- Am I eligible to be a Rotary exchange student?
- What is the long-term program?
- What is the short term program?
- Do I get to choose my country?
- Do I have to know another language?
- Will I get school credit for my exchange year?
- Is there any future advantage to being a Rotary
- What if I have problems during my exchange?
- Do my parents have to host an inbound student?
- OK, bottom line, what does it cost?
- How do I apply?
- What else do I need to know?
- What if we just want to host an inbound
- What are the responsibilities of
a host family?
The Rotary Youth Exchange program is open to high school students, or those
who have just graduated, between the ages of 15 and 18½ on departure. It does
not matter whether your parents are members of a Rotary Club - the program is
open to children of Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike.
Exchange student candidates must be outgoing, self-confident, friendly,
adaptable, and adventurous, willing to learn a foreign language, with above
average grades in school. The application form will require you to tell about
yourself and your family, and provide references from school teachers and
Rotary offers two types of exchanges for high school students. For a truly
amazing, life-changing experience, there is nothing like the long-term exchange.
Students spend a year in another country, becoming fluent in the language and
immersed in the culture, and developing friendships that will last a lifetime.
Participants attend high school, and may or may not get credit back home for
courses taken (but colleges often recognize the value of exchange programs, with
credit for language ability and greater acceptance rates!). Each student will
have up to four (or more) host families through the year, to broaden the
experience and see the variations that exist in all cultures.
It takes a very special teen to consider him or herself capable of spending a
year abroad, but the rewards and experiences are unlike anything you may ever
know again. If you think you can do this, don't let the opportunity pass you by.
Interested in a taste of the world, and willing to share yours with others?
Then the short-term program may be for you. Rotary's short-term exchange program
usually takes place during the summer, and brings together paired families from
different countries. Typically, you would spend 3-4 weeks overseas with a family
that has a son or daughter of approximately the same age. And then, you and your
new host sibling would come back to the US for a 3-4 week stay with your family
(the order can be reversed, with the foreign student coming here first -
whichever works best for the families is fine).
The short-term program does not generally include school attendance, and
instead provides its educational experiences through exposure to a new language
and culture. Naturally, the friendships that develop often last a long time,
with repeat visits a very common occurrence.
For younger students, or perhaps those wanting to sample the experience
before committing to the long-term program, Rotary's short-term exchange program
can be a good fit. This program is offered by some, but not all, of the member
districts in RYE-Florida. Contact your local Rotary club or district to find out
more, if you are interested in a short-term exchange.
A very popular question. And the answer is ... yes and no. The countries we exchange
with are those we know run top-quality programs, and we re-evaluate them each
year. There are a limited number of exchanges available with each country, and
we will not overload any country in either direction, inbound or outbound. Therefore,
if you're going to spend a year overseas, we ask you to select five preferred countries, and we allow you to
refuse any countries that you would not accept an assignment to. The majority of
students will get one of their five choices. But remember, flexibility is a
vital characteristic for a successful exchange student, and that starts right at
No, not at all. Naturally, it would help to have some familiarity with the
language of the country you go to, but we don't limit the program to those who are already bi-lingual. In fact, one
of the great benefits of the program is quickly gaining fluency in
another language. Typically, our students become fluent in 3-4 months, even
without any previous knowledge of the language! But we strongly recommend that
all participants start learning their target language as soon as they are
selected for the program. The more of the language you know up front, the better
your experience will be.
This is always a tough question because it varies from school to school and
country to country. You should sit down with your school counselors when you
apply and when you know what country you are going to for your year.
Pre-planning makes a big difference. If you have question contact your Youth
Exchange Officer or the District YE Chairman.
Yes! Past history has indicated that having the Rotary Exchange Year on your
college application carries more weight in many cases than your GPA, class
ranking, or even SAT or ACT score. Colleges are looking for students that are
going to successfully complete their studies and graduate. By completing a full
year exchange in another culture you are showing them that you have the
"right stuff". Future employers will take similar views of your
year's experience, not to mention the benefits of becoming bi-lingual or
Want to know more about this? We are pleased to refer you
to an excellent book entitled The New Global
Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition, and Get a Truly
International Education. You can order it through online booksellers
such as amazon.com, or learn more at
The design of the Rotary Exchange program is such that if you have problems we
have the resources to help you solve the problems, starting with a Rotary Club
right in the community in which you are living. You will have multiple avenues
of help available to you to resolve any problem that might come up.
