Frequently Asked Questions

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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.  Rotary Youth Exchange provides more than 8,000 young people a year with the opportunity to see the world the way it is best seen - from the inside out, meeting people from other lands and experiencing their cultures.  This plants the seeds for a lifetime of international understanding. 


Argentina        Bolivia              Brazil       Czech Republic      Denmark             Ecuador        Finland   

France              Germany          Hungary             India        Japan           Mexico             Poland            

Russia              Switzerland      Taiwan                         Thailand           Sweden


Prospective Students' Frequently Asked Questions:

There are many Exchange Organizations operating in the United States.  What makes Rotary Youth Exchange different from the others? 

·         Support network.  The strength of the Rotary Youth Exchange is the Rotary support and encouragement provided.  In both their sponsor district and in their overseas host district, Rotary exchange students have support from their youth exchange officers/counselors, club members and district committees to assist them acclimate to their new-adopted host country, and to help through any rough patches.  This "safety net" is virtually seamless and is available 24/7.

·         Cost.  The extensive use of pre-screened host families, Rotary counselors and Rotarians world-wide, together with financial support from their Rotary clubs, means that the cost of a 12 month exchange is significantly less expensive than private enterprise operations.  For the 2012-13 school year, the cost is $6,900.  This includes transportation, insurance, and the blazer and business cards, which identify you as a Rotary exchange student.  Once in your host country your rotary club will provide you with a stipend for your recreation needs.  Your host family will provide you with food and lodging.  Once in the host country there may be side trips available through Rotary, which are optional and would incur additional cost.  The basic fee is paid in three installments. With the annual time abroad averaging 300 days, this translates into $23/day while you are on exchange.  This opens the opportunities for Youth Exchange to many young people who might not otherwise afford to fulfill their dreams of an exchange.

·         Training.  Before going abroad, our students attend training camps, orientation sessions, language classes, and various other briefings to ensure they are as well prepared for their time overseas as possible.  This training includes public speaking, adjusting to cultural shock, getting on with people, etc.

·         Students-Standards.  With most other exchange organizations, all that is required of the student is the selection of a destination and the payment of money.  Rotary requires applicants be above average academically, be articulate, and demonstrate community leadership skills.  It evaluates applicants on their ability to cope with the many demands a period overseas in an ambassadorial role; their flexibility to adjust to new and challenging situations; and their commitment to international understanding.  When selecting exchange candidates, Rotary does not overlook students with disabilities or those from economically disadvantaged families.  The program is open to all qualified applicants on an equal basis.

·         Breadth of Experiences.  As well as a period in an overseas country living with host families and going to school, Rotary exchange students are exposed to other activities such as Rotary District Conferences, speaking at Rotary Clubs, Rotary tours, etc.  This gives the exchange student an extra dimension, and provides the students with many additional memorable experiences.

Will I be able to choose the country?  No.  Every country has something to offer, and the receptive student will have a rewarding exchange regardless of the country.  Ask any Rotary Youth Exchange student who has spent a year abroad in their new host country.

Do I have to speak the language of the country I visit? In most cases, no.  However, you will enjoy and adapt much better to your host country if you have studied the language before your arrival.   If you have never taken any language courses, you should study on your own as much as possible before your departure.

Why do I have to live with three families on the long-term exchange?  In most study abroad programs, students only get the chance to live with one host family.  With Rotary, you have the opportunity to live with up to three different families.  Because the main goal of the Rotary program is to promote peace and understanding among the different cultures of the world, you will gain greater insight into the ways of your host country by living with more than one family.

Can I work while I am abroad?  No.  Rotary Youth Exchange is a student exchange first and a cultural exchange second.  As a Rotary Youth Exchange student, you will have a student visa that enables you to live for an extended period of time abroad.  Student visas expressly prohibit you from working at a paying job at any time during your stay.

Will I be able to play sports or participate in extracurricular activities while I'm away?  Organized sports and extracurricular activities are different from country to country.  If you are interested in playing a particular sport or practicing a certain extracurricular pursuit, be certain to discuss this with your host Rotary club.  Your host club will then try to enroll you in whatever form of organized extracurricular activity you wish.

How are host families selected?  Host families are selected in much the same way you are selected as an exchange student.  They must complete an application, and an in-home interview with the individuals coordinating Youth Exchange in their area.  For your additional protection/safety, potential host families must also submit to a background check.  Host family parents do not have to be Rotarians, but many Rotary club members apply to serve as host families.

Are there any program rules?  Program rules consist of common-sense stipulations (referred to as the 5 D's): no drinking, no drugs, no serious dating, no driving motorized vehicles, and no dumb things.  Generally, as a Rotary Youth Exchange student, it is your responsibility to:

·         Abide by all program rules of your host Rotary club and district

·         Accept the supervision of the host district, host club, and host family

·         Act as an ambassador of your own country

·         Be open to new experiences and cultural differences