What is exchange?

Geographically, exchange may describe the productive interaction through communication, commerce, and movement. Globalization, economics and trade, and human migration all contribute to the concept of exchange. Although exchange can lead to conflicts over the division and control of resources, it also includes elements of peace, cooperation, and cultural richness.

Instructional Ideas

Consult National Geography Standards 10 and 11: An increasingly interdependent world results in different culture groups coming into contact more than ever before, and people must trade with others in increasingly complex global networks.

    • The questions in the Questions tab provide a framework for discussing how exchange reflects both cultural and economic interdependence.
  1. You engage in a global exchange every day before you even wake up! How do your clothes and accessories connect you to people around the world? Use our fun Global Closet Calculator game to better understand your own global network.

    • Answer

      Answers will vary! Investigate the manufacturing origins of the clothes, accessories, tools (such as pencils and computers), and culture you use and consume.

  2. Where are some places in which cultural exchange is being used to support peace and cooperation?

    • Answer

      Answers will vary! Think about conflicts on the local, regional, and global scale.

      • How might exchange help local cliques or clubs better understand each other in school or extracurricular activities? 
      • How might exchange help communities in different parts of the country cooperate to improve economic growth and cultural respect? 
      • How might exchange help leaders and citizens of nations in conflict better understand each other and identify common goals?

  3. One of the most familiar venues of exchange is through culture. How do the cultural activities you engage in use exchange?

    • Answer

      Answers will vary! Think about different cultural activities:

      • science, including citizen science 
      • engineering and technology 
      • music 
      • religion and spirituality 
      • dance 
      • literature, such as books, comics, maps, fairy tales, and fan fiction 
      • visual arts 
      • language, such as slang or adopted words from foreign languages 
      • traditions, rituals, and holidays 
      • politics 
      • television, movies, and video 
      • fashion 
      • video games


trade, or the exchange of goods and services.


sharing of information and ideas.

cultural exchange

sharing and communication between cultures, resulting in the adoption of new or borrowed behaviors.


connection of different parts of the world resulting in the expansion of international cultural, economic, and political activities.


movement of a group of people or animals from one place to another.


buying, selling, or exchanging of goods and services.