Multi-District Rotary Summer Youth Exchange

Wisconsin & Upper Michigan

Western Wisconsin & Southeast Minnesota

Southeastern Wisconsin

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Puzzled?  Confused?  Or just have a question?  Chances are we have the answer to all of your questions below.  If not, please contact us.

What is this program all about?

Introduction:
Rotary Short Term Exchange presents opportunities for students to advance their knowledge and world understanding by allowing them to exchange in a different country. Participants will live with host families in their selected land usually for three to four weeks in the summer, under the sponsorship of their local Rotary Club.

Objective:
To foster world peace, international understanding and good will by extending international communication at the personal level through the exchange of students of high school age. It is our hope that these young people will be able to observe, first hand, the problems and accomplishments of other countries by living with and meeting people of cultures, creeds and colors other than their own.

Who is eligible?

Any student, age 15-19 of good character who possesses a warm personality and a desire to live abroad and host in return. Candidates should be adaptable and flexible, well mannered and want to experience life in other countries and cultures. Children of Rotarians and non-Rotarians are equally eligible.

How do you go about participating in the Rotary Short Term Exchange Program?

Applicants must be sponsored by a local Rotary Club. Contact any member of a local club who will put you in touch with its Youth Exchange Chairperson regarding details. Your High School Guidance Counselor usually cooperates with the Rotary Club and can help you make that contact.

Contact Information

Why is it called an exchange program?

You will be matched with a student of similar interests in a country of your selection or approval. The two of you will spend an agreed upon time together – half of that time in your home and half of the time in their home. Typical visitations are 3-4 weeks each way. It will be up to you and your foreign host family to agree upon the actual dates of the exchange. Generally our students fly to their host country first, then bring their host brother or sister back with them to complete the exchange. However, you may also agree to host first then travel abroad second.

Who makes all of the arrangements?

Go to the Travel Arrangements and Orientation section of the Information page.

What is the expected timeframe to finalize these arrangements?

Go to the Travel Arrangements and Orientation section of the Information page.

Is proficiency in a foreign language needed?

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 speaking our language. 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.

 How much does it cost?

  • $250.00 Administration Fee which includes the cost of processing, supplemental Life and Medical insurance while abroad, Rotary Polo Shirt, and Name Tag.

    Administration Refund Policy:
    In the rare instance that a match is not found for the application we will refund all but $100.00 of the Administration Fee for those with applications submitted by February 1st.
    The $100.00 is used for phone, printing, mailing, and other miscellaneous costs associated with our attempts to find matches for our students. Late applications require considerably more expense and effort.

  • Cost of round-trip airfare from your home to the foreign country. Airfare costs have run anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 depending on your destination and the number of connecting flights necessary to get to your destination. Travel arrangements can be made through It's Your World, Travel!.
  • PLEASE let your SYE Coordinator know your travel dates as soon as they are confirmed. Insurance coverage needs to be arranged to cover the specific dates your are traveling. Exchanges greater than 30 days overseas require an additional insurance premium payable before the student departs this country!  
  • There is also the cost of having a guest in your house for 3-4 weeks and the additional cost of any excursions or events you may attend.
  • You must obtain a passport, and a visa(if required).
  • Provide your own spending money for the duration of the exchange.

What is so special about Rotary’s Short Term Exchange Program compared to other programs?

The Rotary International Short Term Exchange Program is volunteer driven. It is organized and administered by volunteer Rotarians throughout the world. The operation is done at several levels; namely the local Rotary Club, the district and the regional levels. They screen the students, prepare them, arrange hosting abroad, insurance, etc. All this work is done by Rotarians as a service. They are not paid to provide this service. At times of immediate need, students who are away from home will be more comfortable knowing that Rotarians will be available to help and offer guidance.

Is this a mutual exchange?

Yes, a student will live with a foreign family for approximately 3-4 weeks. When he or she returns, the foreign brother or sister will also fly back with the student and stay with the U.S. student's family. The stay here will also be for approximately 3-4 weeks.

May my student select which country to go to?

Every effort will be given to match a student with his/her first choice of countries, but cannot be guaranteed. Availability of foreign students varies year-by-year. This mutual exchange only works when the genders, ages, and interests match. Quality is important in the program. A quality ambassador must be flexible.

May I request which gender my student may exchange with?

Yes, in fact we will obligate ourselves to your choice. The application form contains the following: "the family can host: boy/ girl/ or either."

What are the host family's obligations?

In a nutshell, we expect our host families to entertain the student, to some extent, beyond the normal family activities. For example, family vacations to a summer cottage, a relative's home, or even another state are normal. Room, board, travel expenses incurred in the States are paid for by the host family as they would if the visiting student were a normal family member. Special outings to the zoo, to a baseball game, to a museum, etc. should also be provided. American students should have NO job commitments during the exchange period so they can spend time with their foreign students. We have found that our students are treated first class when they travel abroad. We would like the American host family to reciprocate with a first class experience for the foreign students.

What responsibility does the local Rotary Club have?

Each Rotary Club MUST interview the student applicant to insure he or she will be a good ambassador for their community. The Rotary Club President and Youth Exchange Officer MUST sign the application.  The Rotary Club and student should remain in contact during the exchange. Both students should make every effort to attend a local Rotary meeting during the exchange and should be able to speak about their experiences.

Am I expected to attend an orientation?

Yes, a formal orientation will be set up. The student and at least one parent MUST attend 1 of the following sessions:

District 6220, 6270:  Sunday, April 27, 2014 (1:00 PM - 3:00 PM CST)
Rhinelander, WI (Location announced later)

District 6250: April 27, 1-3pm, Wisconsin Dells

Make sure you reserve one of these dates. Items covered include: rules, regulations, insurance, packing and luggage suggestions, expected behavioral standards, and other general information. We also attempt to answer all additional questions.

How much money should the student take?

Again, this will be a personal issue. It will be up to the student and family to decide what works best in their own situation. Students have been known to leave with $200.00 and come back with $150.00. They've also been known to leave with $2,000.00 and call home for more. This must be a personal decision based upon the individual's situation.

My student has graduated from high school. May she/he still apply?

Yes, the age limits are from 15 to 19.

May the student participate in this program more than once?

Yes, they may even want to apply for the long term exchange after visiting a country for the summer. We believe the short term summer exchange can compliment the 11 month long term exchange program.

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Multi-District Rotary Summer Youth Exchange