Exchange Study Experience

We live in a deeply interconnected world today. Given the context of this reality, I welcome and embrace any opportunity to see and learn more about the planet I live on. When the chance to study abroad presented itself, I knew right away, I would apply.
So last year, I embarked on my semester abroad at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany. My circumstances were unique, as I speak German and lived in Germany for many years growing up. This eliminated the cultural and linguistic barriers other exchange students might face. It made my experience unique; nonetheless many benefits are universal and apply to all who are willing to take the chance.
Studying abroad provides an opportunity to travel. Holidays may give you a chance to venture into unknown territory and explore new cultures, but there is something inherently different about settling somewhere for a prolonged time, with purpose. I find that establishing routine in a new location can be exciting. You seek to find people, activities, and places you identify with that you can integrate into your daily life.  
Studying abroad immerses you into a new culture. While I may have already been exposed to the culture and way of life in Germany, I had the opportunity to revisit a familiar place and experience it through a new lens. Elements I had not noticed as a child become apparent. I came to appreciate the order in German society, the respect for public space, the attention to time, but also their work-life balance. I loved watching students lying on the grass soaking up sunshine between classes or drinking a glass of wine in the evening around campus. There was a much more relaxed atmosphere among the student body without by any means compromising their commitment to their studies.
Studying abroad allows insight into other academic methods. Even though I remained within the parameters of economics in my course selection (this was not a requirement), the options were very different.  I ended up taking classes on topics such as the history of economic thought, health economics, and corporate social responsibility. The format and requirements were very different across classes and in comparison to Xiamen University. It was a great chance to break out of some monotony, discover a new academic approach, and gain deeper insight into my field of study.
Studying abroad expands your worldview. Any opportunity to converse with people from around the world, forge new bonds, gain new insights, learn different ways of seeing and being in the world is enriching. Traveling and ultimately in this case studying in another country is a sure way to be more informed. All of a sudden you have a stake in knowing, a personal connection to a new culture and people.
Studying abroad helps you to learn more about yourself. A good friend once told me that there is no growth in comfort and she was right. When we venture beyond our comfort zone we discover so many new things about ourselves. We have a chance to reinvent ourselves. Being in a new place gives us an opportunity to try new things. This often requires courage, the ability to overcome our fears but ultimately just leads us to become stronger and surer of ourselves.
Studying abroad affords us the chance to make new friends. In the beginning, I gravitated towards the other exchange students. It was easy to connect. I met people from around the world who shared my experience of being new in a place. Over time, I began to forge new friendships with both local and exchange students, some of which I know will last a lifetime.
There are countless other benefits to this experience, some more personal, some universal, but I think it's already apparent that what we have to gain from such an opportunity far outweighs any hesitations and holdbacks.  So, dare!
Alexandra Valin
Class of 2013 

How to apply

We invite you to explore our various study programs. By joining us, we are sure you would find your time here intellectually rewarding and challenging.


Contact information

Tel.: +86(0)592-2189805
Address: N106 Economics Building, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian, P.R. China 361005

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