WHAT IS YOUTH EXCHANGE?

 
 
As a Rotary Youth Exchange student, you'll spend up to a year living with 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..
For over 75 years, students and host families have broadened their horizons through Rotary Youth Exchange. The program is arranged by Rotary Clubs for young people to experience a year of education overseas, in a wide choice of countries. It also provides many other opportunities, both during and after the exchange is complete. The Rotary program is recognised as the best student exchange program by schools, parents and students because of its sound infrastructure.
Students stay with host families who are arranged by the hosting Rotary Club. In the majority of exchanges there are more than one host family although this varies depending on the country. Host families may or may not be members of Rotary, but are always Rotary approved.

Who can apply?

 
 
Applicants must be aged between 15 years and 17½ years on the 01 January of the year of their departure. They are required to provide personal referees and current school reports that endorse they are making sound progress at school and have a general interest in people and places. They should possess a good general knowledge of Australia - its political system, socio-economic policies and its involvement in international affairs.
Applicants must have displayed high standards of personal conduct and attitudes which are widely accepted in our community. They must have an outgoing personality and be interested in cultural or outdoor pursuits.
Rotary is looking for young people who can act as personal ambassadors.

How are students selected?

 
 
Applications come to Rotary Clubs through direct application or an on-line inquiry from the National Youth Exchange web site. Students are generally selected by Rotary Clubs on the basis of their application and a personal interview. Applications can be made at any time but close with local clubs at the end of April each year.
The Rotary Club then forwards the successful application to the District Youth Exchange Committee. The committee then conducts an assessment process before arranging exchanges with overseas Clubs. Students have the opportunity to prioritise any preferred countries of exchange that are available, however, there are limited places in any one country and a preparedness to accept an exchange in any of the available countries is necessary.

Rotary provides training

 
 
Rotary Clubs have an important role in this exchange by providing one of their members to act as a counsellor for the exchange student. The counsellor's role is to maintain close contact with the student up until the time of departure and is expected to continue during the year of exchange, not only with the student but also the student's family. This keeps everyone informed of the progress of the exchange.
The District Youth Exchange Committee also coordinates "Briefing days" where the focus is to prepare the student as much as possible for their 12 month exchange. Parents/Guardians of students are required to attend these Briefing days as well as Rotary counsellors to maintain and foster student support.

Are there other obligations?

 
 
Students are required to adhere to the rules of the exchange program, as applied in the country of exchange. These are to do with personal behaviour and the expectations of being an ambassador for their country, their family, themselves and Rotary.
During the exchange year away, students are required to complete a year of secondary level schooling.

Schooling considerations

 
 
For students needing to return to secondary education in Australia, there may be credits available for subjects studied whilst away. However, this needs to be checked with the school before departure. The question of breaking up the VCE years is up to personal choice. Many students successfully do this and many more leave on exchange after completing year 10.
The real bonus for education though, is the experience that students get from the exchange itself.

What are the benefits?

 
 
The benefits of the exchange are many and varied. Students grow considerably in self confidence, tolerance and self-reliance through having to accept greater responsibility for themselves and their actions.
They have to adapt to unfamiliar and different surroundings and ways of life which are different from home. For some it will be the first extended period of separation from their own family. This will bring about many trials and tribulations which they will need to overcome and by so doing develop many "survival skills".
To live away from home for the 50-52 weeks duration of the exchange is a demanding yet rewarding experience. It is not always smooth sailing and requires a great strength of character, tolerance and a clear understanding of one's self.
The exchange provides a unique opportunity for young Australians to experience at first hand the cultures of a different country, a new way of life and in some instances another language. Often, the friendships they make will be life long and important in achieving the aims of the exchange - the building of goodwill and understanding between countries.

What to do now?

 
 
Applications must be submitted on the application form which are available from the District Secretary or any participating Rotary Clubs, or you can fill in an expression of interest online and it will be forwarded to your closest participating club.  Here is the link to the D9780 Youth Exchange Website  http://www.rotaryd9780youthexchange.org.au/

Are there any other restrictions?

 
 
The applicant must be a full-time student, both prior to departure and during the period of exchange overseas. The 12 month Visa granted to Rotary Exchange Students permitting them to stay in the country of exchange is a Student Visa and it is a requirement that the exchange student attends school on a full-time basis throughout the period of exchange.