Who can apply for the exchange program?
High School students of good character, warm personality and average to above-average academic performance. Candidates should be adaptable and flexible, well mannered, and want to learn about other countries and cultures. Children of Rotarians and non-Rotarians are eligible and encouraged to apply. AGE LIMITATIONS: For most countries, students must be at least 15.5 and cannot be older than 17.5  on August 1 of the departure year. A few exceptions are available in countries that accept students from ages 15-19. 

Why are Rotary’s student exchange programs better than other programs?
The Rotary International Exchange Program is volunteer-driven. It is organized and administered by volunteer Rotarians and their families throughout the world within the local Rotary club, the district, and regionally. Rotary volunteers screen student applicants, select the exchange students, prepare them, and arrange hosting abroad, travel, insurance, school admission, visas, etc. All of this is done by Rotarians as an unpaid service. 

Because we depend on volunteers, the Rotary Program is the least expensive, safest and highest quality program. Students are provided local supervision by members of the local hosting Rotary club, who are directly involved in the welfare of these students. Because of this close connection with local Rotarian advisors, students away from home are more comfortable knowing that Rotarians from their host club are available to help and offer guidance. Students often attend Rotary Club meetings and get to know Rotarians who are generally the local business and professional leaders of that community. Sometimes these connections benefit students later in life in their academic, business or professional lives.

How will I benefit from being abroad?
Living in a foreign country has a powerful effect on your maturing process. Managing your own finances and making decisions gives you more confidence and independence. You learn to think and converse fluently in another language. You develop more confidence in speaking before groups. You become more tolerant of other people, different cultures and different personalities. Your youth exchange experience will be priceless, something that you can’t replicate any other way.

Is the MPRYE Long-Term Exchange Program officially approved?
Yes! Through its membership in Wessex, Mountain & Plains PRYE is a member of the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), a nonprofit organization committed to setting standards for international educational travel and monitoring compliance with those standards. Through Wessex, MPRYE is also approved by the U.S. Department of State.

Why is it called an exchange program? Does that mean that my parents must host a foreign student?
Hosting is not required, but strongly encouraged.  An exchange is made between Rotary organizations here and abroad with our students going abroad and their students coming here. A Rotary Club that sponsors students from its community to go abroad also hosts foreign students in exchange. Ideally, parents of outbound students will host a foreign exchange student for a part of the year and help the Rotary Club to identify at least 2 other host families that will be approved by the club.  An additional benefit of hosting is the perspective it will give you and your family to serve in a hosting role, so they can better understand what it’s like while you are abroad.

Are educational credits transferable?
Some Colorado High Schools do accept credits. However, it depends upon your school system and the foreign school. To get credit, you MUST make arrangements with your local school in writing PRIOR to your departure. Universities may give up to 6 credits for a foreign language, but you must apply for it with that school’s administration.

Do I have to speak a foreign language to be accepted?
It depends on the country you select. The program is cultural and academic in nature. Generally, it lasts an academic year and requires that students attend the local high school which usually teaches in the foreign language. The need for a working knowledge or proficiency in the language varies depending on the country. For example, in India, schools teach in English, whereas in Romania they teach in Romanian. Knowing as much as possible of the language upon arrival in your host country is very beneficial.  We encourage you to independently study as much of the language as possible before you go abroad.

What are the different types of exchanges offered?
Long-Term Exchanges last for an academic year, during which the student lives with 1-5 host families and attends high school in the host country. Mountain & Plains RYE also offers a Short-Term Exchange Program (STEP). STEP usually takes place during the summer months and involves two students, one U.S. and one foreign, who spend about two months together, first with the U.S. family and then with the foreign family.
• Email STEP Inquiries for more information

Where can I go on my exchange?

  • Exchange Countries. Exchanges can occur between any two countries in which there are certified Rotary Districts. Rotary Clubs in approximately 65 countries and regions annually sponsor or host youth exchange students.  Mountain & Plains RYE has had exchange relationships with over 20 countries that are Rotary Districts or Multi-Districts. We have traditionally exchanged with more than 25 foreign Rotary districts.

May I travel while on exchange?
While this is not a tourist program, travel is sometimes available with the host families and members of Rotary Clubs. Also group tours may be arranged by Rotary which are usually at the student’s expense. You may not travel alone or without the permission of your host District.

How many host families will I have?
Rotary Exchange Students are generally hosted by 1-5 families during their stay, but always in the same school district. This allows for a broader understanding of the cultural and social/economic aspects of the region, while simultaneously allowing more families to participate in the program. This also encourages a variety of activities during the year.

How much should I expect to pay?
Many other exchange programs cost $10,000 or more. In comparison, the long-term exchange program through Rotary should be viewed as a scholarship covering the costs of living and studying abroad for an academic year. Room and board for the exchange student are volutarily provided by the host family, but the student and the student’s own family assume certain financial obligations. The participation fee for students may vary from year to year as airfares and other expenses change.  Included in the participation fee are: round-trip air transportation and costs for visas, the cost of the Selection and Orientation weekend and orientation weekend (except individual hotel and transportation), a Rotary Blazer, medical and liability insurance, District pins for exchanging, business cards, and a name badge. The host Rotary Club will provide a modest monthly allowance (around $60 - $100 in local currency), and will pay the student’s tuition for all required academic programs. A program has been established by the Mountain & Plains RYE Committee to provide limited assistance for those students who demonstrate financial need. To be considered for local and district financial assistance, you must follow the requirements listed on our Scholarships page.  The sponsoring Rotary Club must award a grant with matching funds in order for you to be eligible for additional District assistance.

Are there any program rules?
Although Rotary International offers support to local Rotary Youth Exchange programs through publications and suggested guidelines, Rotary districts and clubs run their programs independent of Rotary International. Therefore, each club or district program will have its own specific rules for students to follow. Students accepted into the program sign and agree to abide by a list of program rules at the time of application and prior to their departure from home. While the hosting Rotary Club will discuss all program rules with you, you and your parents may wish to review the program rules on your application form to be sure that everyone has a clear understanding of what is expected. Basic program rules consist of common-sense stipulations, such as no drinking, no use of drugs, no driving of any type of motorized vehicles and, especially important, the need to obtain special permission for travel while on the exchange.
Rules and Conditions of Exchange

Email outbound@mountainandplainsrye.com with further inquiries