Am I eligible to be a Rotary exchange student?
Do I get to choose my country?
Do I have to know another language?
Will I get school credit for my exchange year?
What if I have problems during my exchange?
Do my parents have to host an inbound student?
OK, bottom line, what does it cost?
How do I apply?
The Rotary Youth Exchange program is open to Secondary school students who will be between the ages of 15 and 18 at the time of departure (January after applying) and may not have completed year 12 school at that time of application. It does not matter whether your parents are members of a Rotary Club - the program is open to children of Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike.
Exchange student candidates must be outgoing, self-confident, friendly, adaptable, adventurous, willing to learn a foreign language, and have above average grades in school. The application form will require you to tell about yourself and your family, and provide references from school teachers and administrators.
A very popular question, and the answer is ... yes and no. The countries we exchange with are those we know run top-quality programs and we re-evaluate them each year. There are a limited number of exchanges available with each country and we will not overload any country in either direction, inbound or outbound. Therefore, since you're going to spend a year overseas you will select five preferred countries. You also designate those countries that you (or your parents) would not accept an assignment to. The majority of students will get one of their top three choices. But remember, flexibility is a vital characteristic for a successful exchange student and that starts right at the beginning.
No, not at all. Naturally, it would help to have some familiarity with the language of the country you go to, but we don't limit the program to those who are already bi-lingual. In fact, one of the great benefits of the program is quickly gaining fluency in another language. Typically, our students become fluent in 3-4 months, even without any previous knowledge of the language! But we strongly recommend that all participants start learning their target language as soon as they are selected for the program. The more of the language you know up front, the better your experience will be.
This is always a tough question because it varies from school to school and country to country. You should sit down with your school counselors when you apply and when you know what country you are going to for your year. Pre-planning makes a big difference.
Rotary International and Rotarians in District 9600 take very seriously our responsibility for the safety and security of all Rotary exchange students, both inbound and outbound. In November, 2002, the Board of Directors of Rotary International adopted the following Statement of Conduct for Working with Youth:
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."
Parents of outbound students are expected to host inbound students for a period of up to 12 months (the hosting can be spread period for several years, e.g. 3 months a year).
Probably a lot less than you think. You see, Rotarians are all volunteers, so there are no salaries or commissions paid to the people who administer this program. It does cost money, though, to make the arrangements, present the orientations, provide student materials and supplies, etc. And, of course, there's airfare, insurance, and other travel expenses. Here is a breakdown:
Rotary exchange students spending a year abroad are provided with a monthly allowance from their host Rotary club. This is usually the equivalent of arround the US$100, but may vary by location.
Almost all students are also required to deposit an Emergency Fund with their host Rotary Club. Usually U$300 to U$600, this money is there for unexpected expenses (medical, dental, telephone, etc.), and, if it is used during the year, it must be replenished by you or your parents.
How do I apply?
All applicants must be sponsored by a local Rotary Club, so it's important that you make contact with one in your area. If, however, you don't know a local Rotary Club, or if you'd like help in this task, you can certainly contact us for assistance. We will follow up with you, and refer your inquiry to someone in your area to get you on the right track.
Once you've made the decision to apply you must contact your local Rotary Club. They will interview you to check your eligibility for the program and forward your information to the District Youth Exchange Committee if they believe you have the qualities to be a Rotary Youth Exchange Student.