Katherine Korovnikov

“Rotary youth exchange was the best year of my life! I had the opportunity to meet so many people and see so many new places. Learning a new language and immersing myself in a new culture pushed me outside my comfort zone and helped me gain more confidence.”

What is Rotary Long-Term Exchange?

The program is well suited to young people who want to gain a better understanding of the world and the culture and traditions of the host country. While on exchange, the student also acts as an ambassador of their home country, community and Rotary club.

Although the program emphasizes the cultural experience, there is an academic aspect of learning a new language and attending school is mandatory.

What Can I Expect from the Exchange?

Life in another country can be an exciting and challenging and our past participants tell us that the opportunities and experience far surpasses and challenge.

Not only do students gain a cultural understanding and language skills while gaining leadership qualities; they make lifelong friends from all over the world, develop new skills, expand their palette and create one-of-a-kind memories.

On exchange you will find that schooling may be offered very differently than here, and although the exchange is primarily cultural, students are expected to do their best to succeed. You may not be able to get credit on your transcripts for the courses you take but the knowledge you gain will be exceptional.

Family composition and dynamics might be new, you may find yourself as an only child for the first time in your life, or perhaps fill the role of big sister or brother for the first time. Lots of things will be unfamiliar, not better or worse – just different. It all part of the learning! The families that host students are all vetted by Rotary and must meet certain standards.

What Role Does Rotary Play?

Rotary clubs and districts must meet the criterial of Rotary International to be certified and able to offer exchange. Safety of our participants is always our top priority. Every outbound student receives orientation training, and we will also provide some assistance with language development prior to the exchange starting. We also will clearly outline the rules and expectations for the exchange.

Rotary negotiates country placement with partner districts and guides the students through the application process. Students must be sponsored by a Rotary club and that club provides a Youth Exchange Officer (YEO)to work directly with the student and their family. The YEO will help the student with the application process, conduct the initial interview and work with the district to set up the district interview.

Travel arrangements to the host country are made by Rotary and advice is available to assist in obtaining the necessary visa and travel insurance.

Your host club will expect you to be an active participant in Rotary activities by attending some meetings, doing a presentation about your home country and perhaps assisting with some of their service projects. Mentors are appointed to every outbound student, one who is a Rotarian and one who is a former exchange student to help navigate the exchange.

Will I Get to Travel While on Exchange?

Remember that this is primarily a cultural exchange and although there may be the opportunity for travel while on exchange, that is not an integral part of the program. Almost every country we exchange with offers some optional travel and is not included in the cost of the program. Some students may be taken on trips or excursions with their host family but again, this should not be expected.

When you apply for exchange, you will be asked to identify three or four countries that are your preferred destination and we try to accommodate at least one of those choices, however, sometimes that isn’t possible due to demand for a specific country exceeding available placements or because the country cannot accept students.

What is the Cost?

The cost of the long-term placement is approximately $3,500.00 for the academic year. This includes the orientation training, language aids, and the coveted Rotary blazer on which invariably becomes the showcase for the pins you will collect while on exchange. In addition, it covers a get-together when all our students return home to help them with reverse culture shock.

Host clubs provide the student with a monthly allowance that is approximately equal to $100 USD, room and board, and school expenses.

How Do I Apply?

Our students are selected approximately one year before they travel; clubs tend to select their students in the fall and the student will then have the academic year at home to prepare for their exchange to begin the following August. If you are a good student, a leader in your school and community and feel ready to spread your wings and fly, your first step should be to contact your local Rotary club or click here and we will help you to connect with the appropriate club.

Looking Ahead

Like many things, Covid 19 impacted our program as travel was restricted; the good news is that we are anticipating being able to see students travel in August of 2022. This might seem a long way off, but we are already beginning to compile a list of students who are interested in being part of that exchange year. Interviews and student selection will take be completed by early December of 2021. Country options are not yet finalized but we hope to continue with many of our past partners: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Spain and depending on the Covid situation, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil and possibly a few others. If you are interested in travelling on exchange, and have another country in mind, please contact and we will be able to investigate the possibility of a partnership with that country. We won’t consider countries that are not consider safe for travel.