Browsing category

Languages

slider_photo_3_lw

World Youth Skills Day

16% of the world population is represented by people aged 15 to 24 years, equivalent to 1.2 billion young people. Facing almost three times more unemployment, to perform low quality jobs or suffer inequality in the job market than an adult.

United Nations hand in hand with Permanent Missions of Portugal and Sri Lanka, UNESCO and the International Labor Organization, today (June 15) create the world day of youth skills to raise awareness of the importance of investing in education of young people.

The UN estimated the number of young people unemployed worldwide at 74.5 million. 1 in 5 young people (125 million) work but the salary received is very low. Taking into account that the labor situation is more complex and competitive, we must prepare the new generations, developing their skills and providing them with tools.

To succeed in the labor market, good education and training is essential.

What are those skills and / or competences that it is recommended to develop?

In addition to theoretical knowledge, companies look for young people with soft skills, such as: teamwork, collaboration, imagination and leadership.

According to the Global Education and Skills Forum of 2018 (GESF), it recommends developing competencies such as tolerance, empathy, critical thinking and creativity. Complementing them with those mentioned in the Report of “The Future of Jobs of the World Economic Forum” which are problem solving, emotional intelligence, decision making, customer orientation, negotiation and cognitive flexibility.

At Via Families we promote the education of all the young people of the world. Connecting families internationally to carry out student exchanges between families. See more information, HERE

It seeks that young people can contribute to the company by improving performance and productivity.

“Education will not change the world, change the people who are going to change the world”

– Pablo Freire-

 

As always, I leave you a video in which Pablo Heinig (electrical engineer and doctoral candidate in Leisure and Development of Human Potential and professor at ESADE Business School in Barcelona) proposes a method to think, feel and act according to the people we want to be.

YouTube  2018

inmersion-linguistica

How does an exchange influences your child?

Living abroad means leaving the comfort zone, at the begging it may sound scary and exciting at the same time. The important thing is to try it because it really worth it.

It´s important to keep in mind the changes that your child will live in this incredible experience. It is true that each student will enjoy a different experience depending on the age in which they travel, their character and how independent they are. However, everyone will definitely change.

First he/she is likely to feel vulnerable and afraid, but it is completely normal, as he/she is experiencing a familiar detachment. But as time goes by, he/she will develop and grow both personally and academically.
Some changes that you will notice when he/she return are:

  1. Personality: now he/she will be more open, strong and self-confident. The exchange will help him/her to define the personality and to develop skills
  2. Influence: the level of influence will reduce, this means that it will improve the decision-making, based on the personal benefit (what suits or benefits him/her)
  3. Maturity: obviously the maturity will be evident, living away from the family, helps the person to fend for himself (to be independent). Also to appreciate the family, the house, friends and even the material (everything around him , to the minimum aspect)
  4. Self-knowledge: being “alone”, he/she will go through a stage of personal knowledge, he/she will know how to identify his/her emotions and he/she will learn to control them. In the same way he/she will know his/her limits.

The panorama will be completely open, therefore you will have a child who already has a different language, mature, sociable and with decision-making power, as well as increasing professional value and it is possible that he/she acquired skills that he/she had not acquired in his/her native country.

Due to so many changes, it is likely that there are some frictions or discussions when you are all back together under the same roof, but don´t worry, it is part of the process and you will soon overcome it.

We recommend you to read our post in which we talk about the possible situations when your child returns and how to handle them.

Share with us your experience, what changes do your child had after the exchange?

As always I leave you a video which some students share their experience and talk about some benefits when doing a student exchange

Source: YouTube                                                                                                                                        Year of publication: 2014

book post copia

Tips to improve the study!

It is not enough to sit, read and underline to study. Help your child to have a more effective study. They are very simple recommendations, that if we make them part of the study routine, we will increase the level of learning and also be more dynamic and will be reflected with good grades.

 

  1. Choose and adapt the study space: it is important that the space is clear, orderly, with good lighting and ventilation. It is always recommended to study in the same place, it will help to concentrate faster
  2. Prepare the material (books, notebooks and pen / pencil) and remove possible distractors such as mobile and computer.
  3. It determines the time of study: it is verified that more information is retained and assimilated stipulating periods of less than 30 minutes
  4. Organize the information: if it is a very extensive topic, it is recommended to divide it into subtopics that are easy to remember or relate them to some topic of daily life.
  5. It is recommended not to memorize the information but to understand it. If you want to know more about the types of learning, click here.
  6. Make personal notes as a summary of what has been learned, it is recommended to use colors and other study techniques such as conceptual maps, mental maps, synoptic charts, sign cards, questionnaires, diagrams and drawings.
  7. Explain with your words the lesson studied to another person: this will achieve significant learning and not memorization. As Einstein said, you should explain things as if you were telling your grandmother, in this way you put to the test what you really learned.
  8. Good nutrition: try to include foods high in antioxidants, such as almonds, walnuts, cranberries
  9. Hydration: it is essential to drink water, you can also drink other drinks such as green tea
  10. Restful sleep: it is very important to sleep for 6 to 8 hours, it helps to consolidate what has been learned.
  11. If you like aromatherapy, you can use a diffuser with lavender essence, this will help your child concentrate more easily.

