By Lach Dalina
“…..leading a life in a whole new world without having given any assistance from family members will also help students develop personally in terms of their self awareness, maturity and confidence.”
WHAT is outgoing study exchange? Outgoing study exchange or study abroad is the programme that enables students to continue their study abroad in a set period of time. Why should students join outgoing study exchange? Students should join this program because it aims at providing exchange students with high quality educational experiences by exposing them to different cultures and learning environments overseas. It is also aimed at promoting international friendship and introducing them to other systems of higher learning that are competitive and challenging. Students can get lots of benefits from this program. However, students may simultaneously encounter difficulties during their study.
Studying abroad serves as a window to extend students’ cultural horizons, so as a door-opening for students to mingle with others, coming from different socio-cultural backgrounds. It will not only broaden students’ academic knowledge, but it will also endow students with new perspectives about the scope of their study. In other words, students’ academic sphere has been intensified, for they are able to explore different subjects within the same field of their study, as well as, experience a new classroom environment, teaching and learning environment in particular. Additionally, leading a life in a whole new world without having given any assistance from family members will also help students develop personally in terms of their self awareness, maturity and confidence.
More importantly, studying abroad will enhance student’s employability, giving them a more competitive edge and setting them apart from other graduates in the job market. A recent survey by i-Graduate, an independent research organization, showed that around 60% of the country’s top employers indicate that experience of international study enhances employability.
Of course, studying abroad will enable students to develop their language skills amongst native speakers. Again, research shows being able to speak a foreign language will not only help them being hired, but they generally get a higher salary, comparing to other local graduates.
Beside those benefits, students will also face some difficulties during their study. Culture shock is the most challenging issue for international students. In the west, greeting may be hugging, kissing, or hand shaking. But, such everyday greeting manner in the west may embarrass the Asian students, especially the females. In some Asian countries–Islamic-practiced countries specially– touching hands is taboo, let alone hugging and kissing in public. Aside from cultural differences, food and environment, especially weather are of challenge to the international students. For example, rice is a staple food for most Asian people. But, in the western countries like America, bread is. This consequently leads to a huge dietary adjustment to be made. Those students may need sometimes to adapt to those kinds of food, and also the cold weather if they were to come from tropical countries.
In conclusion, outgoing study exchange is both of beneficial and challenged to students. However, benefits outweigh the challenges, if compared. Personally, students are strongly encouraged to apply for an outgoing study exchange since they can improve their life in terms of language skill development, degree attainment, and some other aspects related to self improvement like gaining self awareness, maturation, and confidence.