Despite the opportunities of personal development and academic advancement, becoming a foreign exchange student represents many responsibilities.  Exchange students are required to adhere to the laws of a foreign country.  When exchange students travel to the United States, they are required to follow American laws.

The opposite is true of American exchange students who study abroad.  From country to country, laws, penalties and violations are different.  As a result, the laws of the United States Constitution do not protect American foreign exchange students.  American exchange students can be arrested for breaking laws or committing minor infractions that are legal in the United States.  Consequently, becoming a foreign exchange student requires a little legal research.  When the data is available, various Consular Information Sheets include the details of unusual arrest patterns in specific countries.

Becoming a foreign exchange student or participating in a foreign student exchange program calls for responsible behavior.  As an example, Texan adolescents in foreign student exchange programs should be aware that the possession of firearms in other countries is against the law.  In the Caribbean, Mexico and Canada, the possession of firearms is illegal in these countries.

Not to mention, when students participate in a foreign student exchange program and transport a firearm or ammunition to another country, they are not allowed to return to the United States with the weapon or artillery unless the items are registered with the United States Customs prior to their student travel.

Another legality to consider before becoming a foreign exchange student is the law on photography.  Even though a foreign exchange program may require photographs for academic purposes, a number of countries may harass or even detain foreigners and students for photographing any of the following structures and facilities:

  • Border boundaries
  • Government buildings
  • Military installations/headquarters
  • Municipal – public servant venues
  • Transportation facilities

In summation, it is vital to familiarize oneself with local laws before becoming a foreign exchange student.  To ensure your comfort, be sure to research a prospective foreign exchange country’s laws to determine how similar or different the laws compare to your native homeland.