 

I leave a video that talks about the cientific study tips

YouTube  (2015)

educación

Types of learning

Before knowing the different types of learning, it is important to understand that learning refers to the acquisition of knowledge, values, and the development of skills and attitudes. It is the method by which any human being assimilates certain information.

In the past, it was thought that there were only one or two ways to learn, however there are different, so it is relevant to know each student and the content we want them to learn, so we can choose the ideal type of learning. On this occasion we will mention 13 types.

The first type of learning is the implicit one: this is usually not intentional, it is given by the automatic execution of a motor behavior. If we think, we always learn without realizing it, for example to walk or talk.

The second is explicit learning, which, on the contrary of the implicit one, is conscious and intentional, therefore we require sustained and selective attention. This type of learning allows us to acquire information about places, people or objects.

The third type of learning is associative, as its name suggests it is to relate two stimuli or a stimulus + behavior. A clear example is the multiplication tables or the periodic table, it will be much more effective if it is reviewed with a song, so the brain will retain it more easily. So remember that, to achieve effective learning, use visual or audiovisual elements that the student likes. Ivan Pavlov (Russian psychologist) checks associative learning with his classical condition technique applied to his dog.

The fourth type is non-associative learning, it refers to the change of reaction to a repeated stimulus. They play a key role habituation (process in which a stimulus is repeated and the response is less and less intense) and awareness. For example when a baby is asleep and with the minimum noise, wakes up. If this happens every time    he´s sleeping, the baby will stop waking up because of the noise.

The fifth learning is the significant, in this the student goes through a process in which he collects the information, selects it, organize and compares it with previous knowledge (new information vs. information that he already had).

The sixth type is cooperative learning, as the name implies it is carried out together with more students. This is given in educational classrooms, with a maximum of 5 people in the team, they have a teacher who guides and distributes roles.

The seventh learning is collaborative, it´s like the cooperative, more people are required, but the cooperative, unlike the cooperative, is more free; this means that the teacher only proposes the topic and the students decide how to approach it.

The eighth type is the emotional learning, this is very important, since it consists of knowing and managing the emotions efficiently.

The ninth learning is the observational one, also known as learning by imitation or modeling. It requires the participation of two people, the model (who will teach) and the student (who observes the behavior and learns).

The tenth type is the experiential learning. Learning from mistakes is the best example. This type of learning is produced as the name implies by experience.

The eleventh learning is by discovery, also known as heuristic learning (theory developed by the American psychologist Jerome Bruner), is usually an active learning that promotes the student to learn for himself, discovering, relating and reordering the concepts. The ideal for the teacher is to present situations stimulating their students through strategies of observation, comparison, analysis of similarities and differences.

The twelfth type is memoristic or repetitive learning, which consists in fixing in the memory in a mechanical and repetitive way concepts without deepening their meaning. It is when we repeat like parrot, therefore it is normal that we forget it in a short time. Some examples are: mathematical formulas, celebrities, phone numbers, birthdays, addresses among others.

The thirteenth learning is receptive, it is impulsive, passive and it is when the student receives the content but does not do it in his own way. A clear example is when you read a book, you recognize each word and the theme.

Talking about the education of children is a whole world in which we must be submerged, know new trends to apply them and obtain better results.

We invite you to join the international community of families, agreeing to student exchanges.

Via Families – #thatstheway

As always, I leave a video of a girl that explain and give examples of the types of learning.

Source: YouTube                                                                                                                                Year of publication: 2019

Other sources of consultation- https://psicologiaymente.com/desarrollo/tipos-de-aprendizaje

What is the best age for our children to study abroad?

Nowadays we are all experts in everything and we have very different opinions about what we think is best in the education of our children.

Possibly, as in term of education no one sets the guidelines for what we should do, we usually go to “jump of the bush” doing what others we know have done, or even correcting the decisions we have made previously with the experience from another of our children.

