When you meet someone who's been an exchange student during college or university, they will surely speak well of their experience. In fact, they might try to convince you to grab such an opportunity as soon as you get it. They mostly talk about having fun, so you assume that studying abroad is all about partying.
Maybe you'll hear some terrifying things, such as this student getting lost in a huge city and having no one to help.
Experiences are important. Before you decide to enter a college abroad, you have to know what to expect. However, some of the testimonials might not be that close to the reality you are going to face. When you're hearing something from someone who knows someone who's been studying abroad, you're probably being subjected to myths.
You don't want myths to make you take the wrong decision, do you? So let's bust them! Here are the 5 most common myths about being an exchange student abroad:
1. It's Almost Impossible to Get a Scholarship for This
This is one of the most common myths about spending a year as an exchange student abroad: the experience will drain you out of your budget. People have a perception that exchange programs are only for rich students, who don't have a problem to pay the tuition and all costs related to traveling and living abroad. But that's a huge myth.
Your studies abroad can be really affordable. In fact, it may turn out for this year of studies to cost less than a year at your home campus. And yes; you can get a scholarship.
Martina Smith, a writer for ResumesPlanet, explains: "Most schools have programs for study-abroad scholarships. They are usually available for merit or even as awards. People often think that they cannot get a scholarship for their year of studies abroad, but these programs are more common than they assume. My writing service has helped hundreds of students to write scholarship essays for such programs."
2. You Won't Graduate on Time
"Oh, man; going abroad is great! You'll have so much fun and you'll meet so many new people. But do you know you'll have to delay your graduation? I heard this guy had trouble transferring credit. I guess it's better to just take a year off after graduation for travel… that would be simpler."
This is a really common perception of exchange studies. But guess what: it's just a myth. Yes; you will get credit for the courses you take at a foreign university. If you do your research, that is! You can always get informed if the credits for a particular course can be transferred, so you won't be faced with unpleasant surprises.
In fact, if you approach this challenge from the right angle, it will reinforce your interest in academics. You will learn a lot not only from the books and programs but from the experience as well.
3. It's All about Partying
Many people confuse the study-abroad experience with simple traveling. They believe that if they get such an opportunity, all they will do is explore the destination, socialize, and go to all parties they hear of. That's really far from the truth.
In fact, being an exchange student is all about learning, studying, and developing valuable skills. You'll probably have to write a lot, and you'll need to take language courses. Yes; the experience should be fun. However, it's mostly about learning, and that's a good thing. You're a student, after all!
4. You'll Lose the Connection with Your Friends at the Home Campus
You'll be spending an entire year abroad. That may sound scary, and it triggers the fear of missing out. All your friends at the campus will keep bonding and partying. New relationships and friendships will form, and you'll miss out on all of that. When you get back, you'll feel totally disconnected and you'll spend the remaining part of your studies in partial isolation.
Wait; that's a myth! You're present on social media, right? You use Skype and other video communication services, right? You'll be on track with everything that occurs with your friends and family back home. You'll be able to share your own experience, which will deepen the bond even further. Although you won't be physically present, you'll keep the connection alive.
5. You Could Just Travel after Graduation; It's the Same Thing
So you really want to see England and you decided to apply for a student exchange program in a British university? Some of the people you know may try to convince you that it's the wrong thing to do. You'll be away from home for an entire year, without the support of your friends and family. You'll have to study a lot, and you'll have to shift your learning style to fit the standards of the specific university. "You can always travel after you graduate," – they say. "Independent travel will offer the same experience."
This is another myth. No; independent travel does not offer the same experience. When you're a tourist, you have a very limited time and you won't get to see everything you want to see. When you're part of a student exchange program, you'll be practically living in the country of your choice. You will become part of its culture and you'll experience it to a level that a tourist could never reach.
Yes; you'll still be traveling throughout the country, just as a tourist would. However, the studies will add a whole new dimension to this experience.
Don't say no to an exchange program just because other people's misconceptions influence your decision. Do your own research before you decide! Being an exchange program may not be for you, and that's okay. However, it may also be the best experience of your life, and you don't want the myths to deprive you of it!