Studying English abroad can be a fantastic way to improve your language skills, gain valuable life experience, and expand your horizons. When you study abroad, you immerse yourself in a new culture, and as you are forced to communicate in English on a daily basis, it will significantly improve your language proficiency. Additionally, you get the opportunity to meet new people, make lifelong friends, and experience a different way of life.

Choosing the right exchange program is the foundation to having a successful international experience. In this blogpost, we will walk you through every part of the process from determining your goals and desired achievements for living abroad to selecting where to go and what type of exchange is best for you. Finally, you will learn more about the benefits of learning English through experiencing the world and how it can positively impact your life and career going forward. Let’s dive in!

Determine your goals and priorities

The first step in choosing a study abroad program is to identify your goals and priorities. Do you want to improve your English language skills, gain work experience, or simply have fun and explore a new culture? Do you prefer to live in and experience a big city, a smaller town, or a rural area? Do you want to study in an English-speaking country, or would you prefer to immerse yourself in a new language and culture? Understanding your goals and priorities will help you narrow down your choices and find the program that best fits your needs.

Research potential schools and programs

Once you have identified your goals and priorities, you can start researching schools and programs in the countries and locations that interest you. We generally distinguish between two types of exchanges: educational and cultural. In the follow section you will learn about the different offers and opportunities that are out there, and how to select the one that fits with your goals and interests.

Educational exchange

If you decide to do an educational exchange, look for schools with a good reputation and a variety of academic programs. Check out the school’s website and see if there are classes and courses that interest you and fall in line with your learning goals. You should also research the programs they offer, including class schedules, extracurricular activities, and the duration of the program to make sure that it fits with your desired time frame. Most educational exchanges will require that you are already enrolled in a school or university in your home country, but some also offer the opportunity to enter into the program from scratch.

Below are 5 of the main types of educational exchange opportunities:

Erasmus+: The Erasmus+ program is a European Union initiative that supports international education and training. It offers study, training, and internship opportunities to students and teachers in Europe and beyond.

Fulbright Program: The Fulbright Program is a U.S. government initiative that offers grants to U.S. citizens to study, teach, or conduct research abroad. It also offers grants to foreign students, scholars, and professionals to come to the United States for similar purposes.

AIESEC: AIESEC is an international student-run organization that offers opportunities for students to study and work abroad. It offers internships and volunteer programs in a variety of fields, including business, education, and social development.

Study Abroad: Many universities offer study abroad programs that allow students to study at a partner institution in a foreign country. These programs are often run by the university’s study abroad office and offer a range of courses in various fields.

ISEP: The International Student Exchange Program (ISEP) is a global network of over 300 universities in more than 50 countries. It offers study abroad opportunities for students at all levels of education.

Cultural exchange:

If you don’t want to enroll in an educational exchange, cultural exchange programs offer an incredible opportunity to experience a new culture, broaden your horizons, and gain a deeper understanding of the world. Whether you are looking to work, volunteer, or simply live with a host family, cultural exchange programs provide an immersive experience that can transform your perspective and enrich your life. In this chapter, we will explore the benefits of cultural exchange programs, as well as provide tips for choosing the right program and making the most of your experience.

Below are 5 of the main cultural exchange opportunities beyond educational programs:

Au Pair: An au pair is a person who lives with a host family in a foreign country and helps with household tasks such as childcare, cleaning and cooking in exchange for room and board. Au pairs typically work for a few hours a day and have the rest of their time to explore the local area and culture and attend local language classes. There are many au pair programs available, such as AuPairWorld, Cultural Care Au Pair, and Go Au Pair. These programs help match au pairs with host families and provide support throughout the exchange.

Work Exchange: Work exchange programs allow individuals to work in exchange for room and board. Participants may work on farms, in hostels, or in other types of businesses. This type of program is ideal for those who want to experience a new culture while learning new skills and saving money on accommodation and food. Programs like WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and Workaway offer work exchange opportunities around the world. Participants can search for hosts in various countries and work in exchange for accommodation and meals.

Volunteer Abroad: Volunteer programs offer the opportunity to work on community projects and make a difference in the world. Participants may work on environmental conservation, animal welfare, or social justice projects, among others. Volunteer programs often provide accommodation and meals and can be a great way to gain new skills and experiences while contributing to a worthwhile cause.