We live in a very competitive world in which parents wantour children to be the best; we want them to achieve everything we never reach and project that frustration on children who need security.

We submit them under great pressure and nobody can extract anything positive.

We should simply understand that failure is wonderful and the real basis on which success and real learning is based.

We learns with the mistakes we made, not always having everything in favor.

Talking about the ideal age for our children to study abroad, it is important not to run or advance ahead of time.

The most important is that our childern be with us the right time; much important than the fact of studying abroad when actually is not the right moment with the excuse that they are going to learn english since early age.

The great learning for them is that they are with their parents.

Therefore, up to ten years it is advisable that our children stay by our side, and from Via Families we advise you not to travel to learn languages ​​before eleven.

At the same time we should bear in mind that for an adult time passes much faster than for a child; sending our son/daughter two months away will take forever, especially if he/she is younger than eleven years old and needs to be at his parents’ side.

The ideal for their education will be to study abroad as they take off from us, although for this it will be necessary to have previously planted a good education. Only then can we reap fruit at maturity.

And those parents who do not make a good educational seeding, will be those who later feel afraid to send their children abroad; parents who will harbor doubts in the education offered and who will fear that their children will go deeper in the world of drugs – or in inappropriate behaviors.

So, a good option is for our son to make a first trip of a couple of weeks with a friend or acquaintance; a joint experience and more pleasant.

The important thing is not that our children learn languages ​​but that they know how to get away from home, and for that, we must give them security.

Having had a solid childhood will bring them a strong maturity, being this type of children suitable for studying abroad.

We are talking about children who, without a doubt, will not suffer from a close attachment and who will know how to face the world.

So, do not have to run.

The ideal is to send our children overseas in a phased manner; first to Europe and then to more distant destinations.

Let’s not forget the most appropriate ages so that our children can enjoy the experience.

We, as parents, should not force our children to study abroad, but motivate them to want to live an experience that will mark them for future outings.

Talking with our children before making the decision and teaching them the virtues of destiny will be the best decision we can make, initially.

From Via Families we encourage you to adequately inform yourself of the best options for your children.

Ana Trinxet

Ceo y Fundadora de Via Families.

educación in

The best quotes of education!

There are many quotes of philosophers, thinkers and pedagogues related with education throughout history of the humanity, but for the International Education Day we want to collect specially those that are focus on one type of endure education and is base on the human creation to create a better world.

Easy, honest, logic and deep quotes that doesn´t matter if these was said 2500 years ago but they are still current. I hope you enjoy it!

“The most important and principal public business is the good education of the youth people”

Platon (S V-IV a DC)

“Educate the mind without educate the heart, is educate absolutely nothing”

 

“Is the mark of an educated mind to be able to understand the though, is to accept it”

Aristoteles (S IV AC)

“The education is the fire of a flame, is not filling a container”

Socrates (Atenas, S IV AC)

“The school should be a grate prelude of our life”

Comenius (Nivnice March 28th, 1592 – Amsetrad (November 15th, 1670)

“Tell me and I forget it, teach me and I remember it, involve me and I learn it”

Benjamin Franklin (Boston, January 17th, 1706 – Philadelphia, April 17th, 1790)

“If we teach to the students of today as we teach yesterday, we are stealing them tomorrow”

John Dewey (Burlington, October 20th, 1859 – New York, June 1st, 1952)

“Sow it good ideas in kids, even though they don´t understand; the years will be in charge of deciphering them in their understanding and making them flourish in their hearts”

Maria Montessori (Italy August, 31st, 1870 – Netherlands May 6th, 1952)

“The education is the most powerful weapon to change the world”

Nelson Mandela (Mvezo, July 18th, 1918 – Johannesburgo, December 5th, 2013)

“To teach is not to transmit knowledge, is to create the possibility of producing them”

Paulo Freire (Recife, Brazil, 1921 – São Paulo, 1997)

“The unlettered of the 21th Century will not be those who cant know how to read or write, but those who can´t learn, unlearn and relearn”.

Alvin Toffler (New York, October 3rd, 1928 -LA, June 27th, 2016)

 

As usual, there you have a video, this time is to understand why Maria Montesori was an important pedagogue and why her methodology is still valid

Maria Montesori: her story on YouTube

Maria Montessori: Creativity unleashed | Judi Bauerlein | TEDxLivermore on YouTube

braille

World Braille Day

Every 4th of January, is celebrated the World Braille Day, the alphabetic embossed system created to represent letters, punctuation marks, numbers and mathematic symbols contributing to the blind people a valid and efficient tool for Reading, writing and giving the Access to the education, the culture and the information.

