Assignments for Outbound Students

As you have heard several times already, your exchange experience will be a key part of three years of your life. This first year is filled with preparation, the second year is actually being away, and the third year is a time of integration and reflection.

What will happen if you don’t turn this paper in? Your commitment to the privilege and responsibility of being an ambassador will be seriously questioned, and your exchange may very well be cancelled. What will happen if you do a half-baked job? The only person you will cheat will be yourself. You probably have never had such a good reason to do research before in your life, not to mention opportunities for real life application! Much of the fun and learning that you get from travel is from anticipation and preparation. The more you know before you go the richer your experience will be. Let the adventure begin!

Reply Promptly to Mail, E-mails, and Messages – Remember, we are counting on you (not your parents) to manage your exchange. If you get an e-mail from the Youth Exchange Chair, your Country Coordinator, or a Rotary counselor, here or overseas, reply to it right away. When you are sent paperwork and instructions from Tzell Youth Exchange Travel or from CISI Insurance, be sure to do what you are asked to do, completely and promptly. Take charge, be efficient, make it happen, and the result will be a wonderful, unforgettable, life changing year.

Language Learning

  • Prepare an introduction of yourself, in your target language. Refer to the handout from the language seminar for details. It doesn’t have to be any longer than a minute or two, but does need to be more than one or two sentences. You will be presenting these introductions at the next orientation meeting. Practice makes perfect.
    Deadline: Your district's training meeting/language camp. Contact your District Chair for date.
    Presented at your district's meeting

  • Rewrite your application letter in your target language. This is going to be much harder, so get help from wherever you like (inbound students, Rotex, language teachers, etc.). If you don’t have a copy of your original application, your Country Coordinator can provide one. You can either translate your letter, or, if you prefer, write something new. The translated letters will be sent to your host district and ultimately to your first host family. You definitely want to make a good first impression.
    Deadline: May 15.
    Turn in to your Country Coordinator by e-mail with a copy to the RYE Florida Outbound Coordinator.

  • Develop your formal language acquisition plan. It is up to you to determine what resources to use, and to apply yourself to this critically important task.
    Deadlines: February 1.
    Turn in to your Country Coordinator by e-mail with a copy to the RYE Florida Outbound Coordinator.

  • Continues Language Learning. It is expected that intensive language study will start immediately, and will continue until departure, making your best effort to achieve functional fluency prior to departure.
    Deadline: You are expected to demonstrate a beginner’s proficiency in the language by March 15, and be able to have, at minimum, some basic conversations by our June orientation.

Start Preparing Your Speech

 When you are overseas, you will be given the opportunity to present a program to your host Rotary Club, and perhaps to other clubs and organizations as well. When you do that, you represent your family, our community, our country, and Rotary. You may also be invited by your sponsor Rotary Club, herein the US, to make a similar presentation before you leave (in English, of course). For either or both of these opportunities, you need a well-planned speech and some good pictures. 

Start building an outline of your speech.And also start collecting pictures that you can show with this presentation (a photo album with prints is OK, but hard to share; Power Point presentations are probably best). What should the photos be of? Your family, your home, your town, your school, your friends, activities you like to participate in, places you like to visit, and landmarks or famous sites in our area (yes, you can include Disney World, Cape Canaveral, etc.). 

Deadline: Your district's training meeting/language camp. Contact your District Chair for date.
Presented at your district's meeting and to your sponsoring Rotary Club.

Make and Maintain Your Contacts

Get in touch with, and follow up with, as many people as you can connected to your destination – current inbound students, current outbound students, Rotex, etc. Learn what you can about your country from each of them, and work with your Rotex friends as well. When you find out your specific destination, and the names of your host district Youth Exchange Chairperson, host club Youth Exchange Officer, and host families, be sure to write to them promptly. A note to the District Chair, thanking him or her for the opportunity, and saying how much you’re looking forward to a year in their country, goes a long way toward establishing your reputation. Especially if it is written in their language! Use your contacts to make that happen. Also, when you hear from overseas, please let your Country Coordinator and District Chair know.