Internship Abroad: If you’re looking to improve your business English and gain an advantage on the job market, an internship abroad might just be the right thing for you. Internship programs offer the opportunity to gain work experience in a foreign country while also developing their English language skills. Participants may work for local businesses or non-profits, gaining valuable skills and insights into the local economy and culture.

Consider the location

Location is an important factor to consider when choosing a study abroad program. Think about the cultural and social environment you want to be in, as well as the climate and geography of the area. If you are interested in history and art, you might consider studying in a city with many museums and galleries. If you love nature, you might want to study in a region with beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities.

Look into financial aid and scholarships

Studying abroad can be expensive, so it is important to look into financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Many schools and programs offer scholarships specifically for study abroad students. In addition, you may be eligible for financial aid through your home university or through external organizations. Do your research and explore all of your options to find the best financial support for your study abroad experience.

The Benefits of Studying English Abroad

Now that we have covered some tips for choosing the right exchange program, let’s explore the cultural, personal and educational benefits of living and studying English abroad.

Language Immersion

One of the most significant advantages of studying English abroad is the opportunity to immerse yourself in the language. When you are surrounded by the language on a daily basis, you are forced to speak, read, and write in English, which can greatly improve your language skills. You will also become more familiar with the nuances of the language, such as idioms and slang, that you may not have been exposed to in a classroom setting.

Cultural Immersion

Studying English abroad also gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture. You will experience new foods, customs, and traditions, and you will have the opportunity to interact with people from different backgrounds. This can broaden your horizons, increase your cultural awareness, and make you more open-minded.

Personal Growth

Studying English abroad can also promote personal growth. Living in a new country, far away from your family and friends, can be a challenging experience, but it can also be a very rewarding one. You will develop independence, self-reliance, and resilience, which can help you succeed in any area of your life.

Networking and Career Opportunities

Studying English abroad can also open up networking and career opportunities. You will meet new people, including other students, teachers, and professionals, who can provide you with valuable connections and insights into the industry. Additionally, studying abroad can demonstrate to potential employers that you have experience working in a multicultural environment, which can be a valuable asset in today’s global job market. To learn more about the benefits of learning English in a business setting, check out our blogpost on how to improve your business English.

Enhanced Resume

Finally, studying English abroad can enhance your resume. Employers often look for candidates who have a variety of experiences and who can bring a unique perspective to the job. Studying abroad can demonstrate that you are adaptable, flexible, and have the ability to work in a variety of settings. Additionally, studying abroad can show that you are committed to personal and professional growth, which can be a valuable asset in any career field.

How to Make the Most of Your Exchange Experience

Now that we have discussed the benefits of studying English abroad and some tips for choosing the right exchange program, let’s talk about how to make the most of your experience.

Find a local language school or tutor

Once you’re settled in your new area, start looking for language schools to support your language learning. Most larger cities will have international language schools that teaches language to foreign students. This is also a great place to meet other expats and start building a local network. To find a language school near you, simply search for instance “language school Liverpool” or “English class Leeds”. If you’re not able to find a local language school near you, you still have a chance to get assistance with you learning as well as a social network by finding a local tutor – you’ll still get educational support in your English language learning, and the tutor might introduce you to other people in your area. Find a local tutor by searching for instance “English tutor London” or “English teacher Manchester”. To read more about the benefits of finding a good tutor, you can check out our blogpost on the benefits of one-on-one tutoring.

Embrace the Language and culture

To make the most of your study abroad experience, it is essential to embrace the language. Take every opportunity to practice your English language skills, both inside and outside of the classroom. Speak English with your classmates, host family, and locals. Watch local TV shows and movies, and read local books and newspapers. The more you practice, the more confident and proficient you will become in the language.

To fully immerse yourself in the local culture, you need to be open-minded and willing to embrace new experiences. Try local foods, attend cultural events, and learn about the local customs and traditions. This will help you gain a deeper understanding of the culture and make the most of your experience.


In conclusion, studying English abroad can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It can improve your language skills, broaden your horizons, and promote personal and professional growth. To choose the right exchange program, consider your goals, the location, the school, extracurricular activities, and the program’s duration and schedule. To make the most of your experience, embrace the language and culture, get involved, find local language classes and have fun! Studying English abroad is an investment in your future, and it can provide you with valuable experiences, skills and friends that will last a lifetime.