The Enriching Journey of Exchange Programs

Sending a teenager halfway round the world for an exchange program may seemed like a scary option, but a study by HSBC has shown that more parents are seeing the value in that. In the current landscape, the global exchange of ideas, technologies and talent is increasingly important to master the environmental, social and economic challenges in the world today. Some colleges offer modules on living in a globalized world to educate students on the multiple dimensions and impacts. But perhaps, sending students on an exchange program is a more direct way that provides them with the skills and experience that is second to none!

Here are some benefits of student exchange programs:

Global mindset

As the world becomes more connected and multicultural, communication with people across different cultures in an international environment is an essential skill. During the exchange, students get the opportunity to mingle with the locals who have differing views and thought processes. This creates a new learning environment where individuals develop greater tolerance and understanding for diversified ideologies and viewpoints. Students learn how to reflexively adjust to cultural signals when they are interacting with people from other backgrounds. The exchange program helps them to cultivate a global mindset and enrich their perspectives.

Mastery of the English Language

English is recognized as an official language by 67 countries and 27 non-sovereign entities, with approximately 400 million native speakers worldwide today. It has become a practical skill in our daily lives. One of the best ways to gain mastery of a language is to learn and communicate directly with its native speakers. With that, sending students to a country where English is the native language is a great way to improve their speaking, writing and reading skills.

Preparing for university life and beyond

During the exchange, students are brought out of their comfort zone to explore and adapt to their surroundings. Even though they are being hosted by local families or school campuses, they gain independence and life skills as they are expected to be responsible for their own well-being and academics. With this experience, the transition to university life is likely a much smoother process. It would be easier for the students to adjust in a new environment and make friends with ease. Furthermore, many institutions and employers now look out for applicants who have relevant experiences abroad as an indication of the individual’s independence and capabilities in unfamiliar settings.

Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City International School has launched two student exchange programs – The High School Exchange Program and the 3+1-year Exchange Program. The High School Exchange Program is designed for students completing Grade 10 to attend SSM for their final two years of high school at the founding campus in Minnesota, USA. The latter program is dedicated to Grade 7 students to attend classes at the main institution in Minnesota. Both are excellent opportunities that will aid our students in academic and personal development. In order to qualify, candidates must be in good academic and social standing at the time of exchange. An interview will be conducted by SSM-MN admissions staff to assess the applicants accordingly.

At SSM-FC, we want to ensure that all qualified exchange students get to fully immerse themselves in an American boarding school experience. Our unique exchange programs build strong English language development, promote cultural learning and create a space for all to make life-long friendships with students of varying nationalities. For more information about the student exchange programs, visit