By Kim Kelliher
In his exchange application, Pierre writes that he loves music and all kinds of sports: “Since young I make sports – gymnastics, climbing, tennis, fencing, skateboard, BMX, mountain bike and so on…” He is also active in the scouts and enjoys camping.
Pierre describes himself as “perseverant, perfectionist, respectful and punctual.” He has already graduated from high school in Belgium, but will take classes as a senior at Great Oak High School in U.S. history, English and marine biology, among others.
“I hope to make some new meetings, live with another culture, share different experiences, discover new horizons, new people, and new habits of life,” Pierre wrote in his application. “I’ll be a great ambassador of Belgian culture. …I want to come back with a lot of memories and stories to tell.”
As a Rotary Youth Exchange student, you’ll spend up to a year living with a few host families and attending school in a different country.
Whether you participate in Rotary’s long-term or short-term Youth Exchange programs, you’ll learn a new way of living, a great deal about yourself, and maybe even a new language. You’ll also be an ambassador, teaching people you meet about your country, culture, and ideas. You can help bring the world closer – and make some good friends in the process.
More than 8,000 young people each year have experiences like these through Rotary Youth Exchange. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. Are you ready for it?
How it worksRotary Youth Exchange is open to young people ages 15-25 worldwide. There are two basic types of exchanges: short-term and long-term.
General short-term exchange
New Generations Exchange
Read more in the short-term Youth Exchange brochure (PDF).
Read more in the long-term Youth Exchange brochure (PDF).
Youth Exchange is coordinated at the regional level by Rotary districts and at the local level by Rotary clubs. Costs vary greatly from one area to another. Typically, students and their parents cover the following expenses:
In most clubs and districts, students do not pay placement fees, so those with financial constraints can share the exchange experience.
Sharing in the costs are host families (who pay for room and board), the host community (who cover school tuition and arrangements) and host Rotary club (who offer a small stipend of usually US$50-100 monthly.)
As a Youth Exchange student, you agree to
Exchanges can take place in more than 150 countries and geographical areas. Please note, however, that the countries you visit depend on your home Rotary district. Contact your local club or district for more information. Locate the club nearest to you through Club Locator or your local phone listings, or find out whether a club or district has listed its Web site with Rotary International.
RI doesn’t offer scholarships or university programs specifically for Youth Exchange students, but local Rotary clubs and districts may offer financial assistance. Contact Rotarians in your area to find out. If you’re interested in university programs, explore Rotary Foundation scholarships.
Youth Exchange is administered by Rotary clubs and districts. Contact Rotarians in your area to apply. Read more.
By hosting a Youth Exchange student in your home, you’ll make a young person’s dream come true, and you and your family will share an unforgettable and fulfilling experience.
As a host family, you will
Host families aren’t compensated financially. The program is run entirely by dedicated volunteers, which helps keep costs low.
Dedicated Rotarian volunteers have kept Youth Exchange vital for decades. Rotarians work behind the scenes to handle the logistics of each exchange. For long-term exchanges, the host club and district arranges school enrollment, tuition, and other educational matters.
Youth Exchange officers are the program’s leaders. Elected at the club and district levels, these volunteers are trained to serve as liaisons between students and the district Youth Exchange committee.