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.