It consists on a combination of six raised points divided into cells, organized as a matrix of 3 rows and 2 columns that allows to get 64 different combinations, including the one without a point, which is used as blank (to separate the words), also the differentiating special signs to convert a capital letter, number or a musical note. Usually they are listed top to bottom and left to right.

The UN has recognized and proclaimed the World Braille Day, to celebrate each 4th of January, highlighting multilingualism as a basic value of de UN. The principal main is promote awareness about the importance of braille as a media for full human fulfillment toward the blind people or visually impaired individuals. This day was chosen because of the inventor of the language, Louis Braille birthday (January 4th, 1809).

Louis was playing with some tools in his father’s workshop, and he had an accident with the sharp awl in one of his eyes, so he got an infection, that soon spread and blinding him in both eyes when he was 3 years old. He was learnt to read by feeling studs hammered into pieces of wood in the shapes of letters and numbers. Later, when he was 10 years old, he was accepted in a school, called Institute for Blind Children in Paris where they used crossed twigs were used to signify the letters of the alphabet. There, he also learnt to play cello and organ.

The idea of create the braille language started by the French Captain Charles Barbier, after the Napoleonic Wars; he invented the “night writing” that consisted of raised dots on cardboard used to send written messages on battlefields by night. The Captain continued promoting his writing method to other militaries, but they refused to use it. In 1820, Captain Barbier had the idea that maybe his system could be used by the blind people, so he took it to the school in the rue St-Victor (where Louis was a student).

Louis was tasked to evaluate the Barbiers system; he thought it was interesting but very plain to help blind people. Since that day, Louis Braille got inspired to adapt and complete his own system. And till 1824 (when he was 15 years old), finally he had finished his six dots system in varying patterns cells as domino, providing 63 permutations for different letters and numbers, including the “space” symbol. Later he also included musical notes.

The other students started using his method, because it was a tool to learn easily. Nevertheless, the school didn’t make it official because of the high price, they didn’t have enough money. Years later, Louis Braille, started to teach in that school using his own method of learning.

In 1826, he published his 32 pages book, named “Method of Writing Language, Plain Chant and Music, by Means of Raised Points for the Use of Blind Persons” (printed in embossed text).

Curious fact: on December 30 of 2014, the Braille language had been patented; therefore, it limited its use in any product. The Spanish Braille Commission and the ONCE Foundation, fought for the freedom of use, fulfilling the communicative and inclusive purpose.

As usual, there you have a video in which Deinny, a nine years old girl (part of the skating team, she plays some percussion instruments, sings, participate in the Astronomy club, she loves to read and enjoys every single moment of her live even though she could not see), she teach us how the braille system works and how her process has been.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YepYQZOZJ4

Getting organized

Tips to start the academic year well

Nowadays, the term globalization is known by virtually everybody. This concept has not only changed the interactions between the different countries, but also our perspective of the world as a whole. Exchange Programs give you as a student the opportunity to take such interactions to the next level, which has a positive impact on your resumé, among other advantages for your professional life.

Indeed, there’s nothing better than getting out of your comfort zone, and an exchange program is certainly a great way to do so. During the time that you will be far away from home, sharing with new people, speaking a different language, and immersed in a different culture, you will have the opportunity to learn about a different part of you, one that maybe you didn’t even know that existed.

Probably you have been making preparations for a very long time to get ready for your exchange program by gathering documents, going to interviews, saving money, etc. All of that mixed with several emotions like excitement for having this kind of opportunity, longing for leaving your home and family for a while, and a lot of expectations about the new country, host family, University … It is definitely a big change, but don’t be afraid, in the lines below you will find some recommendations to deal successfully with all these things and have a great experience during your exchange program.

Dealing with your emotions

Yes, as I said before there are a lot of psychological and emotional situations that come to the surface during experiences such as exchange programs and you have to be aware of that. It is completely normal to feel a little bit overdosed. In this case, there are three words I like to remind myself: gratefulness, pride, and confidence.

Be grateful for being able to be part of this exchange program that will surely become into a life-changing experience in every way. Be proud of giving you the chance to face this challenge, which will improve your skills in every way. And every time you feel sad or nostalgic for what you left behind, have the confidence and trust that this is the right decision for your own life and future, as well as  for your loved ones who will understand and wait for you to come back and share with them all the things you learned during your exchange program.

Before departure

Getting organized

Before leaving your country and starting your exchange program make sure everything is in order: let your bank knows that you will be abroad for a while in order to avoid problems with your accounts and take copies of the most important documents with you. Also, investigate everything you can about the new country you will be at, it will make things easier for you when it comes to adaptation, and pay special attention to the official currency of the host country and take some cash with you, not only your credit card.

