Is there an Age Requirement?
The answer is "Yes". To be considered for Rotary Youth Exchange, the applicant needs to be between the ages of fifteen and seventeen and a half on the 1 January in the year of departure. Exceptions to this age-based requirement will rarely be accepted by the District Youth Exchange Committee.
Are there any other restrictions?
The applicant must be a full-time student, both prior to departure and during the period of exchange overseas. The 12 month Visa granted to Rotary Youth Exchange Students permitting them to stay in the country of exchange is a Student Visa and it is a requirement that the exchange student attends school on a full-time basis throughout the period of exchange.
THE SELECTION PROCESS
Local Rotary Club Selection
To be considered for Rotary Youth Exchange, the applicant must be nominated to the District Youth Exchange Committee by any one of the Rotary Clubs within District 9600.
Individual Rotary Clubs in District 9600 may undertake local advertising seeking interested Youth Exchange candidates. They may conduct an Information Night, advertise through the local media or at local secondary schools. However, feel free to approach any local Rotary Club in your area and ask them to include you in the Rotary Youth Exchange Club Selection process.
Past Youth Exchange Students are an excellent source of information and they may be invited to speak at local schools. The Rotary District Youth Exchange Committee also promotes the Youth Exchange Program on this website and continually updates the information on it.
Students are selected by local Rotary Clubs on the basis of their written application and a personal interview.
Written Applications must be submitted on the correct application form and presented to the local Rotary Club before the specified date - usually before the end of April each year. It is acceptable to apply to more than one Rotary Club, if desired.
Applicants and possibly their parents are interviewed by a panel of members from the Rotary Club. Interview questions will cover areas such as school, hobbies, sport, leadership, employment, family relationships, local and general knowledge, Rotary and your potential participation in the exchange program.
The successful applicant from the Club is then nominated to the Rotary District Youth Exchange Committee for consideration.
Rotary District Youth Exchange Committee Selection
The Rotary District Youth Exchange Committee assesses all nominated applicants before arranging exchanges with overseas Host Rotary Clubs.
District Selection takes the form of three assessment tasks:
1 Formal Application - Available online and to be completed by each nominated student with assistance from their sponsor Rotary Club Counsellor, their parents and the Rotary District Youth Exchange Committee Secretary. This application includes school and medical reports as well as personal information with parents and students endorsement of the exchange rules.
2 Selection Weekend - this compulsory selection weekend is designed to challenge participants through exposure to a range of varied tasks, public speaking opportunities and other interesting and enjoyable activities.
3 Formal Interviews - a 2 hour interview broken into 5 panels with each panel focusing on key characteristics deemed necessary for a successful exchange.
Throughout the entire District Selection process all participating students, with the consent of their parents, are given many opportunities to prioritise the countries of exchange that are available, however, as there are limited places in any nominated country, a willingness to accept an exchange in any of the available countries is necessary.
Rotary provides training
Rotary Clubs have an important role in this exchange. Once a student is selected as a Rotary Club's Exchange Applicant, the Club will provide one of their members to act as a counsellor. The counsellor's role is to maintain close contact with the student until their time of departure. Even following departure, this contact is expected to continue during the year of exchange, not only with the student but also the student's family, in conjunction with the District Rotary Youth Exchange Country Counsellor. This keeps everyone informed of the progress of the exchange.
The Rotary District Youth Exchange Committee also provides training days and briefings, in the period between student selection and departure. These are compulsory meetings for all selected students, their parents and, where possible, their Club Counsellor or a Club representative when the counsellor is unable to attend. The clear objective of these Briefings is to focus on preparing the student and their family for the year ahead - warts and all! They are very interactive and informative.
What to do now?
Applications in writing must be submitted on the appropriate application form and forwarded to your closest participating Rotary Club who will then contact you.
We hope this information is useful to you as you consider this opportunity. If you're ready to take the plunge or have any questions please contact your local Rotary Club or feel free to contact the District Rotary Youth Exchange Committee Chairman.