Youth Exchange

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The most powerful force in the promotion of international understanding and peace is exposure to different cultures. The world becomes a smaller, friendlier place when we learn that all people - regardless of nationality - desire the same basic things: a safe, comfortable environment that allows for a rich and satisfying life for our children and ourselves. At the same time, we all learn that what is "common sense" in one culture can be strange or even offensive in another. Rotary Youth Exchange provides thousands of young people and host families with the opportunity to meet people from other lands and to experience one another's cultures. This plants the seeds for a lifetime of international understanding.

The first documented exchanges date back to 1927, when the Rotary Club of Nice, France, initiated exchanges among European students. Exchanges between clubs in California, USA, and Latin American countries began in 1939, and exchange activities spread to the eastern United States in 1958. In 1972, the RI Board of Directors agreed to recommend Youth Exchange to clubs worldwide as a worthwhile international activity that promotes global peace and understanding.

The Rotary Exchange program is a true exchange as there is a one to one exchange between countries. If Canadian Rotary clubs accept 100 students, then Canadian Rotary clubs can send abroad 100 students. If 5 of them come from Italy, for example, then 5 go to Italy. Rotarians, thousands of them, volunteer their time to manage the program. Among exchange programs, we maintain the highest standards and the lowest costs.