A student exchange program gives one an opportunity to go abroad and study in the universities which one desired to and couldn’t apply through normal course. Even if it is just for a semester, it forms lifelong memories and gives one experiences to cherish. A few may view it just as “a vacation” but it is much more than that and that is the reason why it forms an integral part of one’s MBA.
You get to meet new people, to learn new ways of life, to experience new methods of pedagogy and to explore a completely unknown zone that pushes you right out of your comfort zone. The prospect pf a foreign country paints a rosy picture (hence the name “mini vacation”) but when you are out there, on your own, all alone in an unknown country with unknown people, it scares you as well as adds thrill to your journey. You may have seen the fancy pictures of your friends and may have gone “gaga” over it but those fancy backgrounds don’t tell you the struggle behind it; adjusting to every little thing out there, their food, the weather, the people, their lifestyle. Language, the time zone and so much more. Despite facing all these challenges, is it worth going for SEP? Definitely yes!
Why should you go for an SEP program?
SEP pushes you right out of our comfort zone and helps you evolve into a better version of yourself. The initial days may prove to be tough but you learn the survival skills. You get to do your own finances (that also in a different currency). You get to learn to communicate with people completely different than ones you have been dealing your whole life. It helps you understand how are you as an individual and instills a new confidence.
The classes there will be different from the ones in your b-school. It will help you get a broader view of how things work around the world. It will change your outlook towards life somehow. The challenges you face, make you more resilient and street smart.
Although, it’s not a “mini vacation” but it does serve every purpose of a vacation ;). You get to view beautiful places and take amazing pictures. You get lifelong experiences and you should not forget to flaunt all those beautiful pictures on the social media :D
What are the pre-requisites when going for SEP?
· Prepare a good Statement of Purpose (SOP)and have strong and valid reasons as to why you want to go for SEP.
· Do proper research on the country you will be visiting and spend good enough time on packing your luggage. It shouldn’t be too heavy but have all the essentials you will need there.
· If you can, take advice from seniors who had gone to those countries and learn from their experiences.
· Don’t leave anything for the last moment. Plan a rough budget beforehand and try to stick to it. It’s always better to book flights with a good time gap to get good rates.
· Always keep a copy (both hard and soft) of each your important document you’d be carrying with you.
· Keep emergency contacts ready at all times. Keep your family and friends updated about your whereabouts.
· Don’t forget to experience the university in the quest of experiencing the country. Have fun!
How to draft a good SOP for SEP?
SOPs are a way of stating your reason for studying abroad in a very tactful way. A good SOP can get you to your dream university.
· Highlight your academics, your achievements and your extra curricular activities to show the university why you are a great fit for them.
· Try to justify what and how you are going to add value to your home and foreign institution with the skillset you already have and the skills you will gain in the foreign university.
· Try to explain why you chose that university for their pedagogy (and not just that it is in a country you wanted to visit :P)
· Be honest with everything you write. You should be able to justify whatever you put on that paper.
· Have a look at various SOPs available online and gain some idea as to how you can draft a good one for yourself.
Does an SEP add to your resume?
Yes, it does. An SEP gives you exposure to international communities and communities. You get to be a part of alumni circle of a reputed foreign university. It reflects your capability of integration and acceptance in an unknown environment.
COVID-19 may have made international travel difficult but let’s just hope everything comes back to normal and we can open our wings to fly to all these beautiful places!
All the best!