- What is the club's role in the long-term program?
- What is the club's role in the short-term program?
- What will it cost the club to sponsor an
- What will it cost the club to host an inbound
- How do we find exchange student
- An exchange student candidate just called us.
What do we do now?
- Our club got a call/e-mail from a Rotarian
overseas, looking for a place for his child. What should we do about this?
- Our local high school soccer coach wants us to
help bring in a star player as an exchange student. How do we do that?
- Can our children and grandchildren
participate in Rotary Youth Exchange?
- Do host families have to be Rotarians?
- So how do we get started?
What is the club's role in the long-term program?
Rotary clubs that participate in the long-term Youth Exchange
program are demonstrating their commitment to International Service in one of
the best, most direct, most meaningful, and most fun ways possible. Clubs will
seek out and sponsor local (outbound) students to spend a year overseas in a
remarkable, life-changing experience, and will host one or more foreign
(inbound) students for a year in your community.
Under the leadership of a club Youth Exchange Officer,
Rotarians visit high schools and/or local community organizations to tell
teenagers about the opportunities in the Youth Exchange program, meet with
interested students and their parents, and interview the students to determine
their suitability for the program. Clubs are urged to invite their outbound
candidates to one or more Rotary meetings before the student leaves, to help
them learn more about Rotary and the sponsoring club. Outbound students should
be given a few club banners to exchange overseas.
For the inbound students, the club is responsible for finding
host families and arranging for schooling, in addition to providing the student
with a monthly allowance (see below). Ideally, there should be three or four
different host families through the year, so the student gets to enjoy a variety
of experiences, several families get to enjoy the student, and no one family is
over-burdened. The club must get approval from a local high school for the
student's enrollment there, and that information, along with the identity of the
first host family, must be submitted to the District YE Committee at least three
months before the student's arrival.
The host club must also designate one of its members to serve
as the inbound student's Counselor, to meet with the student on a regular basis,
keep on top of the student's progress through the year, help resolve problems,
and provide a direct link to the Rotary club. The Counselor can be the Youth
Exchange Officer or a different member, but the Counselor cannot be the current
Host clubs should try to bring their inbounds to at least one
Rotary meeting each month, so as many members as possible can meet the student.
It's also a great idea to involve the student in club activities, whether they
are community service efforts, social events, or whatever. These events allow
the student to meet more Rotarians, and vice versa, opening up wonderful
opportunities for future times together and greater international understanding.
What is the club's role in the short-term program?
Rotary's Short-Term exchange program offers teenagers a unique
opportunity to spend part of a vacation with a family in another country, and
then share an equal time here with a foreign teenage guest. The program is a
family-to-family exchange, usually during the summer months when school is not
Clubs wishing to offer this program in their communities need
only to find students and families who wish to participate. The club then
interviews the students and parents, and, if they are acceptable candidates,
forwards their applications on to the District YE Committee. As with long-term
students, it's a nice idea to invite the outbound student and parents to a
Rotary meeting, to get to know the members and gain an understanding about the
club and the organization as a whole.
Some clubs schedule a special activity for both students
during the inbound part of the exchange - a cookout or other outing, or perhaps
just an evening at a club member's home. Inviting both students to a Rotary
meeting is, of course, always a nice idea.
Please note that Short-Term exchanges are organized on a
district-by-district basis, not by the RYE-Florida multi-district. Not all
member districts in Florida offer short-term exchanges. Check with your
District YE Chairperson to learn more.
What will it cost the club to sponsor an
Not very much at all, actually. A few club banners and one or
two meals as guests of the club is all that's required. Many clubs choose to
provide a partial scholarship to long-term outbound students, to help offset the
costs of the exchange, and while we certainly would encourage clubs to do so, it
is not mandatory or expected.
(Note: District 6950 imposes a fee of $750 on its clubs to
sponsor an outbound student.)
What will it cost the club to host an inbound
As part of the Youth Exchange program, Rotary Clubs are
required to provide a monthly allowance to long-term exchange students. This is
specified on the Guarantee Form (part of the student's application), and is
mandated by the US State Department for issuance of student visas. Our
guidelines currently set the amount at $75 per month. This money is paid
directly to the students, to help offset the cost of school lunches and other
regular expenses, and is a valid use of charitable Rotary funds.
Additionally, hosting clubs in RYE-Florida contribute to
an Inbound Student Activity Fund that makes possible events such as the
Inbound Orientation weekend in August, Disney World trip in December, and the Sea Camp excursion in February.
Most member districts bill the hosting clubs directly for this amount.
The cost of providing a Rotary meal to an exchange student who
visits the club regularly should also be considered an expense of the program,
and some clubs also plan on gifts for the student's birthday and Christmas, and
for a year-end going away present.
