Rotary Exchange Student Program

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Bremerton Rotary is proud to participate in the  Rotary International Youth Exchange Program.  Within the program there are two separate exchange programs.  There is a Long-Term Exchange Program (LTEP)  to exchange students with a foreign country for a year.  Our club sponsors one  (and sometimes an alternate)  local high school student(s) to spend the school year abroad in a foreign country. This is a tremendous opportunity for students to get to know a foreign culture  and learn a foreign language  while promoting international good will and understanding.

Long-Term Exchange Program

Our club hosts  one inbound  LTEP foreign exchange student from abroad each year.  Inbound students attend Bremerton High School while living with three host families for about three months each. Rotarians in our club include the exchange students in a variety of events, such as family outings, sports and cultural events and vacations. In the past we have hosted students from such countries as  Belgium, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, the Czech Republic,  Brazil,  Croatia, Japan and Hungary.
 
The host Rotary club in the city the student is assigned to will provide the student with a stipend, which amounts to approximately $100 per month. The Bremerton club also pays one-half the round trip transportation costs to the city the student is assigned to.  The student's family is responsible for the remaining costs.
 
Short-Term Exchange Program

We also participate in the Short-Term Exchange Program (STEP), which is a summer exchange program.  Selected students are paired up with a foreign student for a 4-6 week exchange.  One of these students travels to the other student's home town and lives with that student's family for 4-6 weeks.  Then, the two students travel together to the other student's home town and stay with the first student's family for 4-6 weeks.  At the end of that time period, the first student returns to his home.  Which student travels first depends on the students' schedules (e.g., school, family travel).
 
The STEP is open to all qualified students.  However, the Rotary does not provide any financial support for this program.  That is the families involved responsibility.  Rotary matches the participating students and families.

How to Apply
 
Each year we make a presentation to interested students at Bremerton High School in early September.  An interview schedule is established to interview interested students and their parent(s) approximately one week later.  Based on these interviews, we select one, or in some cases, two LTEP students. 

They then fill out an extensive application form including medical, dental, and school information, which is due early in November.  The selected student(s) and their parent(s) then attend Confirmation Interviews in Victoria, B.C. in early December.  At the conclusion of these interviews, the student(s) is/are confirmed to participate in the LTEP. 

Shortly thereafter, the primary student is informed of the country they will be assigned to.  Information on the specific city will not be known until about April.  The alternate student has to wait until there is an opening for that student.  We are usually able to send all alternate students on exchange, although it is not guaranteed.
 
We select any number of qualified STEP students.  They fill out a smaller application form, which is due the end of December.  Students can select whether they would rather exchange with a boy or girl.  Students are notified of their foreign exchange families in the early spring and they make arrangements to travel directly with the exchange family.
 
To ensure the safety and well being of Rotary exchange students, the following was adopted by the Rotary International Board of Directors, November 2002.

"Rotary International is committed to creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for all participants in Rotary activities.  It is the duty of all Rotarians, Rotarians' spouses, partners, and other volunteers to safeguard to the best of their ability the welfare of, and to prevent the physical sexual, or  emotional abuse of, children and young people with whom they come into contact."
 
More information on the Rotary District 5020's Youth Exchange Program may be found at:  www.5020rye.org