Studying abroad  is the dream of many students as it gives a perfect opportunity to gain international exposure, learn about a new culture and access highly-acclaimed education programs. The study abroad and student exchange programs provide you with this opportunity; however, the two formats are different. So, let’s understand them better.

What is a study abroad program?

When you enroll in a university which is based in a different country, you have to complete the admission process at that university. If the university selects you, you will receive a confirmation letter so that you can proceed with the rest of the procedure to fly abroad. For instance: Let’s say you enrolled in ABC university, so you pay the respective university’s fees, arrange accommodation and proceed with the visa application process.

What is a student exchange program?

Many universities worldwide have tie-ups with other universities located in different countries. So, under the exchange programs, these universities swap the students for a brief period to allow them to develop a global outlook and gain new life experiences. For instance: Let’s say you enrolled in ABC university, which shares a formal agreement with XYZ University to exchange students. So, you will be an official student of ABC university, but you have an opportunity to attend a few semesters at XYZ university.

Types of an exchange program

When you choose to study abroad, you have to select from VET, diploma, graduate, post-graduate and PhD courses. There are two types of student exchange programs available: International Student Exchange and Academic Student Exchange. In the former course, the students can select their areas of specialisation, whereas, for the latter course, the students will have to enroll for a course that aligns with their research domain.

University fees

If you are enrolled in a study abroad program, you will have to pay the course fees to your university. On the other hand, if you are going to a different university under a student exchange program, you don’t have to pay tuition fees to the host university. The information about the exchange program will be available on your university website or will be communicated to you during the application/admission process.


The duration of  study abroad  programs will defer depending on the graduation, post-graduation, and doctorate programs that you select. Student exchange programs have a shorter duration, and this program will be available for a semester of 1 year.


Your university will have preset eligibility for study abroad programs. For instance, you should have completed your degree course to enroll for a full-time post-graduation course. However, you don’t have to meet this requirement for a student exchange program. Instead, you have to finish a couple of semesters of your full course as per your university requirement.


When you plan to study abroad, there are several factors that you need to consider, such as coursework, universities, and the cost of education. It is necessary to opt for a country that aligns with your academic and career aspirations. For exchange students, the destination will depend on the university tie-ups. Therefore, before selecting a course, do check partner universities and their locations to ensure they meet your expectations.

So these are a few differences between the study abroad programs and student exchange programs that will help you make a well-informed choice. If you have already chosen your path, then don’t let the lack of funds create a hurdle. You can opt for an education loan to finance your higher education. For more information, please feel free to connect with us. All the best!

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