Rotary International and Rotarians in Florida
take very seriously our responsibility for the safety and security of all
Rotary exchange students, both inbound and outbound. In November, 2006, the
Board of Directors of Rotary International adopted the following
Statement of Conduct for Working with Youth:
"Rotary International strives to create
and maintain a safe environment for all youth who participate in Rotary
activities. To the best of their ability, Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouses,
partners, and other volunteers must safeguard the children and young
people they come in contact with and protect them from physical, sexual,
and emotional abuse."
Parents of long-term outbound students are not required to
host. Many, of course, choose to do so, partly because they have an empty room,
but also so they can experience some of what their son or daughter is going
through. We encourage that, but we also recognize that not all families are able
to host. We do ask outbound students and their families to help find host
families in their own communities, to accommodate the inbound student that will
be hosted by their Rotary Club, and your application form will include a page
for providing referrals to potential host families in your area.
Probably a lot less than you think. You see, Rotarians are all volunteers, so
there are no salaries or commissions paid to the people who administer this
program. It does cost money, though, to make the arrangements, present the
orientations, provide student materials and supplies, etc. And, of course,
there's airfare, insurance, and other travel expenses. Here is a breakdown:
You must submit a non-refundable fee with your application in order to be
considered for the program. That application fee is $150. If you are accepted, the cost for the program is $4,800
That includes your round trip airfare, Rotary-approved medical insurance,
orientations (overseas if required, as well as here), your Rotary blazer, pins,
business cards, and other supplies. A schedule is available to spread the
payments out over several months. The cost is the same regardless of destination
- that way, you can go to the country that you most desire and are best suited
for, without comparing airfares. You will be responsible for the
cost of obtaining a passport along with a visa for entry into your country
(usually $150-$300), additional spending money while you're on exchange, and any
optional tours offered through Rotary during or at the end of your year.
Rotary exchange students spending a year abroad are provided with a monthly
allowance from their host Rotary club. This is usually the equivalent of between
$50 and $100 US, but may vary by location. If you want or need spending money
beyond that, it is up to you and your parents to provide it. Of course, you do
not have to pay for room and board, school fees, etc.
Almost all students are also required to deposit an Emergency Fund with their
host Rotary Club. Usually $300 to $500, this money is there for unexpected
expenses (medical, dental, telephone, etc., and, if it is used during the year,
it must be replenished by you or your parents. If it is not used, it is returned
to you at the end of the year.
To summarize, then, the program costs are the initial application fee, $4,800
advance of departure (paid on a schedule to be provided), passport and visa
fees, an Emergency Fund to be taken with you, whatever additional spending money
you and your parents agree on, and, in some countries, a nominal cost for
language instruction classes.
All applicants must be sponsored by a local Rotary Club and
district, so it's important
that you make contact with someone in your area. If, however, you don't know a
local Rotarian, or if you'd like help in this task, you can certainly complete
our inquiry form. We will follow up with you,
and refer your inquiry to someone in your area to get
you on the right track.
Throughout the state, there will be Rotary Youth Exchange
informational meetings in the fall. These meetings are for interested
students and their parents, and will provide detailed information for you
about the program, the application and interview process, and more.
Once you've made the decision to apply, you can start
working on the application forms, which are available
here. Consult with Rotary throughout this
process, to make sure you're doing things correctly.
Read more about the application process
Well, you might want to take a look at the Ten
Commandments for Rotary Exchange Students.
Rotary Clubs are always looking for potential host families. If you'd like to
enrich your family's experience by bringing in a Rotary exchange student,
contact your local Rotary Club, or complete our inquiry form. And thanks so much
for your interest!
To accept the exchange student as a new member of your family. The student will
be governed not only by the rules of the program but by the rules of your
household. You are responsible for the safety of the exchange student the same
as for your own children. Although you might become a bit more of the soccer mom
or dad for normal everyday activities, it is not your responsibility to act as a
taxi service or a tour guide. Rotarians for the hosting club will be helping in