School Year

Am I eligible to be a Rotary exchange student?
The Rotary Youth Exchange program is open to high school students, or those who have just graduated.

Students must be between the ages of 15 and 19 on departure. Students younger than 16 or older than 18 ½ will have a more narrow list of countries to which they can exchange due to age restrictions.

The program is open to children of Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike.

Exchange student candidates must be:
• outgoing,
• self-confident,
• friendly,
• adaptable,
• adventurous,
• willing to learn a foreign language,
• have above average grades in school.

Is the SCRYE exchange program officially approved?
The design of the Rotary Exchange program is such that if you have problems we have the resources to help you solve the problems, starting with a Rotary Club right in the community in which you are living. You will have multiple avenues of help available to you to resolve any problem that might come up.

Rotary International and Rotarians in SCRYE take very seriously our responsibility for the safety and security of all Rotary exchange students, both inbound and outbound. In November, 2002, the Board of Directors of Rotary International adopted the following Statement of Conduct for Working with Youth:

“Rotary International is committed to creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for all participants in Rotary activities. It is the duty of all Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouses, partners, and other volunteers to safeguard to the best of their ability the welfare of and to prevent the physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of children and young people with whom they come into contact.“

What is the school year program?
For a truly amazing, life-changing experience, there is nothing like the long-term exchange. Students spend a year in another country, becoming fluent in the language and immersed in the culture, and developing friendships that will last a lifetime.

Participants attend high school, and may or may not get credit back home for courses taken (but colleges often recognize the value of exchange programs, with credit for language ability and greater acceptance rates!). Each student will have up to three (or more) host families through the year, to broaden the experience and see the variations that exist in all cultures.

It takes a very special teen to consider himself or herself capable of spending a year abroad, but the rewards and experiences are unlike anything you may ever know again. If you think you can do this, don’t let the opportunity pass you by.

What are the advantages of being a Rotary Exchange Student?
Being away in a foreign country has a powerful broadening and an accelerating effect on your maturing process. Managing your own finances and making decisions give you more confidence and independence to take care of yourself. 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.

Past history has indicated that having the Rotary Exchange Year on your college application carries more weight in many cases than your GPA, class ranking, or even SAT or ACT score. Colleges are looking for students that are going to successfully complete their studies and graduate. By completing a full year exchange in another culture you are showing them that you have the “right stuff”. Future employers will take similar views of your year’s experience, not to mention the benefits of becoming bi-lingual or bi-cultural!

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 a service. They are not paid to provide this service.

Because we depend on volunteers, the Rotary Program is the least expensive, but 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.

What does it cost?
Probably a lot less than you think. You see, Rotarians are all volunteers, so there are no salaries or commissions paid to the people who administer this program. It does cost money, though, to make the arrangements, present the orientations, provide student materials and supplies, etc. And, of course, there’s airfare, insurance, and other travel expenses.

Other exchange programs cost from $7000-10,000 for a long-term exchange. And it is estimated that if the student paid for all the expenses for a cultural/study year in another country it would cost between $8,000 to $10,000, or more. So, essentially the Rotary Youth Exchange Program is a scholarship that covers the majority of the cost of a year living and studying abroad.

The cost of the long-term program varies by Rotary district. Therefore, you need to contact a member of a Rotary club in your area, a representative of your local district (click here to find your Rotary District), or email info@scrye.org for details about the costs. In general, the cost will be approximately ½ of other programs.

In the Long Term Program, Rotary exchange students are provided with a monthly allowance from their host Rotary club. This is usually the equivalent of between $50 and $100 US, but may vary by location. If you want or need spending money beyond that, it is up to you and your parents to provide it. Of course, you do not have to pay for room and board, school fees, etc.

Long Term students are also required to deposit an Emergency Fund with their host Rotary Club. Usually $400 to $600, this money is there for unexpected expenses (medical, dental, telephone, etc.), and, if it is used during the year, it must be replenished by you or your parents. If it is not used, it is returned to you at the end of the year.