Practice your language skills

The new language will be an important thing when it comes to getting communicated in the new country, so the more you practice the most important words and phrases, the better for you. Get rid of shyness and start incorporating some new words to your vocabulary every day.

Once you arrive

Stay open-minded to receive all the knowledge that this experience brings to you as a student and as a person- The exchange program is a holistic adventure, but don’t forget that its main purpose is that you study. Pay attention to all the options that your new university offers you as an international student and take advantage of them, academic and socially. Make international friends and in your free time travel a lot, there are always options for every budget to enjoy and visit new places near from the place you are staying at.

Respect the new culture

Learning about a new culture

This new country will be full of new traditions and laws. Be sure to respect them, learn and take part in them too. It may take you some time to get adapted to these new rules, but it will worth your while. Finally, find support in your host family, University’s authorities and partners, have fun and appreciate every second. Quite simply: get the most out of your exchange program.

The Mayan calendar

Advantages of learning Spanish, countries that you can visit and communicate without problems

Wanting to learn a new language usually has to do with two causes: 1. Professional reasons or 2. An inclination towards it or with respect to the culture where it is spoken. In the case of Spanish, it can be said that for many people these reasons converge. Indeed, from the commercial point of view, many companies are interested in addressing an audience of more than  400 million people, but from the cultural and tourist point of view, this language is one of the distinguishing marks of more than 21 countries, which are the countries where Spanish is the official language today. In this article, we will talk about the countries that you will be able to visit and communicate without any issues after you learn Spanish.

Communicate with more people in the United States

If you live in the United States or want to connect with more people from this country, it is a good idea to learn Spanish, because according to an article published on the website of The Guardian in the United States there are more people who speak Spanish than in Spain itself.

Spain and Latin America

Speaking of Spain, learning Spanish would allow you to go to this country without having communication issues, and there is so much to do and things to learn in Spain! There you’ll enjoy the most picturesque festivals and traditions, but also stroll through its many cities and towns, these being its main tourist destinations. Also, Spain is an excellent destination country to go on an exchange program through which you can get a quality education and learn or improve your Spanish skills, for which you can also follow these tips.

Also, by learning Spanish you will be able to communicate with Latin Americans and it is difficult to synthesize such a rich culture in a few words. To speak of Latin America is to speak of the Inca Empire, whose Brain surgeries were said to be better than those done during the American Civil War 400 years later. Latin America is also about the Mayan Empire, which, among other inventions, had a great astronomical, scientific and architectural development, which is evidenced by its pyramids, calendar, and writing system.

The Mayan calendar

Moreover, you can learn about the colonial era, the independence wars and all the internal and external conflicts of each Latin American country, which shaped their current geography and idiosyncrasy. In this context, the arts were developed, being some of the more named  Latin artists the Mexican Frida Kahlo, the Colombian Fernando Botero, as well as the Venezuelans Carlos Cruz Diez and Armando Reverón.

 

Fernando Botero’s version of the Mona Lisa

In Latin America there are also writers laureate with the Nobel Prize for Literature, as is the case of Gabriela Mistral (1945), Miguel Angel Asturias (1967), Pablo Neruda (1971), Gabriel García Márquez (1982) and Mario Vargas Llosa (2010) , among other Spaniard and Latin American authors who speak Spanish and received this award and whose books you can read once you learn this language.

Finally, there is also a wide diversity of autochthonous musical genres such as merengue, salsa, bachata and vallenato, being some of the most prolific artists of these genres Wilfrido Vargas, Rubén Blades, Juan Luis Guerra and the Binomio de Oro, respectively -not to mention the many singers and groups of each musical genre that currently exists in Latin America.

Unusual places in the world where Spanish is spoken

Maybe you had some knowledge about what you have read so far, but did you know that by learning Spanish you can also travel and communicate in an African country? That’s right, one of the official languages of Equatorial Guinea is Spanish. However, this last country is not the only unusual tourist destination where this language is spoken. In fact, in Asia there is a country that although Spanish is not its official language, it’s spoken by more than 2 million people: we are talking about the Philippines, which was a Spanish colony for 300 years.

On the other hand, in Andorra, 93% of people speak Spanish and there are minorities that speak Spanish in Aruba, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Guam, Western Sahara, Algeria, Canada, Norway, and Switzerland. Thus, Spanish is spoken in countries of the five continents, so learning this language will open many doors. Now, the best way to learn a language is going on an exchange program. Would you like to become an exchange student? Please contact us so we can help you.

