High School Year Abroad

Rotary’s High School Year Abroad presents opportunities for high school students to advance their education, become a better person, and contribute to world understanding by allowing them to attend school in a different country. Students live with host families in their adopted land under the sponsorship and supervision of the local host Rotary Club. It is our hope that these students will be able to see firsthand the problems and accomplishments of other people of different colors, creeds, and cultures. Our program is run entirely by Rotarian volunteers, who care deeply about students and multiculturalism. The Rotary scholarship provides all students' school-related fees, a monthly stipend while abroad, plus several events and travel opportunities throughout a student's exchange program (the "outbound" months before they go, the "inbound" academic year they are abroad, and the "rebound" year they return). Because of the lengthy history of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, our long-term exchange program is the largest in the world. And because arrangements are made by local Rotarians, it is also one of the safest youth exchange programs in the world.

Qualifications for our High School Study Abroad Program

Students should be...

  • Above average in academic standing. Students do not have to be at the top of their class, but we do find that students who are in the upper third of their class have a better exchange experience.
  • NOT younger than 14 ½ NOR older than 16 ½ years of age when they apply in September. Rotary encourages students to apply as a sphpmore and spend their junior year abroad. In this way, they return to their American high school for at least one year before graduating. We do accept applications from "older" freshmen and "younger" juniors; but we can not accept applications from graduating seniors.
  • Good ambassadors for their town, for Rotary, and for their country. During their year abroad, they may be called upon to address many groups. They should possess a pleasant personality and have the ability to communicate with other people easily and to express themselves clearly.
  • Well-rounded with an ability to think through their problems and the stresses of living in a foreign environment
  • Curious and actively interested in their own environment, in the world in general and in world problems.
  • Active in their community through sports, hobbies, youth activities or church affairs. Successful students invariably are those who lead busy, active lives in their communities.
  • Flexible, especially with eating habits, to fully embrace their new culture
  • Well-adjusted, particularly in their family relationships.
  • Active in their community through sports, hobbies, youth activities or church affairs. Successful students invariably are those who lead busy, active lives in their communities.
  • Well-adjusted, particularly in their family relationships.
  • Willing to obtain ALL required immunizations 

Responsibilities of Rotary Exchange Students

Students who are sent abroad under the Rotary Youth Exchange Program are required to accept the following obligations:

  • Students are expected to obey the laws of the host country at all times and accept the discipline of the host district, club, school and the host parents (if you don't, your exchange will be terminated and you/your parents will bear any travel surcharges).
  • Students are required to sign a written statement that they will not, under any circumstances, drive a motor vehicle while abroad and under the supervision of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program.
  • Students will not be permitted to "go steady" with a boy or girl friend. Dating, preferably in company, will be tolerated, but romantic involvement is strongly discouraged to the extent that a student breaching the rule could be sent home.
  • Students are required to enroll at a high school determined by the host club and to attend classes regularly and participate fully in all school activities.
  • Students are required to learn the host language prior to departure. We expect a monitor a minimum of 2 hours per week through the supplied language program (Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur, depending on language).
  • Students may be required to address Rotary Clubs, other service organizations, youth groups and community groups during their stay in the host country and will, on their return to the United States, be expected to address similar groups on their experience as an exchange student.
  • During their study abroad, students may be required to attend official Rotary and Youth Exchange Program functions as directed by their host club.
  • Students are ambassadors for their home countries and must at all times behave in a manner which will reflect positively on their families, communities and countries.
  • Students must travel directly to the host countries and return directly to their home countries upon completion of their exchange period. Students are not allowed to stay in the host country after the termination of the exchange period.

Program Details

Object of the Program:
• Further international understanding and goodwill by being a Youth Ambassador.
• Learn and adapt to another culture, while sharing your own.
• Learn a new language.
• Help to bring peace to the world, one person at a time.

The Selected Student Will:

  • Attend high school in the host country. (Grade placement and transferability of school credit can not be guaranteed).
  • Act as a student ambassador, sharing customs and adapting to the host country’s culture.
  • Make every effort to learn the language of the host country prior to departure.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to be flexible throughout the exchange process.
  • Follow the rules, regulations, and counseling of the sponsoring and host Rotary Clubs and Rotary Districts. Rules will be discussed at orientation sessions prior to departure and at other orientations upon arrival in the host country.
  • Identify 3 or more local families willing to consider hosting the inbound Rotary Exchange Student who will be hosted in the community.

The Parents of the Selected Student Will:
• Pay the Program Fee (which includes airfare, visa or residency permit, orientation materials, medical, sickness and liability insurance, blazer, official name badge, business cards, District pins for trading, and Interview Weekend and Orientation Weekend (except hotel costs, etc.). 
• Pay costs of passport, immunizations, gifts, local travel and personal items. Additional student tours are often available during the exchange, the cost of which the student is responsible for paying while abroad.
• Abide by the rules and decisions as set forth by the Rotary International Youth Exchange Committee here and in the host country.
• Sponsoring Rotary Club (sending the student) will interview and recommend applicants for the Youth Exchange Program to District 5470.

The Rotary Club in the Host Country Will:
• Correspond with student prior to arrival, giving pertinent data of the host city and family.
• Meet and transport the student from point of arrival to host family.
• Furnish one year’s education in a local high school.
• Be responsible for the physical well-being of the student.
• Supervise the student’s activities, opportunities and experiences via a Rotary Club Counselor appointed by the hosting club.
• Provide an agreed upon monthly stipend equivalent to what a local teen would receive, to be used for personal expenses and activities.

Now that you have read about the program, if you believe you are qualified, please begin your application here.  You will need to enter your email address, then retrieve an email with temporary password, so that you can return to the application later.