Do I get to choose my country?
A very popular question. And the answer is, … yes and no. Your sponsoring Rotary district exchanges with those Rotary districts that they know run top-quality programs. There are a limited number of exchanges available with each Rotary district. As part of the application process, you will be asked to provide regions of the world, or perhaps countries, with which you have the most interest. The vast majority of students will get one of their top choices. But remember, flexibility is a vital characteristic for a successful exchange student, and that starts right at the beginning.
Do I have to know another language?
No, not at all. Naturally, it would help to have some familiarity with the language of the country to which you go. But the program is not limited to those who are already bi-lingual. In fact, one of the great benefits of the program is quickly gaining fluency in another language. Typically, students become fluent in 3-4 months, even without any previous knowledge of the language! But all participants are strongly recommended to start learning their target language as soon as they are selected for the program and learn the country in which they are placed. The more of the language that the student knows up front, the better his/her experience will be.
Will I get school credit for my exchange year?
This is always a tough question because it varies from school to school and country to country. You should sit down with your school counselors when you apply and when you know what country you are going to for your year. To get credit, you MUST make arrangements with your local school principal prior to your departure. Universities may give 6 credits or more, but you must apply for it with that school’s administration. If you have any questions please contact your local Rotary club or your Rotary District Youth Exchange Officer (click here to find your Rotary District).
How many host families will I have?
Rotary Exchange students are generally hosted by more than one family during their stay, but always in the same school district. This allows for a better understanding of a cultural, social/economic cross section, while allowing more families to participate in the program. This should permit a variety of activities during the year.
Can I travel?
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 that are usually at the student’s expense. Unsupervised travel is not allowed.
What if I have problems during my exchange?
The design of the Rotary Exchange program is such that if you have problems we have the resources to help you solve the problems, starting with a Rotary Club right in the community in which you are living. You will have multiple avenues of help available to you to resolve any problem that might come up.

Rotary International and Rotarians in SCRYE take very seriously our responsibility for the safety and security of all Rotary exchange students, both inbound and outbound. In November, 2002, the Board of Directors of Rotary International adopted the following Statement of Conduct for Working with Youth:

“Rotary International is committed to creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for all participants in Rotary activities. It is the duty of all Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouses, partners, and other volunteers to safeguard to the best of their ability the welfare of and to prevent the physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of children and young people with whom they come into contact.“

Why is it called an exchange program? Does that mean that my parents must host a foreign student?
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. For long-term exchanges, parents of outbound students are not required to host. Many, of course, choose to do so, partly because they have an empty room, but also so they can experience some of what their son or daughter is going through. We encourage that, but we also recognize that not all families are able to host. We do ask outbound students and their families to help find host families in their own communities, to accommodate the inbound student that will be hosted by their Rotary Club.
What if we just want to host an inbound student?
Rotary Clubs are always looking for potential host families. If you’d like to enrich your family’s experience by bringing in a Rotary exchange student, contact your local Rotary Club, a representative of your local district (find your Rotary District), or complete our inquiry form. And thanks so much for your interest!
What are the responsibilities of a host family?
To accept the exchange student as a new member of your family. The student will be governed not only by the rules of the program but by the rules of your household. You are responsible for the safety of the exchange student the same as for your own children. Although you might become a bit more of the soccer mom or dad for normal everyday activities, it is not your responsibility to act as a taxi service or a tour guide. Rotarians for the hosting club will be helping in these areas.
What else do I need to know?
Well, you might want to take a look at the Ten Commandments for Rotary Exchange Students.

Ten Commandments for Rotary Exchange Students
1.Take the initiative in adapting to your host family. a.Find out and willingly conform to family rules and customs.
b.Volunteer to help around the house and garden; keep on volunteering, even in the face of rejection, until it is clear that your assistance is not wanted or appropriate.
c.At least try any strange food. Rejection of meals prepared by the host mother can become a very sensitive issue.
d.Unfailingly carry out your responsibilities for maintaining your own room, and whatever other duties may be assigned to you. Your goal should be to create as little extra work as possible for others (usually your host mother).
e.Say “thank you” whenever someone does something for you. Appreciation goes a long way to softening the impact of the workload your presence in the household inevitably creates.
f.Express interest in your host family, the town and its history, and any local “sights”.

