Frequently asked questions by clicking on the read more button.

Who can apply for the exchange program?

High school students grades 10 to 12, of good character, warm personality, and average to above- average academic performance. Candidates should be adaptable and flexible, well-mannered, and want to learn about other countries and cultures. Children of Rotarians and non-Rotarians are eligible and encouraged to apply.

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 an unpaid service.

Because we depend solely on volunteers (i.e., no one involved is paid, including Rotarians and host families), the Rotary Program is one of the least expensive, safest, and highest quality programs. 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 Rotarians, students on exchange and their families 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.

How will I benefit from being abroad?

Living in a foreign country has a powerful effect on your maturing process. Managing your own finances and making decisions gives you more confidence and independence. 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.

Which countries can I go to?

There are approximately 40 countries to choose from, including countries in South America, North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Exchanges can occur between any two countries in which there are certified Rotary Districts. Rotary Clubs in approximately 65 countries and regions annually sponsor or host youth exchange students.

Am I guaranteed a specific country for my exchange?

Students rank their preferred countries on their application, but are not guaranteed a particular country or region. We are looking for students who are excited to experience living abroad and learning a new language and culture; not a specific country, language, and culture.

Do I have to know or be fluent in the host country's language before I go?

While you don't have to be fluent in the host country's language before you arrive, we do assign language homework and practice at conferences, which you are expected to complete. The expectation is that you'll have some language ability when you arrive in your host
country. Knowing as much as possible of the language upon arrival in your host country is very beneficial so we encourage you to study as much of the language as possible before you begin your exchange.

Am I allowed to travel while on exchange?

While this is not a tourist program, travel is sometimes available with the host families and members of Rotary Clubs. Also, Rotary-approved group tours may be arranged by Rotary. These are generally at the student’s expense. You may not travel alone or without the permission of your host District.

How long is the exchange?

Your exchange will be 10-12 months (an academic year). Most students leave in July/August and return the following (late) June or early July.

Can I come home for birthdays, holidays, or other events?

No—you are required to stay in your host country for the entirety of your exchange. After all, if you come home for a holiday, how will you know how your host country celebrates that same holiday?!

How many host families will I have?

Most students will have three host families during their exchange, but you may have anywhere from 2-4. You'll attend the same school throughout your exchange, so your host families will live in the same city, area, or vicinity. This allows for a broader understanding of the cultural and social/economic aspects of the region, while simultaneously allowing more families to participate in the program. This also encourages a variety of activities during the year.

How are host families selected?

To ensure the safety of our students, every host family in the Rotary Youth Exchange program must undergo screening and training that includes an interview with the local Rotary Club, reference checks, and completion of online training.

Can my family and/friends come visit me while I'm on exchange?

Each host country, Rotary district, and Rotary club sets their own policies on this, but generally speaking, no. If you want your family or friends want to visit your host country, we recommend that you plan to return after your exchange with them to show them your host country.

How much does the program cost?

In District 6330, the fee is $8500 CAD. This fee includes the following costs:

  • Interview and training conferences (accommodation, meals, and materials)

  • Flights to the student's host country and back home at the end of their exchange

  • Health insurance while the student is on exchange

  • Rotary blazer and t-shirt for the student

  • CSRYE administrative fee

  • District 6330 RYE Committee operating expenses

  • A small monthly stipend while the student is on exchange (approximately equivalent to

    the buying power of $100 USD)

  • Room and board while on exchange (provided by the host family)

    The fee does not include:

  • Fees charged by your own family doctor, dentist, etc. for exams, forms, letters

  • Costs and fees for passports, visas and related travel, courier, documents, certificates, etc.

  • Student and parent travel to and from training conferences (we encourage and facilitiate


  • Student and parent travel to and from airports, parking, etc. at beginning and end of


  • Late or cancellation fees or fines charged by CSRYE, travel (eg. change dates/early

    return), insurance agencies, etc.

  • Language camp fees and/or school uniforms as might be required in some countries

  • Students' extra excursions, trips and tours in host country while on exchange

  • Students' casual spending (including cell phone plans) while on exchange

    Are there scholarships available to help with the cost?

    Yes! We have two scholarships in District 6330 that students can apply for to help with the costs of the exchange: the District 6330 Rotary Youth Exchange 50th Anniversary Scholarship, and the Bob Shoemaker Scholarship.

    Is my family required to host an exchange student?

    Hosting is not required, but strongly encouraged. 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. Ideally, parents of outbound students will host a foreign exchange student for a part of the year and help the Rotary Club to identify at least 2 other host families that will be approved by the club. An additional benefit of hosting is the perspective it will give you and your family to serve in a hosting role, so they can better understand what it’s like while you are abroad.

    Can I get high school credits for my time on exchange?

    Some high schools will give you credits for the classes you take while on exchange. However, it depends on your school system and the foreign school. To get credit, you'll need to make arrangements with your school before your begin your exchange.

    Are there any program rules?

    Although Rotary International provides certification and guidelines to local Rotary Youth Exchange programs, Rotary districts and clubs run will have their own additional, specific rules for students to follow based on the local customs and culture. Students accepted into the program sign and agree to abide by a list of program rules at the time of application and prior to their departure from home. While the hosting Rotary Club will discuss all program rules with you, you and your parents may wish to review the program rules on your application form to be sure

that everyone has a clear understanding of what is expected. Basic program rules consist of common-sense stipulations, such as no drinking, no use of drugs, no driving of any type of motorized vehicles and, especially important, the need to obtain special permission for travel while on the exchange.

What's the process for becoming a Rotary Youth Exchange student?

  1. Complete our Preliminary Application.

  2. Your local Rotary Club will interview you.

  3. September - October: If the local Rotary Club decides to sponsor you, you'll then begin

    working on the CSRYE Application. This is a lengthy, in-depth application that requires a lot of information and signatures that will require dedication, attention to detail, and organization on your part (we're sending you away without your family for a year, so we need to make sure all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed!).

  4. November: Attend the District Interview Conference where a panel of Rotarians and past exchange students will interview you and your parents/guardians to make sure the Rotary Youth Program is a good fit.

  5. Early January: Find out which country you've been assigned to!

  6. January - July: Attend three weekend-long, in-person training conferences, as well as

    monthly online training sessions.

  7. July/August: Leave for your exchange year!

District 6330 is a member of the Central States Rotary Youth Exchange (CSRYE) organization, which is an incorporated joint program among 20 Rotary districts located in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, USA, and Ontario, Canada. For more details on CSRYE, please visit their website.