Youth Exchange Program

Exposure to different cultures ranks as one of the most powerful ways to promote international understanding and peace. The Rotary Youth Exchange program provides thousands of young students with the opportunity to meet people from other countries and to experience new cultures, planting the seeds for a lifetime of international understanding.

The program offers numerous bene ts to its young participants and their Rotarian hosts and mentors, as well as to the community at large. Through Youth Exchange, students learn rsthand about all aspects of life in another country. As their concept of the world expands, they mature and develop a deeper understanding of themselves. Immersion in another country’s educational system enhances their academic and personal growth. Host clubs and families and the entire community are enriched by extended, friendly contact with someone from a different culture.

History

Youth Exchange began during the 1920s as an effort between a handful of clubs in Europe. These European exchanges continued until World War II and resumed in 1946. The reciprocal long-term academic exchange grew in popularity during the 1950s and became the primary type of Rotary Youth Exchange. In 1972, the RI Board of Directors agreed to recommendYouth Exchange to clubs worldwide as a worthwhile international activity. Today, more than 8,000 Youth Exchange students travel abroad each year to live and study in about 80 countries.

Types of Exchanges

RotaryYouth Exchange offers three types of exchange programs:

Long-term exchange. These exchanges usually last one year, during which the student lives with more than one family in the host country and is required to attend school there. Long-term exchanges may be extended to include part or all of the holiday/vacation periods immediately before and after the academic year.

Short-term exchange. These exchanges vary from several days to several weeks; they often take place when school is not in session and usually do not include an academic program. Short-term exchanges generally involve a homestay experience with a family in the host country, but they can also be organized

as international youth camps or tours that bring together students from many countries.

New Generations exchange. These specialized short-term exchanges last three to six weeks and are open to young people ages 18-25. This program may include a vocational element.

Flexibility in theYouth Exchange program allows it to be adapted to t the needs of any student who quali es. Short-term and New Generations exchanges especially vary widely from district to district.