Start an exchange
Give a young person the opportunity of a lifetime by starting a Rotary Youth Exchange. Exposure to new cultures and customs is a powerful way to promote global understanding and peace. And it’s not just students who benefit – your Rotary club and host families will too.
What types of exchanges are available?
Exchanges can be short term or long term.
Short-term exchanges last from a few days to several months and often take place when school is not in session. Students typically stay with a local family in the host country, but they might also attend a youth camp or tour the country with students from around the world.
During a long-term exchange, students spend a year in another country living with different host families and attending classes at the local school.
Exchanges vary widely among districts, so contact your district’s Youth Exchange chair to learn what’s available in your area.
How can my club get involved?
Although Youth Exchange is administered by the district, a successful exchange depends on the active involvement of local clubs, Rotarians, their families, and the community.
If your club is interested in participating, contact your district Youth Exchange chair to learn how you can get involved. Before starting an exchange, refer to the Youth Exchange Handbook and your district’s policies for details.
In addition to arranging logistics for local and foreign students, your club may be asked to:
- Coordinate club Youth Exchange activities with the district
- Attend district Youth Exchange meetings
- Ensure that students attend mandatory events, such as orientations or district conferences
Learn about other responsibilities and club roles, including Youth Exchange officers, Rotarian counselors, and host families, in the Youth Exchange Handbook.
Sponsoring local students who go abroad
Arranging for a young person to spend time in another country is a significant responsibility. You may be asked to:
- Promote the program to students in the community
- Interview candidates for final selection by the district
- Provide orientation or training before departure
- Work with students’ parents to ensure they understand their financial obligations and the program rules
- Maintain contact with students during the exchange
Hosting foreign students in your community
Your club will serve as the welcome center for visiting exchange students. Depending on how your district’s exchange program is administered, you may be asked to:
- Recruit, screen, and select reliable host families
- Serve as a liaison between the club and the school the student will attend
- Train volunteers and host families
- Communicate with students before they arrive
- Provide orientation once students have arrived
- Involve students in your community and club activities, including Interact, Rotaract, and RYLA events
Multidistrict Youth Exchange groups
Districts often work together to organize Rotary Youth Exchange activities across a larger region. Contact your district Youth Exchange chair if you have questions about multidistrict Youth Exchange groups in your area.
Student safety and district certification
Traveling abroad is an exciting experience, but it can also pose risks, including political unrest, natural disasters, crime, injury, or disease. To ensure the safety of exchange students, your district must obtain RI certification before participating in Rotary's Youth Exchange program. Review the current list of noncertified districts before planning an exchange.
You can find Rotary’s Statement of Conduct for Working with Youth and more information regarding student safety and risk management in the Abuse and Harassment Prevention Training Manual and Leader's Guide.
To learn more about RI certification, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I apply for an exchange?
Contact a Rotary club in your area to learn about exchange opportunities.
Resources & reference
- Short-Term Youth Exchange brochure
- Long-Term Youth Exchange brochure
- Youth Exchange Handbook
- Youth Exchange certificate
- Rotary Youth Exchange newsletter
- Youth Exchange Application Schema (for programs utilizing databases)
- Check our discussion groups
- District Youth Exchange chair
- District governor
Questions? Ask us at email@example.com.