By Parita Patel | YES’15 Alumni from Anand

“My exchange year has helped me in ways I never even imagined it would. Even now, 3 years after my exchange year, I still cherish every moment of it and every time I see a student go on exchange, a part of me yearns to relive mine. An exchange year is that something amazing which makes you realize how little you are in the grand scheme of things and how lucky you are to be a part of this huge society – something immensely diverse, surprisingly dynamic, ever-changing throughout the centuries and yet inherently beautiful. If anyone is given the opportunity to go on an exchange, I feel that they should take it, like I did.

I feel that nowadays Indian Youth is more career focussed. They might be hesitant to go on an exchange because they feel it will waste precious time which they could further use in their academics. I have a different viewpoint which I would like to share – You know, before making a big leap, we take a small step back. I see exchange year as that step back, as that stepping stone. Yes, I had to redo an year after I came back. But because I went on the exchange, I learned skills like self-awareness, confidence, people skills, perseverance and the attitude that come what may I will face it. Once you have been on an exchange, you don’t stop being a Global Citizen.

You are exposed to a plethora of opportunities that increase your interaction with people of other cultures and your own society. This contributes to your personal development throughout your life, if you let it. Even if you don’t, the lessons you take away from a single year provide valuable guidance years after your exchange. Therefore, I would definitely recommend going on an exchange to everyone. The important thing is mindset here, the exchange year is what you make it to be. If you’re open to learning, it definitely will be an amazing experience.”