What is the ‘experience exchange’? In its simplest form, it refers to a way of measuring what value there is to an activity. Value is not a matter of commodity like money, goods or services. Rather, the value is something that is measurable by experience, knowledge, emotions, and intuition.
Knowledge – this includes general human knowledge such as knowledge of the processes – how things work or what relationships result from those processes – and their characteristics. Emotion – this includes feelings and motivation, knowledge of processes, knowledge of human relationships and their characteristics, and so on. Intuition – this is an intuitive idea or perception based on personal experiences. All three are important. Then there are the four factors: the impact on the host/interpreter/builder, the experience exchange itself, and the processes themselves. If you want to design and build sustainable economic development, knowledge and emotions must be considered.
The idea of exchanging value is an old one. For example, Adam Smith, the classic thinker, spoke of a “general exchange of services.” According to Smith, exchange of services implies that people have a desire for the good that others can produce for them at a cost lower than their own. This in turn creates a demand for those services that people may not otherwise provide themselves.
This theory is the basis for all of the economic development theory and is central to how it relates to experience. How do we use this idea to design economic development programs? For a program to be successful in developing countries, the process of experience exchange needs to take place.
Let’s see how experience and value chains relate. When someone is willing to exchange their experience or knowledge, they are putting their particular value – and experience or knowledge of their own – into the hands of someone else. They do not gain knowledge, they do not gain experience, and they do not acquire value. In order to experience the value, they must be willing to take some risk, and to accept something less than what they are demanding. Without this willingness, the exchange does not take place.
There are several ways in which people can help develop countries. One way is to participate in development projects. Participatory development is a method of economic development where a group of people are engaged in planning, producing and participating in development projects in the host country. If a group of people wants to develop a particular business, they need to participate and plan along with the host community. Their experience will help them design a viable business, innovate, draw up plans for implementation, market it and eventually reap profits.
Another way to engage in experience exchange is through internship. Internship programs allow a group of students to exchange their time and experience for a short period of time. They can learn much about the culture of the host country while gaining valuable experience on their way to a career or education program. There are many internship programs in the United States and throughout the world.
The best way to develop countries is through experience exchange programs. This approach has been shown to have beneficial results and a lasting impact on development. Those who participate receive the opportunity to develop skills that they can apply to their career or education program when they finish their studies. While receiving international training might not make students rich, it can definitely develop them into responsible human beings with a desire to contribute.
There are a number of programs in the United States and around the world that students can participate in. In exchange for a limited amount of international experience, students can participate in a specific program designed to develop certain aspects of leadership, problem solving and teamwork. Centers like the John J. Gillicut School of Business and Wellesley College offer internships. Students can also participate in a full or part-time faculty exchange where they work alongside experienced and skilled professors and students.
The benefits of having an experience exchange are clear. Participants gain valuable international experience, develop important interpersonal skills, build appreciation for the host country and enhance their ability to be diverse contributors to their host society. Exchanging time and experience allows participants to better understand the experiences of other cultures. It also enables students to see how various countries affect each other, how governments and businesses to develop and how the environment and social services vary throughout the experience. Experience exchange furthermore allows participants to develop their self-awareness and self-management skills needed for navigating life in a foreign country.
Unfortunately, the majority of exchange experiences do not lead to an exchange. Students who participate in these programs may end up leaving the country and going to work elsewhere in the same field. For those who go on to develop significant career skills, however, experience exchange can prove extremely beneficial. By exchanging valuable and applicable experience from a foreign nation, participants develop essential life skills that will help them later in their careers.