The first seeds for Rotary International’s Youth Exchange Program were sown by the Rotary Club of Copenhagen, with a small-scale European program started in 1929. A decade later saw the first student exchanges to take place in the Americas. In 1972, Rotary International (RI) endorsed the program to clubs world wide as a “worthwhile international activity”. By the end of the century the program had grown to involve more than 80 countries with some 8,000 students participating each year. Rotary’s youth exchange programs fall into two categories:
- Long-term exchanges, usually lasting a full academic year, during which time the student lives with more than one family in the host country. This document focuses on details of the long-term exchange program.
- Short-term exchanges that entail a direct family to family exchange of two students for several weeks, usually during the summer months. This program is known as STEP (Short Term Exchange Program).
Further information on this program can be obtained by contacting the District 5040 STEP Chair, Liz Scott.