“If it makes you happy … it can’t be that bad”: An explanatory study of students’ well-being during international exchange



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International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives


This study reports on adolescents’ experiences as exchange students in an international exchange program. Based on a literature review and multivariate analysis of original on-line survey data collected from 408 students from 40 countries that had spent a year in one out of 37 destinations, it is concluded that the student’s language proficiency and perceived social support during the exchange impacted students’ wellbeing during the exchange, while cultural distance between the student’s home country and destination nor the student’s adventurousness as a personality trait had an impact. It is concluded that the students’ social support and ability to interact during the exchange play an important role in enabling exchange students to reap the benefits of international and intercultural exchange in their formative years.



international exchange, cultural distance, student exchange, wellbeing