Exchanges offer so much more than new experiences; they are valuable chances to learn that help us to develop our personal skills. At dothegap, our aim is to remove the luxury label from exchanges, transforming them into mainstream activities that all young people can take part in. This is essential, as the personal growth they get from these experiences will help them to succeed in their adult lives. How? Find out below!
Cultural exchanges: beneficial experiences combining non-formal and informal education
As we’ve explained in previous posts, activities offering non-formal and informal education are an excellent way to enhance the formal education that our children receive at school.
These educational experiences provide a type of learning that elevates our thirst for knowledge, heightens our curiosity, opens us up to our talents and inspires us to better ourselves.
Exchange experiences encompass a wide range of activities and lessons that embrace these two types of out-of-school education. The variety of cultural exchanges is so immense that you can even combine the two!
For example, exchanges launched between institutions or organisations that focus on a particular activity, such as football teams, dance studios or language schools, are good environments for non-formal education.
At the same time, taking part in any kind of exchange means developing extremely valuable personal skills (informal education) that are vital nowadays for finding individual fulfilment and professional success. Curious to know which ones? Keep reading!
Exchanges break down barriers
Travelling to another country and getting the chance to experience its culture first hand helps us to discover and engage in unfamiliar customs, approaches and outlooks on life. People from other cultures that used to seem strange to us soon become our friends, and we take away a great life lesson. That is, although we may come from different cultures, the bonds that unite us are strong. This lesson proves its worth later on when we find ourselves in diverse professional or personal environments and can find those common threads to reach an understanding.
They build up our frustration tolerance
Exchange experiences expose us to many new situations and challenges that create uncertainty and take us out of our comfort zone. There may be setbacks that we can’t control and that we don’t know how to handle at first. This can be frustrating and unsettling, but it forces us to keep our wits about us, stay flexible, forge ahead and look for new solutions. We may also make mistakes and mess up on occasion, which is totally normal. But there’s a lesson in everything!
They sharpen our critical thinking skills
As human beings we have a tendency to befriend and socialise with people who share our beliefs, which can give us a somewhat slanted view of the world. Exchanges are ideal for balancing us out! By venturing outside our usual circles, we discover a vast mosaic of thoughts and beliefs, and we learn to embrace it. This promotes solidarity and strengthens our empathy and respect for diversity, which helps us to better understand other people when they ask for help or share their beliefs with us.
They allow us to learn more about ourselves
Cultural exchanges are as much an outbound journey as they are an inward one. The challenges, experiences, people and cultural shocks we encounter help us to question who we are, find out what we like and dislike, and even discover new horizons and unexpected passions. Taking part in an exchange is like stepping into an unknown world; it helps us to discover and question our limitations and our beliefs towards other cultures.
For those aspiring to be inspirational leaders or managers of multicultural teams, able to solve any problem and handle complex situations, cultural exchanges are an excellent teacher. Plus, they are loads of fun and a great life experience!
Going on an exchange used to seem like an “elitist” activity because of its high price. However, dothegap has transformed cultural exchanges into real, safe immersion at minimum cost. How? By building a community that connect people from different countries and cultures who are interested in experiencing all kinds of cross-cultural activities without intermediaries driving up the cost.
To start enjoying this type of experience, all you have to do is sign up and launch your exchange proposal. Join our community now! We can’t wait to meet you!