Learn Spanish

Advantages of going to Spain on an exchange program

Spain not only has amazing tourist sites but also is a destination desired by those who want to go on an exchange program. Its academic offer, low costs, the warmth of its people and the possibility of learning Spanish are among the main reasons why many exchange students choose this country as the venue for their program. In this article we will tell you what are the advantages of going to Spain on an exchange program:

1. Learn or improve your Spanish skills

Learn Spanish

Spanish is one of the most spoken languages in the United States, as we explained in a previous post in which we gave tips for studying this language. In any case, whether you do not speak Spanish or want to master this language, what better place to learn it than where it was born? Going to Spain on an exchange program gives you that possibility. Although there are many other places where you can learn Spanish, doing it in a first world country with as much history as Spain is a truly special experience.

2. Low costs of living

As everywhere, in Spain, there are expensive products and services, but usually, the costs of living are low compared to many other places in the world and especially in Europe. In fact, it is possible to cover the costs of living in Spain with about 1,000 euros per month. This is a great advantage for those who participate in an exchange program, as they can easily cover their essential expenses and allocate the rest of the budget to travel and partying. Doesn’t sound so bad, right?

3. Excellent educational offer

The Spanish education is also one of the most economical in Europe and is of quality. Indeed, several Spanish universities are listed in the topuniversities.com listings, the main ones being the Complutense University of Madrid, the University of Barcelona and the University of Valencia, among others.

In Spain, there are 83 universities, of which 33 are private and 50 public. On average, the yearly tuition fees to study at a university in Spain, depending on the career, vary between 750 and 2,100 euros in the case of public universities and between 900 and 3,300 euros in private universities.

These prices are much lower than those of American universities, with the added bonus that anyone whose CV says they participated in an exchange program has advantages over other candidates to obtain work in the eyes of any recruiter. Thus, going to Spain on an exchange program is a low investment that will provide great benefits for your professional life.

4. Thousands of things to do

Soccer match in Spain

In Spain you can do something different every day: there are hundreds of museums, monuments, parks, cathedrals, beaches, mountains, stadiums where football stars play, an off-peak nightlife, sporting events, etc. In addition, the Spanish culture is very rich: throughout the year you can witness so many traditions and festivals that you will have to constantly remind yourself that you went to Spain with the aim of studying.

5. The Spaniard’s warmth

Spaniards are known to be passionate about what they do and also to be kind people. While being an exchange student there will always be someone willing to give you whatever information you need. Also, you will have the opportunity to see Spaniards daily for a given time so many of these will end up being great friends of yours or even something else.

In conclusion, being an exchange student in Spain has advantages from every point of view: you will learn or improve your Spanish proficiency, you will spend less money than in other places, obtain a quality education, know dream places and be surrounded by special people. Are you determined to go to Spain on an exchange program? Contact us

Learning while traveling

Advantages of making an exchange for your professional life

When seeing an exchange student, it is inevitable to ask questions like these: What language will they speak? Will they be kind people? Will they do well in their new educational institution? We may also wonder if it is worth for them to be part of an exchange program. In this article, we will tell you what the advantages for your professional life of going on an exchange program are.

1. The chance to attain additional knowledge

Learning while traveling

Whenever an exchange program takes place, knowledge is acquired in at least two areas: 1. the host country’s culture and 2. The content of the chosen study program. Additionally, if the language of the host country is different from that spoken at home, there is the possibility of learning that other language. It is not that you can’t learn all the above from home, but it would be like learning about Europe with a geography book: no matter how good such book is, it will never be the same as the experience of going to the Old Continent.

2. It opens your mind

Even if a student goes to a university in another state of the same country, and that is why they have to make certain changes in their life. While being an exchange student, there are many more situations to handle, and this causes that said student is forced to leave their comfort zone and, subsequently, develop the skills that allow them to solve these problems. In effect, the exchange student is always giving the extra mile to solve some everyday situation, ranging from the simple fact of being able to communicate an idea in another language to handle another currency, adapt to a special system of public transport, etc.

3. Traveling is implicit

Although the main objective of being an exchange student is learning, it is also the perfect opportunity to travel. Again, it is very likely that within one’s country there are many wonderful places to know, but traveling by using your passport is a different experience because it allows us to have a first-hand experience of other places, colors, smells and tastes that simply can’t be appreciated on YouTube. Whether you go to any European country or the United States, the possibilities of traveling cheap are endless, especially in the case of an exchange student. Finally, traveling not only gives us pleasure but also allows us to see how people from other places live and take that learning to our professional life.