2.
Be a serious student (you are a student, not a tourist!)
a.Take school seriously. Do your homework. Participate in class as much as possible.
b.Remember that you are an extra burden on your teachers. Express appreciation for their understanding and assistance.
c.Join appropriate school activities, clubs, and groups.
d.Try to imprint yourself in the collective school memory as having made a positive contribution through your presence.

3.
Establish good relations with your host Rotary Club
a.Meet and cultivate your Rotary Counselor. He/she can open doors for you, solve problems, and contribute to enriching your exchange experience.
b.Attend as many Rotary meetings and functions as possible or allowed.
c.Respond positively to invitations to speak to your host Rotary Clubs and other organizations.
d.Respond positively to invitations from Rotarians.
e.Make clear your appreciation of their sponsorship.

4.
Understand and appreciate the host country’s culture and values.
a.Learn before you go as much as possible (geography, history, political system, educational system, cultural artifacts and achievements).
b.Question your hosts on these subjects.
c.Learn the language, and work as hard as necessary to do so.
d.Enthusiastically view whatever they want to proudly show you.
e.Fit in gracefully to adult as well as peer social situations.

5.
Reflect and communicate your country’s culture and values.
a.Learn before you go (as in 4a above).
b.Answer all questions to the extent you can. Be honest, but not confrontational. Acknowledge deficiencies, but put them in perspective in relation to what has been done, is being done, and what it is possible to hope to achieve.
c.Show pride in your country, but don’t be prideful.

6.
Don’t try to convert the natives!
a.Be a “Good Will” Ambassador. The exchange of ideas and knowledge is encouraged, but your role is not to change their minds or practices (religion, capitalism, social practices, etc.).

7.
Don’t make unfavorable comparisons between your country and the host country
a.Things are merely different … not better or worse.

8.
Practice the utmost courtesy to everyone
a.Always ask permission where appropriate; don’t assume you have it (host family, Rotary, school).
b.Say “Thank You” and write “Thank You” notes.
c.Adopt host country social practices.

9.
Be happy with your lot as a Rotary Exchange Ambassador.
a.Don’t envy other exchange students, who may be better housed, or more entertained, etc.
b.Be glad of your own unique experience and the opportunities it presents.
c.Limit your association with other exchange students.

10.
Say an enthusiastic “Yes” to invitations and opportunities to go places and do things.
a.Within, of course, Rotary and host family rules and with necessary permissions.

How do I apply?
All applications must be sponsored by a local Rotary Club, so it’s important that you make contact with a member in a Rotary club in your area. He or she will put you in touch with the Youth Exchange Chairperson of that club regarding details and application forms. Your high school counselor is usually familiar with the local Rotary Club and can help you make that contact. If, however, your high school counselor and you don’t know a local Rotarian, or if you’d like help in this task, you can certainly complete our inquiry form. We will follow up with you, or refer you to someone in your area to get you on the right track.

Once you’ve decided to go ahead with it, you need to complete the full application. We recommend that you use the on-line form for the year-long application as you can just enter the basic information and print it out in a neat, orderly format. Otherwise, you’ll need to contact your District to get a hard copy of the form and locate a typewriter to complete it. Read the instructions carefully, and follow them to the letter. If you have any questions, contact a member of a Rotary club in your area, a representative of your local district (click here to find your Rotary District), or email info@scrye.org .

 

Summer

Am I eligible to be a Rotary exchange student?
The Rotary Youth Exchange program is open to high school students, or those who have just graduated.Students must be between the ages of 15 and 19 on departure. Students younger than 16 or older than 18 ½ will have a more narrow list of countries to which they can exchange due to age restrictions.

The program is open to children of Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike.

Exchange student candidates must be:
• outgoing,
• self-confident,
• friendly,
• adaptable,
• adventurous.