How do we find exchange student
If you think that most teenagers could not be exchange
students, and could not handle the challenges of a new language, people, and
culture, well, you're absolutely correct! But there are exceptional students in
every school who would be perfect for this program, and would jump at the chance
to take part, if only they knew about it. So the first step is to get into the
schools and talk to the kids!
One good place to start is with your local Interact Club.
There you have students who already have some knowledge about Rotary (or they
should, anyway), and the faculty member who sponsors the Interact Club should be
more than open to a speaker from Rotary. But limiting the audience to Interact
members excludes other local students, and that's something you don't want to
do. We have found that foreign language teachers are usually very receptive to
Rotary representatives talking to their students about the YE program, and we've
been very successful following that route.
Your District Youth Exchange Committee is more than willing to
help. They have experience talking to teenagers, and can explain all the details
of the program in a way that will excite, rather than bore, them. Contact your
District YE Chairperson for help - you'll be surprised at how many students in your
own community would love to spend a year overseas.
An exchange student candidate just called
us. What do we do now?
A good first step is to refer them to this website (www.ryeflorida.org),
where they can find plenty of information - just like you're doing right now. It's
important for the club Youth Exchange Officer to meet with the student and
his/her family to get a handle on their qualifications and motivation, and to
answer the many questions they may have. If the YEO is new to the position, or
would like some help, just contact the District YE Committee - they should be
make someone available to assist.
Once you've met the student and decided that your club will
sponsor him/her, then work with the candidate to complete the application form
and make sure it is forwarded on to the District YE Committee in advance of the
Our club got a call/e-mail from a Rotarian
overseas, looking for a place for his child. What should we do about this?
Unfortunately, some of our Rotary colleagues overseas will
take unfair advantage of their membership and try to open up an opportunity for
their own children. As a matter of policy, any such requests should be
immediately forwarded on to the District YE Committee. But Rotary
International regulations prohibit private exchanges, or even club-level
exchanges. All YE arrangements must be made at the district or multi-district
Our exchanges are established based on years of experience,
with districts whose programs we know we can rely on, both for selection of
inbounds as well as hosting of our outbounds. It is almost always true that
attempts to arrange private exchanges are a result of a student's not meeting
the criteria of the local district, or the parents' trying to push the student
into something they really don't want. Without the proper selection and
orientation process, the chances of a student's exchange being successful are
dramatically reduced. Therefore, it is rarely a good idea to endorse an independent request
for an exchange, because it really puts the reputation of our entire program at
Our local high school soccer coach wants us
to help bring in a star player as an exchange student. How do we do that?
You probably already guessed the answer to this one. We don't.
Rotary does not puts its stamp on exchanges that are not the product of regular
Rotary Youth Exchange procedures. A student in another country must apply
through their local Rotary Club, be selected and endorsed by the local district,
and be recommended by the district to us. It is not the purpose of this program
to help a soccer coach win a league championship. Our goals are much more
important - to build international friendships, break down barriers and
stereotypes, and create understanding that transcends political boundaries.
Sorry, coach, you'll have to look elsewhere.
Can our children and grandchildren
participate in Rotary Youth Exchange?
YES! YES! YES! The Rotary Youth Exchange program is
open to children of Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike. Because this is
not a program of the Rotary Foundation, there is no restriction on who may
participate, and we can certainly send your club members' children and
grandchildren, if they would like to go. At the same time, though, be careful
not to restrict participation to offspring of your fellow Rotarians. Both the
short-term and long-term programs offer wonderful opportunities to those very
special teenagers who recognize its importance and are willing to take on its
challenges. And keep in mind that parents of exchange students can also be
potential new members of your club!
Do host families have to be Rotarians?
Absolutely not. Though some clubs prefer to have the first
family be a Rotary family, perhaps to cement the relationship with the club,
there is no requirement that all or any of the host families be Rotary members.
In fact, host families, like families of outbounds, often discover Rotary
because of this program, and ultimately join Rotary Clubs.
But the important thing to remember is that any reputable
family in your community is eligible to host a Rotary exchange student.
So how do we get started?
It's easy! Contact the Youth Exchange chairman in your
district (who is that?). Schedule one of the Youth
Exchange committee members as a speaker
for your club, and start talking about hosting an inbound student next year
(those arrangements need to be made several months in advance, so it's never too
early). Make plans to talk to your area high school students early in the fall, for
the long-term program the
following year. Invite an inbound student or former outbound student to speak at
your club to help inspire the membership. And get ready for one of the most
rewarding, most wonderful programs that Rotary has to offer. Welcome to Rotary