Student exchange can be considered a revolutionary concept, which has its roots in 1930s and 1940s. It emerged as a radical approach towards building world peace between culturally diverse groups and worldviews while achieving various educational objectives pertaining to different student exchange programs.
In the beginning, exchange students were expected to live and learn in a different country for at least a year being hosted by a local family consented to host such exchange students. The experience of living with a family, which has different social values, cultural beliefs, knowledge and worldviews, makes the student re-think and try to integrate their own beliefs, viewpoints and attitudes to suit the unfamiliar context while gaining the intended academic knowledge or designated skills. This would require the exchange student to learn the local language, be familiar with the local traditions and local beliefs, identify the values and attitudes of people whom he or she associate with and apply the learning and the newfound skills to establish an identity for him or herself within the mixed social context.
Gaining such knowledge would enable exchange students to view problems and issues using many different approaches, which are acceptable and rational in different contexts. Thus, it will better equip these students when they deal with culturally diverse groups and different viewpoints in the future while taking a unbiased stance towards any one cultural context when it comes to building world peace, socio-cultural integration and trust.
In order to achieve the intended goals of exchange student programs, each student must immerse him or herself in the sea of values, beliefs and viewpoints using a language that allows unhindered communication with each human element of the newfound socio-cultural context. Unless the students gains mastery in the local language, they would not be able to communicate in a manner, which allows them to immerse in the societal practices and rituals. Thus, the opportunity to learn a different language and make use of the same to gain a cultural identity is a great benefit of any exchange program although students should be given adequate time to establish themselves before calling the exchange program a success.
Observing and studying different approaches towards solving similar problems could also be a valuable lesson for exchange students while it will also allow the students to become more analytical and resourceful in problem solving and decision making following a stint as a exchange student.
The ability to think globally in a broader social context is another advantage gained through culturally diverse student exchange programs which enables students to develop interest with regard to issues that not only affects the student and his or her familiar surrounding but also to other human beings and societies as a whole.
In addition, being an exchange student would also enable the development of personal skills such as self-esteem, self-confidence, maturity and social poise, personal sensitivity, teamwork, group dynamics and building lasting friendships, which will definitely help any person to become successful in a world that increasingly require such qualities in its future generations.