4. You’ll build new social relationships

Making new friends

For a time, the exchange student will be far from their family and usual social relationships so they will need to bond with other people. Although that may be uncomfortable at first, it will make these students more sociable people by having to share for months and even years with their host family, as well as with their new classmates and teachers. As a consequence of this, it is quite likely that they will develop a strong bond with many of these people, some of which will end up becoming great friends and even allies in their professional life.

5. It makes a big difference in your resumé

Naturally, any human resources manager is interested in hiring the most suitable person for a given position. Now, although qualifications play a major role in this regard, certain qualities tend to tilt the balance in favor of certain candidates over others. Former exchange students possess such qualities: in any case, they went to another country, learn its culture, and had to adapt and respond to situations that they would not have lived otherwise.

So, as you can see, being an exchange student is not just about going to another country; it gives you a series of advantages for your professional life. Do you want to participate in an exchange program? Contact us so we can help you.

 

Train Station in Bulgaria

4 essential travel tips for exchange students

Are you interested in becoming an exchange student?  Contact us.

One of the advantages of being part of an exchange program is the possibility of traveling. In the first place, it is necessary to go to the host country, for which there are a series of requirements, procedures, and recommendations (which, in Spain’s case are these),  but once you are there, it is most likely that you want to get the most out of your experience, which includes traveling within that country and (why not?) beyond its borders. In this article, we will provide you with the four essential travel tips for exchange students.

1. Get Organized

Organization

The priority of every exchange student is to learn. Learn the knowledge and skills associated with the study program that will be studied in the host country, the language spoken in that country and its culture. An excellent way to reinforce the learning of these last two aspects is by traveling, which in general requires organization but with more reason when participating in an exchange program, since there are a series of special benefits for exchange students.

For that reason, the first thing you should do is to investigate which are those benefits in your host country. One of the best known is the International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which is accepted in 130 countries and allows you to get better prices in certain restaurants, hotels, air tickets, museums and other places. We recommend that you obtain your ISIC card in your country of origin so that you can seize its advantages from the beginning of your exchange program.

2. Save on transportation

Train Station in Bulgaria

Naturally, the less you spend on certain aspects you will have a larger budget to travel. Therefore, in addition to obtaining the ISIC card and any other similar credentials accepted in your host country, we suggest that you travel mostly by bus and train. About this last means of transport, if your host country is located in Europe and you are under 27 years of age, we recommend that you buy Eurail passes, under which you will have discounts of 20% on all your train trips.

As regards air tickets, we recommend that you evaluate them in each particular case, because although they are usually more expensive, it is worth paying the price of certain domestic flights. Furthermore, unless the situation warrants it, avoid using cabs, because, naturally, by doing so your budget will be exhausted much more quickly.

3. Become friends with local people

When traveling, there are usually two scenarios: the one that tourists know and another one special for local people. The first provides a safe and comfortable environment where tourists can spend their money; in the second you will meet places and special people, and you will live experiences that are usually only available to those who live in the area. The only way to get in the second scenario is being introduced to it by people from the area. Therefore, among other reasons, it is important to make friends with these people.

Although this may allow you to obtain better prices with respect to certain products and services, it goes much further: it will allow you to know the city from the inside and, what is more important, connect you in a better way with others. However, for your safety and well-being, do your best to make friends with constructive people, and keep the toxic ones away. For all the above, it is important that you have a good relationship with your host family since it could lead you to live the second scenario or at least they will be there in case you have any concerns about it.

4. Have a blast!

Organizing, saving money and making friends with people in the area makes sense only so that, as mentioned at the beginning, you get the most out of your experience of being an exchange student. For the same reason, you must do all these things at your discretion: if at some point you want to spend a little more or, in general, do anything that gives you happiness, do it! Isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Day of the dead

Discover new cultures while hosting an exchange student

Exchange students are not the only ones to have access to a new culture. In fact, members of a host family also get this benefit, without leaving the comfort of their home. These exchanges not only broaden the general culture of both parties but are a source of joy for all. In this article, we will tell you four ways how a host family can discover new cultures while hosting exchange students.

1. Learn new words and phrases

When a person participates in an exchange program, one of their main objectives is usually to learn the language spoken in the host country. To do this, members of the host family should try to speak to the student only in that language, but this does not mean that from time to time they can’t ask the student how certain words or phrases are said in their country. Indeed, having the host family learn such phrases or words is a way to show the student that this is important for that family.