Is the SCRYE exchange program officially approved?
Yes! SCRYE 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 to monitoring compliance with those standards. It is also approved by the U.S. Department of State. The youth exchange program in your Rotary district is certified by Rotary International.
What is the summer program?
Interested in a taste of the world, and willing to share yours with others? Then the short-term program may be for you. Rotary’s short-term exchange program usually takes place during the summer and brings together paired families from different countries. Typically, you would spend 3-4 weeks overseas with a family that has a son or daughter of approximately the same age. If your exchange is to a country in the southern hemisphere, you may have the opportunity for your visit to be up to 6-8 weeks. And then, you and your new host sibling would come back to the US for a similar period of time with your family. For exchanges to the southern hemisphere, our students typically host during the summer months of those countries, i.e., January – February. The order can be reversed, with the foreign student coming here first. This will depend upon the country involved and what works best for the families.The short-term program does not generally include school attendance, and instead provides its educational experiences through exposure to a new language and culture. Sometimes your exchange will provide an opportunity to spend a few days in school while you are abroad either at its start or end. Such an opportunity serves to expand your exchange experience. Naturally, the friendships that develop often last a long time, with repeat visits a very common occurrence.

For younger students, or perhaps those wanting to sample the experience before committing to the long-term program, Rotary’s short-term exchange program can be ideal.

What are the advantages of being a Rotary Exchange Student?
Being away in a foreign country has a powerful broadening and an accelerating effect on your maturing process. Managing your own finances and making decisions give you more confidence and independence to take care of yourself. 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.Past history has indicated that having a Rotary Youth Exchange experience on your college application carries more weight in many cases than your GPA, class ranking, or even SAT or ACT score. Colleges are looking for students that are going to successfully complete their studies and graduate. By completing an exchange in another culture you are showing them that you have the “right stuff”. Future employers will take similar views of your exchange experience.
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 a service. They are not paid to provide this service.Because we depend on volunteers, the Rotary Program is the least expensive, but 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.

What does it cost?
Probably a lot less than you think. You see, Rotarians are all volunteers, so there are no salaries or commissions paid to the people who administer this program. It does cost money, though, to make the arrangements, present the orientations, provide student materials and supplies, etc. And, of course, there’s airfare, insurance, and other travel expenses.Other exchange programs cost approximately $6000 for a short-term exchange. So, essentially the Rotary Youth Exchange Program is a scholarship that covers the majority of the cost.

The cost of the short-term program varies by Rotary district. Therefore, you need to contact a member of a Rotary club in your area, a representative of your local district (click here to find your Rotary District), or email info@scrye.org for details about the costs. In general, the cost will be approximately 1/4 to ½ of other programs.

Do I get to choose my country?
A very popular question. And the answer is, … yes and no. Your sponsoring Rotary district exchanges with those Rotary districts that they know run top-quality programs. There are a limited number of exchanges available with each Rotary district. As part of the application process, you will be asked to provide regions of the world, or perhaps countries, with which you have the most interest. The vast majority of students will get one of their top choices. But remember, flexibility is a vital characteristic for a successful exchange student, and that starts right at the beginning.
Do I have to know another language?
No! The program is cultural in nature but is also for a short period of time. Many countries throughout the world teach English as a second language, and most participating students are quite proficient in it. If you have taken a foreign language in high school and elect to visit a country that speaks that language, you will be able to gain some conversational ability. Most students do not find language to be a barrier to having a great exchange experience whether they know the language or not.
Can I travel?
While this is not a tourist program, travel is sometimes available with the host families and members of Rotary Clubs. Unsupervised travel is not allowed.
What if I have problems during my exchange?
The design of the Rotary Exchange program is such that if you have problems we have the resources to help you solve the problems, starting with a Rotary Club right in the community in which you are living. You will have multiple avenues of help available to you to resolve any problem that might come up.Rotary International and Rotarians in SCRYE take very seriously our responsibility for the safety and security of all Rotary exchange students, both inbound and outbound. In November, 2002, the Board of Directors of Rotary International adopted the following Statement of Conduct for Working with Youth:

“Rotary International is committed to creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for all participants in Rotary activities. It is the duty of all Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouses, partners, and other volunteers to safeguard to the best of their ability the welfare of and to prevent the physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of children and young people with whom they come into contact.“

What else do I need to know?
Well, you might want to take a look at the Ten Commandments for Rotary Exchange Students.

