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Student Exchange Programs Beneficial for All Parties

Leila Garrett, Business Manager

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Art by Josie Krupens

   Student exchange programs have more to offer than just fawning over new kids with cool accents. Not only would a student exchange program provide UC High educational benefits, it would bring social and personal benefits as well, helping to expand students’ cultural knowledge.

   In our own personal ways, we are all trapped in our own worlds and often overlook or ignore modern global issues. According to World Education Program, an educational benefit of student exchange is the opportunity to expand general world knowledge and increase interest in global events (wep.org). This would be the perfect chance to channel our humanitarian side at UC High and find out what is going in other parts of the world through direct communication.

   Although an exchange program could begin with language barriers, the acquisition of culture is achieved through authentic interactions. The Youth for Understanding, an intercultural exchange program, website states, “Students achieve fluency in a new language, make lifelong friendships, and gain appreciation of host country and culture” (yfuusa.org). This impacts not only local students but the exchange students as well, giving both parties the chance to build lasting, beneficial relationships. These relationships would help break down cultural barriers and stereotypes and improve the school environment.

   Hosting exchange students at UC High would substantially increase our knowledge of cultures that differ from our own. According to Youth for Understanding, students from abroad can give insight into their culture that students can’t learn from textbooks and they can share their experiences in a way that would help shape our understanding of their different lifestyles (yfuusa.org). Nothing can beat personal experiences, especially when it comes to something as unique as culture.

   “The world today is constantly mixing cultures, and it would be cool if we could bring that to our school,” expressed Sophomore Victor Fugere. “I’m from Canada, and even though it borders America, I can clearly see the differences in cultures. It would be cool if we could host exchange students from different corners of the world and build our cultural understanding,” he stated.

   The possibilities and opportunities gained from an exchange program appear to be endless and positive. With benefits ranging from educational to social to personal, UC High shouldn’t pass up these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and should instead begin hosting exchange students again.

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Student Exchange Programs Beneficial for All Parties