Wry Exchange

Outbound Application Hints-Why 3 Countries?
09-13-07, 8:40 pm
Filed under: Exchange Program | Tags: , , ,

We ask students to list 3 countries they want to go to as part of their application.  The students must write a paragraph about why they chose each country.   We ask for 3 countries for many reasons. 

  • Most important to Husband and me are flexibility and ability to follow directions.  We think it’s a red flag if a student wants one country only.  Exchange students can’t be rigid.  We tell the students upfront that ‘Everything is a test.’   Even if your heart is set on Slovakia, you should have the Czech Republic and maybe Hungary as your second and third choices.   If you can’t remember to write 3 paragraphs for an important interview, how can you survive abroad? 
  • We also try to group the students by country or continent for interviews.  If we only have one slot for Japan, the person who interviews the best and has the strongest application will go to Japan.  We’ll probably have someone familiar with Japan on that interview team, too.
  • We want to see your thought process.  Why did you choose those particular countries?  What links the countries?  Don’t write something generic such as ‘I like history’, ‘My friend went there, and loved it’, ‘My Spanish teacher told me it’s the best’ or ‘I heard the culture’s great.’
  • Have you done any research? Brasil is a great place to explore your African-American heritage.   Argentina is NOT in Europe.  Brasilians don’t speak Spanish.  Don’t embarass yourself.  We don’t expect you to be an expert, but we do expect you to spell the country’s name correctly.
  • We want to see a sample of your writing.  Can you express yourself clearly and concisely?

The students are not held to their country selection even on interview day. They typically have 2-3 weeks after interviews to finalize their country choice.  We try to place each student in their number one choice.  (More on placements in a later post.)


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