Asia - Africa - Pacific Rim
South and Central America
Long-Term Outbound Exchanges
The long-term exchange is for high-school students age 15-18.5 at the time of the start of the exchange and typically lasts a full academic year - or about 10 months. A list of possible exchange countries is listed at left. It is important to note that a Rotary Youth Exchange is NOT an academic exchange; it is purely a cultural exchange. As such, we cannot guarantee the earning or transfer of credits, graduation, or any other academic achievements through the exchange. Any of these MAY indeed be possible - it is up to you, the student, to work with first your local school system, and then later your exchange school, to see what is possible.
What to Expect
You should truly expect to have a transformative experience - possibly one of the best of your entire life. Many students come back bilingual, more mature, independent, with a feeling of empowerment of their own capabilities and a newfound wonder for culture and life. However, the best things in life do not come easy. A year away from your family and friends takes courage and commitment. Home-sickness is not uncommon, and each year some students come home early. This experience is not for everyone. HOWEVER, with hard work and determination on your part, you can make this experience unforgettable. Rotary can help you in your quest.
Long-term exchanges typically cost between $4,500 and $5,500. These costs are for airfare, insurance, training, and supplies. With many estimates of $10,000 - $15,000 per year to raise a high-school student in the US, parents will be happy to get rid of you for one year for so little.
How Do You Apply?
You should begin your application by completing the form on the Get Started tab and then contacting your local Rotary Club. If you don’t know a member of your hometown club, we will help put you in contact with them. Make the contact with your local Rotary Club! The process always starts with a local club or one that is close to your city.
Your club contact will direct you to the online application. Once you have completed your application, present it to your local Rotary Club president or youth exchange chairperson. The Rotary Club’s Youth Exchange Committee will review your application and set up an interview. A member of the club, called a Youth Exchange Counselor, will guide you through the approval process and provide you with additional information. The Local Rotary Club makes the decision whether or not to recommend you as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student.
When completing your application, be prepared to upload family pictures, medical forms, personal and family letters as well as those forms requiring a signature. Handwritten applications will not be accepted. All signatures, including references and medical professionals (you will need to visit both your doctor and your dentist), must be signed in BLUE INK. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FIRST PICTURES THAT YOUR HOST FAMILY WILL SEE ARE THE ONES THAT YOU SUBMIT IN YOUR APPLICATION. THOSE PICTURES AND YOUR APPLICATION WILL BE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION.
The Country Selection Process
Students and parents sometimes mistakenly believe that making an application and being selected to be a Rotary Exchange Student automatically means that the student gets to choose the country in which he or she wants to make the exchange. Each student completes a Country Selection Form. From the list of countries on the form, the student identifies in order the top ten countries to which he/she wishes to go. A committee of officers from Ohio-Erie reviews the applications. Based on qualifications, skills, and the countries selected, the committee makes a decision as to which country the exchange student is appointed to go as an Ambassador of Rotary Youth Exchange.
Because Rotary Youth Exchange is an "exchange," by agreement, Ohio-Erie has established a set number of students who will be traded with a given country. Some countries agree to exchange only one student while others may agree to exchange as many as 15. Any country to which Ohio-Erie agrees to exchange, must equal in exchange the number agreed upon between countries or multi-districts. The officers who make up the selection committee review each application in detail making the appointments with deliberation and caution. Should a student be appointed as an Ambassador Rotary Youth Exchange Student to a country to which he/she does not wish to go, the student has the right of refusal. The exercise of the right of refusal terminates the exchange.
All of the volunteers who have worked with Rotary Youth Exchange have heard many stories about students who did not get their "first choice." Almost always, when the student returns, he/she believes that the country to which they were sent could not have been better. Rotarians want their exchange students to gain not only language and cultural experiences, but also to become ambassadors of peace and understanding. A great Youth Exchange experience begins with an openness to experience that which has not been experienced before. Something in your application has led Rotary to believe that the exchange student will be an ambassador of peace and understanding.