Ten Commandments for Rotary Exchange Students
1.Take the initiative in adapting to your host family. a.Find out and willingly conform to family rules and customs.
b.Volunteer to help around the house and garden; keep on volunteering, even in the face of rejection, until it is clear that your assistance is not wanted or appropriate.
c.At least try any strange food. Rejection of meals prepared by the host mother can become a very sensitive issue.
d.Unfailingly carry out your responsibilities for maintaining your own room, and whatever other duties may be assigned to you. Your goal should be to create as little extra work as possible for others (usually your host mother).
e.Say “thank you” whenever someone does something for you. Appreciation goes a long way to softening the impact of the workload your presence in the household inevitably creates.
f.Express interest in your host family, the town and its history, and any local “sights”.

2.
Be a serious student (you are a student, not a tourist!)
a.Take school seriously. Do your homework. Participate in class as much as possible.
b.Remember that you are an extra burden on your teachers. Express appreciation for their understanding and assistance.
c.Join appropriate school activities, clubs, and groups.
d.Try to imprint yourself in the collective school memory as having made a positive contribution through your presence.

3.
Establish good relations with your host Rotary Club
a.Meet and cultivate your Rotary Counselor. He/she can open doors for you, solve problems, and contribute to enriching your exchange experience.
b.Attend as many Rotary meetings and functions as possible or allowed.
c.Respond positively to invitations to speak to your host Rotary Clubs and other organizations.
d.Respond positively to invitations from Rotarians.
e.Make clear your appreciation of their sponsorship.

4.
Understand and appreciate the host country’s culture and values.
a.Learn before you go as much as possible (geography, history, political system, educational system, cultural artifacts and achievements).
b.Question your hosts on these subjects.
c.Learn the language, and work as hard as necessary to do so.
d.Enthusiastically view whatever they want to proudly show you.
e.Fit in gracefully to adult as well as peer social situations.

5.
Reflect and communicate your country’s culture and values.
a.Learn before you go (as in 4a above).
b.Answer all questions to the extent you can. Be honest, but not confrontational. Acknowledge deficiencies, but put them in perspective in relation to what has been done, is being done, and what it is possible to hope to achieve.
c.Show pride in your country, but don’t be prideful.

6.
Don’t try to convert the natives!
a.Be a “Good Will” Ambassador. The exchange of ideas and knowledge is encouraged, but your role is not to change their minds or practices (religion, capitalism, social practices, etc.).

7.
Don’t make unfavorable comparisons between your country and the host country
a.Things are merely different … not better or worse.

8.
Practice the utmost courtesy to everyone
a.Always ask permission where appropriate; don’t assume you have it (host family, Rotary, school).
b.Say “Thank You” and write “Thank You” notes.
c.Adopt host country social practices.

9.
Be happy with your lot as a Rotary Exchange Ambassador.
a.Don’t envy other exchange students, who may be better housed, or more entertained, etc.
b.Be glad of your own unique experience and the opportunities it presents.
c.Limit your association with other exchange students.

10.
Say an enthusiastic “Yes” to invitations and opportunities to go places and do things.
a.Within, of course, Rotary and host family rules and with necessary permissions.

How do I apply?
All applications must be sponsored by a local Rotary Club, so it’s important that you make contact with a member in a Rotary club in your area. He or she will put you in touch with the Youth Exchange Chairperson of that club regarding details and application forms. Your high school counselor is usually familiar with the local Rotary Club and can help you make that contact. If, however, your high school counselor and you don’t know a local Rotarian, or if you’d like help in this task, you can certainly complete our inquiry form. We will follow up with you, or refer you to someone in your area to get you on the right track.Once you’ve decided to go ahead with it, you need to complete the full application. We recommend that you use the on-line form for the short-term application as you can just enter the basic information and print it out in a neat, orderly format. Otherwise, you’ll need to contact your District to get a hard copy of the form and locate a typewriter to complete it. Read the instructions carefully, and follow them to the letter. If you have any questions, contact a member of a Rotary club in your area, a representative of your local district (find your Rotary District), or email info@scrye.org .