Rotary’s Long-Term Exchange 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. 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.
Through many years of experience, we have found the following general qualifications useful:
• Above average 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.
• Students should be 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.
• Students should possess well-rounded personalities with an ability to think through their problems and the stresses of living in a foreign environment.
• Students should have an inquiring mind and be actively interested in their own environment, in the world in general and in world problems.
• Students should be 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.
• Students should be well-adjusted, particularly in their family relationships.
• Students should not be younger than 15 ½ nor older than 17 ½ years of age when they depart in July or August. Rotary encourages students to take their junior year abroad. In this way, they return to their American high school for at least one year before graduating. Juniors may apply to study abroad during their senior year; but we can not accept applications from graduating seniors.
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 and 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 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 stay abroad, students may be expected to attend the annual Rotary Conference in their host District as well as other 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.
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.
Qualifications of Applicants:
• At least 15 ½ years of age and not over 17 ½ years at the time of departure. (Most of our receiving countries require that students are no older than 17).
• Student must be a freshman, sophomore or junior in high school at time of application.
• Student must demonstrate scholastic competence (class ranking in upper third) and be involved in extra-curricular activities at school and in your community.
The Selected Student Will:
• Attend high school in the host country. (Grade placement and transferability of school credit cannot 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.
The Parents of the Selected Student Will:
• Pay the participation 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, inoculations, 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.
• Pay costs of host country language camp, if required.
• Sponsoring Rotary Club (sending the student) will interview and recommend applicants for the Youth Exchange Program to District 5470.
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.