Studying abroad can change a college student's life for the better, and fortunately, these college programs exist at colleges and universities across the U.S. Good foreign exchange college student programs offer interested students programs which immerse them in new languages and cultures and allow them to further investigate academic passions, often while people-watching at coffee shops in exotic locales.
Despite the rising demand for workers who can speak another language and have extensive intercultural competencies, most U.S. college students do not explore study abroad opportunities. Foreign exchange students coming into the United States to study outnumber American students going abroad. Incoming international students equal about 2.7 percent of students at U.S. institutions of higher learning, whereas their American counterparts only equal about one percent. Many U.S. students cite lack of money or knowledge about studying abroad as their reasons. However, a trip to their school's international office can reveal sources of finances as well as study options that may alleviate some of these issues. (ref1,2)
According to the Campus Explorer, the International Student Exchange Program enjoys the reputation of being the first international student exchange program. This global program offers foreign exchange programs through a number of universities across the United States and gives college students from 300 member universities around the world access to study abroad programs in 50 countries. Its goals are to allow students to integrate into their host school as much as their language skills and the length of their study abroad program allows, to acquire a better understanding of international matters and to deepen their intercultural and personal competencies. (ref3,4,5)
The University Studies Abroad Consortium brings 30 years of experience to studies abroad. The parameters of this program align with the foreign exchange college student programs criteria that students should look for; this includes allowing students to acquire a foreign language and learn about new cultures by living in them as well as providing students with a university placement. Housing is available through the program. USAC has 41 programs in 26 countries. According to the program's website, college co-eds from 700 colleges and universities have studied through USAC during its 30-year history. (ref3,4,6)
The American Institute For Foreign Study brings something extra to the international study abroad table. While this program can connect students with foreign exchange college student programs, it offers so much more. For those not in school, but who would like to experience living in a foreign culture, the program also has exchange programs for au pairs, gifted programs and camp counseling exchanges. It has offered international programs for over 40 years and has global offices in six countries. (ref3,4,7)
Buffy Naillon has worked in the media industry since 1999, contributing to Germany's "Der Spiegel" magazine and various websites. She received a bachelor's degree in German from Boise State University. Naillon also attended New York University and participated in the foreign exchange program at Germany's Saarland University. She is completing her master's degree in educational technology at Boise State.