in a foreign country in a shorter period of time – The student exchange program is one for you.

The below-mentioned parameters helped me make my decision I hope it helps you too –

What is my learning objective and where should I pursue?

Decide based on what exactly you are looking forward to gaining from this foreign trip. It could experience, a specific subject, a degree, a dream job, etc.

For example, I wanted to learn about the foreign education system and the get a degree in my subject of interest (media and communications) therefore, a country like the USA and UK is a perfect fit for it.

Can I afford to participate in the program?

It is one of the top questions I had when I thought of going abroad. Finances can be a tough decision to make therefore discuss with your parents or sponsors and figure out the amount you can spend based on which you can make the decision.

Also, you can always apply for student loans that tend to cover 75% of the education expenses, which is kind of a great deal.

Do I have the qualifications to opt for the program?


I gave my entrance as soon as I had made my decision to study overseas. So, if you are planning to apply for either of the programs make sure you are wholly equipped with the necessary documents you require to apply for the program.

I reached to some of my friends and family who were studying overseas – getting in touch with a student can ease out your procedure. In the case of the student exchange program, the university handling the applications are always open to questions. Don’t hesitate to ask whatever questions you got in your mind.


Will applying for this program benefit me?


Last but not least, research or get yourselves equipped with the technique that works the best for you on finding out the purpose behind applying for the program. My aim to go abroad was to study, improve, experience and work in a foreign country. If you already have your motive in place, you are doing great!

That’s about it! I hope by now you have made your decision or at least are halfway done making the right decision. Whichever one it is, I can assure as an expat – that this experience is worth giving a try. After all, you might not know where it can lead you to. Good luck!

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