Julieta, a former YFU exchange student and current YFU volunteer, writes about the role that the exchange experience plays in complementing school learning and in offering a unique opportunity for personal development.
Her reflection starts from recognising that school alone is no longer able to fulfill people’s education needs. This is where the exchange programme comes in, offering something beyond formal education, thus adding “real-world learning” and promoting the development of pupils’ attitudes and skills, in addition to subject knowledge.
By changing environment, pupils develop self-confidence and positive attitudes when facing challenges, overcome boredom, learn to express themselves with and despite cultural differences (also thanks to a new language!)
Julieta thinks that exchange students become change makers, critical thinkers, mediators and so many more things. The exchange experience can be truly transformative: it opens up possibilities for both the exchange students and their entourages (host families, classmates, and friends) about travelling, discovering, and even following up their education in other places.