10 Reasons for a Salesianum Student to Participate in a Foreign Exchange

  1. Develop deeper awareness of what it means to be Salesian. Spending time in an Oblate school in another country helps you experience first hand that you are part of a bigger Salesian community. You will learn new ways of living your Salesian spirituality in an educational environment, as well as having the opportunity to share your lived experience of Salesian spirituality as gained from your time at Salesianum School.
  2. Provides an optimal way to enhance language skills. There is no better and more effective way to learn a language than to be immersed in a culture that speaks the language you are learning, even if it is only for a two week period. You're surrounded by the language on a daily basis and are seeing and hearing it in the proper cultural context. Language learning happens most quickly under these circumstances. If you have no prior experience of the language being spoken in the host country, you will benefit by learning common words and phrases. Additionally, you learn the value of communicating in other ways then just speaking. As St. Francis de Sales says, “Lips speak to ears, but hearts speak to hearts.”
  3. Get to know another culture first-hand. Cultural differences are more than just differences in language, food, appearances, and personal habits. A person's culture reflects very deep perceptions, faith, beliefs, and values that influence his or her way of life and the way that s/he views the world. You will experience cultural differences personally and come to truly understand where other cultures are coming from.
  4. Develop skills and gain experiences a classroom setting will never provide. Being immersed in an entirely new cultural setting can be scary at first, but it's also exciting. It's an opportunity to discover new strengths and abilities, conquer new challenges, and solve new problems. You will encounter situations that are wholly unfamiliar and will learn to adapt and respond in effective ways.
  5. Affords the opportunity to make friends around the world. You will meet not only your host student and family, but you will meet other students from the Oblate school you are visiting. You are also likely to meet a variety of people in your travels around town and throughout the country during the exchange.
  6. Helps you to learn about yourself. Students who participate in the exchange program return home with new ideas and perspectives about themselves and their own culture. The experience abroad often challenges them to reconsider their own beliefs and values. The experience may help strengthen your values or it may cause you to alter or abandon them and embrace new concepts and perceptions. The encounter with other cultures enables you to see your own culture through new eyes.
  7. Expands your worldview. In comparison with citizens of most other countries, Americans tend to be uninformed about the world beyond the nation's boundaries. You will return home with an informed and much less biased perspective toward other cultures and peoples.
  8. Gives you the opportunity to break out of your routine. Going on a foreign exchange will be unlike anything you are doing now in school. You will become familiar with a new Oblate school and the different ways of educating students, which as usually very different from the American approach. It's also a great opportunity to break out the monotony of your routine and to try something exciting and new.
  9. Enhances college opportunities. The world continues to become more globalized and colleges are interested in having students who are open to a broader world view. Through the eyes of a college admissions officer, a student who has studied abroad is self-motivated, independent, willing to embrace challenges, and able to cope with diverse problems and situations. Your experience of participating in a foreign exchange, negotiating another culture, and acquiring language skills will all set you apart from other college applicants.
  10. Acquire a lifetime of benefits!  It seems that those who have participated in exchanges have gained so many rounding experiences and skills that their lives are positively and profoundly altered forever.  You will come home a changed person.