Deadline: Before the Outbound Orientation #2 in June.

Research Project

To help you prepare for your year away, you are required to do in-depth research on the part of the world where you will be living next year and to begin (or continue), in earnest, your language study. Both of these activities will enhance and enrich your experience in your host country and ease your transition into a new culture, community and family. 

This research project is meant to be a family affair. It may be the only time in your life where it is OK for your parents to be co-authors of a homework assignment! For parents, having in-depth knowledge of the country and the culture where your child will spend the next year will help you to support them better and help you feel more connected to that part of the world while they are away. A once unfamiliar place will begin to feel not so distant and strange. 

The outline is in the recourse box for the research that you need to do. You are expected and encouraged to use multiple resources: libraries, the Internet, and interviews/conversations with people from or very familiar with your host country. We recommend that you NOT rely on Wikipedia, as the information there is not always reliable. You are required to list your resources at the end of the paper and note the resources that you found to be the most helpful. Future students may find these resources to be of assistance! 

The first step is to look at the outline and ask: “Which of these questions do I not know the answer to about my own country and culture?” That is your starting point. As an ambassador you should be knowledgeable about all of the issues on the outline as it pertains to your own country. You will be asked these questions over and over while on exchange. This will not be part of your paper but you are expected to be able to converse intelligently about all of these issues. If you have gaps in your knowledge about your own country’s geography, history, economy, political system, current events, etc., now is the time to get up to speed. You will be asked over and over about your own government’s policies on trade, global warming, the war in the middle East, and the presidential elections, to name just a few topics. You will be expected to share your knowledge and your opinion in a respectful and diplomatic way. You can practice these conversations around the dinner table or in the car now to prepare. 

You already know your destination country, so you can certainly get started on some of the details of the project. In time, when you hear about the actual region, town, and school that you will be going to, you can drill down to the next level with your research. 

This paper should be no less than 12 pages (excluding your list of resources). You do not need to do formal footnotes unless you are also using this paper for a project at school, which you may be able to do. You may find that, for some of these topics, you would use the same resource to learn about your own country. For example, as you are looking up the demographic data on your host country, that same source may have the demographic information for your home country that you will be asked about on your exchange. Doing parallel research may be a wise use of your time and energy. 

Deadlines:  By March 15, you should have completed your research for half of the topics listed (not necessarily in the order listed on the Outline). Submit it electronically by that date, to your assigned Country Coordinator and to your sponsor district Youth Exchange Chair and/or counselor. The remainder of your research will be due by June 15. Many of you might not receive information about your host city/town or school until late spring. If necessary, you can submit an addendum to your paper three weeks after you find out exactly where you are going. 


Rotary Youth Exchange Florida Policy on Academic Dishonesty


When completing an assignment for RYE Florida, students are expected to do original work for the assignment unless specific prior approval is granted by your District Chair.

Plagiarism violates the central core of Rotary’s 4-Way Test. It involves stealing another person’s work and claiming it as one’s own. It occurs whenever one directly copies another person’s intellectual effort and integrates it into their class work without giving proper credit to the author.

Paraphrasing is defined as a restatement of a text or passage giving the meaning in another form (Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, 1996). When one paraphrases but intentionally omits authorship of the work, this,too, is a serious violation of academic honesty.

As a Rotary International exchange student, you have an individual responsibility to understand what cheating,plagiarism, and paraphrasing are. The student must also be aware that the consequences for cheating and plagiarism, or for paraphrasing without proper attribution, are severe. Whenever you have doubt about what constitutes cheating, plagiarism, or paraphrasing, contact your District Chair. With the advent of the Internet, the potential for cheating by simply cutting and pasting information into a paper is tempting. Be aware that these dishonest activities will not be tolerated and RYE Florida staff have access to increasingly sophisticated search engines to test the validity of student work. Plagiarism, in particular, is easily traced.