One of the Rotary projects which is not well known is the chance it provides young people to travel and mingle with other young people from around the world. Youth services is one of Rotary's Avenues of Service and part of that is the Rotary Youth Exchange program.

Young people of high school age can apply for one of two opportunities to travel. There is a Short Term Exchange Program and a Long Term Exchange Program. 

The Short Term Exchange Program allows students to travel to a foreign country for approximately 4 weeks and reciprocate by bringing a young person from the other country home to visit with them. This is a family to family exchange in which the Canadian student stays in the home of a young person in another country and a student from the other country returns to stay with the student's family here.

The Long Term Exchange lasts for an entire year and does not have the return requirement. Instead the Nanaimo student would stay in 4 different homes for 3 months each, while attending the same school. This allows the student to sample life in the foreign country and to build language skills in the home language. There is also an opportunity to host a student from another country for a period of time as we often have students visit Nanaimo and always require host families for the visitors.

Students are asked to provide the name of a country of choice and where that is possible the exchange is made with that country. Sometimes there is a lack of host families or some other difficulty that makes it impossible for the student to travel to the country of choice, but every effort is made to make the choice work for the student.

While away the student is cared for by the Rotary clubs of the country being visited. Rotary has a structure in place to ensure the student is safe and comfortable while exploring a different way of life.

In Nanaimo the five Rotary clubs co-operate to send students away and to bring exchange students here. If you are interested in learning more about the student exchange programs offered by Rotary, contact any Rotarian or use the contact information on this page to contact our club. It could change your life.