2. Experience a different culinary culture

Another way to make a cultural exchange within the framework of an exchange program is for the student to cook for their host family. Usually, the opposite happens: the host family prepares traditional food of their country to which the student tends to adapt, but it would not hurt if, for example, a Japanese student prepares sushi or a Spanish one cooks a Spanish tortilla (omelet). By doing this, the host family will be able to break their culinary routine, but it will also be a way for the student to collaborate with household chores at a given time, and the fact that said student may taste food from their country could be a way to calm their evil of homeland.

On the other hand, it is quite possible that the dish prepared by the student in the host family’s home has a flavor that seems different to the one that is perceived when such student cooks the same dish in their country. This is normal because maybe said dished aren’t prepared with the same ingredients, or they have variations that, even if they are minimal, end up influencing the final product. However, the important thing is to have that experience of eating as a family. As the old saying goes: “A family that eats together, stays together”, a union that in this case will take place because of the exchange student’s culture.

3. Sing and dance to other rhythms

Tango dancers

Cultural exchanges can also take place from the artistic point of view. If the exchange student sings or plays an instrument, they would do well to do so in the presence of the host family. Also, if they know how to dance rhythms of their country or region, they could do the same. Imagine having at home a Spanish student dancing flamenco, a Venezuelan dancing to drums, a Puerto Rican dancing salsa or an Argentine dancing tango, to name a few of the many rhythms that exist in the Spanish-speaking world. Host family members may not learn to dance these rhythms in one night or even during the whole exchange student stay, but the simple fact of seeing the exchange student dancing to a peculiar rhythm will be cause for joy.

4. Celebrate special holidays

Day of the dead

It’s also a good idea to hold homemade meetings for celebrations that take place in the country of the exchange student, as would be the case of the Day of the Dead, as celebrated in Mexico and which is alluded to in the movie “Coco”. In such a meeting, the exchange student, with the help of the host family or other students, could organize the preparation of typical foods, sing and dance traditional rhythms, and speak their language.

As you can see, there are many ways in which a host family can open a window to other cultures. Are you interested in hosting exchange students? Contact us so we can help you.

Patience is key during exchange programs

Keys to being a good host family

One of the less mentioned topics when it comes to exchange programs is that of the host family, the one that receives an exchange student at their home to host such student. However, this topic rarely addressed from the perspective of the family. In the following article, we will give tips to be a good host family based on the experience of people who have fulfilled that role. These are the tips:

Be aware that there will be changes at home

Changes

One of the main points is to remember that the student is not the only one who is venturing into a new experience. It is an unavoidable fact that the host family’s home environment will change at the presence of a new member, especially at the beginning when both are making great efforts to understand each other if the student comes from a country with a different language. It is easier to deal with these changes when you have already prepared to feel them and have taken into consideration the implications of living with a stranger. Above all, remember that many changes, however confusing, help us grow as a person.

Treat the exchange student as a member of the host family

The treatment given to the student must be on equal terms with the rest of the family. They already must feel worried because of being in a new place with strangers. Although the need to adapt is implicit in any exchange program, cultural clashes are inevitable. So imagine that this student is part of your family and treat him kindly and warmly, in such a way that even though your cultures are totally different, that student can feel comfortable in your home.

Honesty and clear rules are the keys

Be honest from the beginning regarding the establishment of schedules, assignment of responsibilities and other types of agreements to maintain proper coexistence. Also, communication with the student should ideally be in the language spoken at the host family’s home. One of the reasons for the exchange program to exist is for the student to learn the language and culture of the host country. In addition, it is necessary to inform them about your house rules, which must be applied in equal terms to the rest of the family. In that sense, respect for family traditions and collaboration in housework is essential.

Support the student exchange in its adaptation process

The host family must help the student exchange to introduce the latter in the country and its culture, accompanying them in their adaptation process. In this sense, they should be informed about how transportation works, how to interact with some people to make more friends. Also, host families should take students to interesting places, restaurants, museums, etc., where they can learn more about history, music, and local traditions. It should not be forgotten that the host family is in charge of helping the exchange student to take their first steps within the society of the host country.

Be patient

Patience is key during exchange programs

The first days and weeks are the most complicated ones because of the adaptation process. Never allow something that you do not understand to make you angry. The best thing is to solve whatever issues with communication. Once the student learns to communicate better in the new language, it will be propitious to inquire them about what life is like in their country of origin; you may be surprised at their answers. The exchange students are not the only ones who get to learn thanks to the exchange program; host families do as well.

Ask for other host families’ opinion

If you know people who have been part of a host family, you can ask about their experience or how they handled a particular situation. Never be afraid to ask questions, being informed is one of the keys to being an excellent host house. If you have any questions or are interested in hosting exchange students, please contact us.