Why You Should Say Yes to that SEA Exchange Program

Image from Fred Moon on Unsplash

Exchange programs often look like a semester in Paris, but have you ever considered studying in Southeast Asia? Between the region’s unique event space Singapore and its tasty Asian street food, there are many reasons why you should consider taking your extra units in the region instead. 

Whether you’ve been heavily considering doing a SEA exchange program or have only entertained it now, this list is made for you. There are many reasons why you should take the leap and join that SEA exchange program and here are why!

  1. Make New Friends!

Image from Ali Muhamad on Unsplash

If you’re an extrovert, going on an exchange program anywhere can be a big way to make friends. Taking this a step further—a big bonus in pursuing your studies in Southeast Asia is that the region is known for their friendliness and hospitality. 

Whether you are in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, and more, you are sure to make acquaintances that will show you the ways of their culture. Moreover, you do not need to worry because there will also surely encounter other people new to the region as well. 

(Banding with these newbies is definitely also an option, but don’t forget to challenge your social battery too! Talk to locals and old students. It’s worth it, we promise.)

  1. Explore New Styles of Education!

Image from Akson on Unsplash

While you will not be sent to a curriculum that does not match your university’s, studying in the Southeast Asian region will surely unlock new methods of learning for you as well. 

For example, while many countries struggled to adapt distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, this method of learning has been present in SEA for quite some time. It was used to reach far-flung communities with limited internet connection and low access to computers. Thus, distance learning is done with much more style and experience in SEA. 

If you’re an aspiring teacher as well, methods of learning, training, and teaching in SEA may be a big help to you. The region is certainly big on respect for their elders and championing the values of resiliency. You might be surprised at what new things you’ll learn about yourself as you explore the values and methods of SEA and more. 

It’s also worth mentioning that Southeast Asia is home to many specialized fields of study like Development Communication, Religion, and Advanced Southeast Asian Studies. Why not receive the best education possible when you can, right?

  1. Travel to More Countries!

Image from Silver Ringvee on Unsplash

Southeast Asia is a very economical region to travel in. Plane tickets and the cost of living are generally cheap (except in the business district of a country, Singapore), so it is no problem backpacking across the region. 

Of course, your first priority is always to study. However, in your downtime, what kind of student will you be if you’re not open to new experiences? Take the travel opportunities that come with studying in Southeast Asia. Not only will you learn new cultures, but you’ll come back richer in life points and stories you can share with friends and family back home!

  1. Learn New Languages!

Image from Norbert Braun on Unsplash

There are thousands of languages around Southeast Asia. The diversity of the region is simply its strongest suit—and you have the chance to play their cards! 

If you are a linguist or aspire to learn as many languages as you can, traveling to Southeast Asia will be a dream. Pairing the region’s unique hospitality and their plethora of languages, you will pick up on new languages in no time. Should you be worried of faltering in a country’s language—don’t worry! Most of the region can understand and speak English fairly well, so be free to make as many (or as little, hopefully) mistakes as you want. Southeast Asians won’t judge. 😉

  1. Helps You Adjust to New Environments!

Image from Andreea Popa on Unsplash

It can be daunting traveling in Southeast Asia. Studying in the region can add a layer to its intimidating aura, especially if you’re a student coming from a vastly different background. 

However, exchange programs are a way of pushing you out of your comfort zone. They are a way to show you that you are capable of adapting and adjusting to new people and cultures—showing you your power to live your life how you want it—which are things that come in handy when you get back home. 

Sure, you may not stay in the region for good. You will go home to your home country eventually. Still, it is a big plus to have a period in your life where you know you made an effort to learn more about an “other.” 

  1. Find Out More Employment Opportunities!

Image from Medienstürmer on Unsplash

As mentioned above, Southeast Asia is home to many unique fields of study and cultures. When melded together, this creates many employment opportunities for rookies and professionals alike. 

If you’re the type of person who craves new challenges and opportunities, studying in Southeast Asia will be a gateway to many. From building your own start-up in Singapore to exploring the rich history of Cambodia, there are diverse options for you in this region. 

Admittedly, the downside of this is that the region’s currency is almost consistently lower than the West’s (excluding Singapore). This is a question only you can answer though. 

  1. Helps You Imagine the World Complexly!

Image from Toomas Tartes on Unsplash

The last reason why you should give your big “YES” to a Southeast Asia exchange program is that it enriches your soul. Opportunities like this help you in imagining the world complexly—that there are stories, lives, and cultures vastly different from yours. And yet, these cultures can also be similar; you will eventually find that the region resonates with you even though you did not grow up in it. 

Exchange programs are not only a means to further your education and traveling. They are also ways to keep multicultural ties—at an individual level—alive. 

Your preconceived ideas of Southeast Asia have been heavily influenced by the media you consume, and it’s time to experience the region for yourself. You will then realize why it’s worth studying there in the first place—for its diversity, its unique features, and welcoming culture. 

What else can we say but give your “YES” to that exchange program in Southeast Asia. There are many ways you can study in the region, first by checking opportunities and partnerships of your school. If this does not give the best results for you, try finding schools in Southeast Asia first and then find scholarships you can partake in. See SEA education for yourself and come back as a changed, more empathetic individual!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email