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The Rotary Youth Exchange Program (YEP) provides secondary school students aged 15 to 17, 
sponsored by a Rotary Club, with the opportunity to live and study abroad with host families for
one academic year, to learn a new language, a new way of living and a great deal about themselves.
To have the opportunity to study abroad is a life-changing experience.  Rotary youth exchange
provides this opportunity. 
Those who have this opportunity come back from their exchange more independent, more
confident and more eager and able to take on any future challenge, academic, professional or personal.
They:
  • Gain in self-confidence
  • Gain independence and maturity
  • Gain a global network of friends
  • Gain a better appreciation of other cultures as well as their own
  • Gain an understanding of their own personal strengths and weaknesses
   
Why?
  • They chose to be removed from their comfort zone to be in a foreign environment
  • They chose to be exposed to new traditions and social customs
  • They chose to have to learn to speak the language of the host country
 
Studying abroad is full of many amazing experiences, from learning a new culture and language
to making new friends from diverse ethnic and national backgrounds. Students choose to
participate in exchange programs for the learning opportunities they provide. They then
learn to analyze the things around them in a constructive manner and learn how to solve
problems on their own.
While adding to a student’s education is very important, students who
participate in exchange programs also benefit on a personal level by
having the opportunity to discover themselves in a place that is unfamiliar
to them, living outside of their comfort zone.
They develop self-awareness and self-esteem in a manner that cannot be duplicated.
These students learn the ability to confront social challenges outside of their
comfort zones and deal with problems head-on.
Also, exchange students must learn to live in their host families’ households,
and this increases the value they gain from a new culture.
Students who participate learn skills that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Once they have finished their education to seek employment, there is no doubt that
employers will look favorably upon those who have travelled with such a program.
The social changes that take place in exchange students are remarkable; they are
often more flexible in any ‘foreign’ situation, whether this means taking a new job,
embarking on a new course of study or speaking publicly in front of their peers.
   

 

Rotary youth exchange is the best of the best of Rotary’s youth development programs.
It can only be as successful and as valued as it is because of the personal commitment
of the students, their families and all of those in Rotary who are facilitators of the
program through being counselors, mentors, host families, club supporters and members
of the district youth exchange committee.  In D9810 we have so many who contribute
in these ways. But to maintain and grow the program we need more of these people. 
It could be you, your extended family, your friends and work colleagues who will help 
us provide more opportunities for everyone who wants to be involved.
 
Exchange students form part of the ambassadorial team of Rotary International
promoting international goodwill, peace and understanding. The students also have
opportunities for personal development and making international friends and contacts
that can have positive benefits for their future lives and careers.
 
Some reflections from past participants:
“I remember my first day in Germany. It was FREEZING! I was standing in -10 degrees with snow fluttering steadily down around me, wearing my rotary blazer and jeans at 5:30 in the morning at Frankfurt Airport and thinking; ‘What on earth did I sign up for?’ But now the answer is clear, I signed up for the best year of my life!  THANK YOU ROTARY!”  Alice
 
“It is weird how a thought can turn into a reality so quickly.  I always liked the thought of being an exchange student but I never saw myself having enough courage to live away from my friends and family for a whole year.  I doubted myself so much when I was applying and now I cannot imagine my life without this amazing experience.  THANK YOU ROTARY!”  Emily

 

The District 9810 Youth Exchange Committee that oversees the program comprises
the following persons:
Chair: Tim Bray
Deputy Chair and Secretary: Barrie Vickers
Committee: John Barnes, Stuart McDonald, Malcolm Ferguson (Treasurer),
Geoff Gartly, Jacques Marconnet, Colleen Rooth and Wally Spinks.
 
To contact the committee Secretary by email: click here
 
Information for Rotary Clubs planning to sponsor a student
General information for clubs wishing to participate in the YEP is available on the
following link: click here
To download a YEP poster: click here
 
More detailed guide books for inbound and outbound students, inbound and outbound
counsellors and host families are available to download by clicking on the following links:
 
General Information on Rotary Youth Exchange
All applicants to take part in the program must be current students in years
9, 10 or 11 and be sponsored by a local Rotary Club.
 
The Rotary Youth Exchange Victoria website and Rotary Youth Exchange Australia website
both provide a vast amount of generic information with the ability to be referred back to
districts by completing an enquiry form in the “What to do Now” button for direct follow up.
This is post code linked to each Rotary district in Australia.
 
Downloadable Documents
District 9810 YEP brochure containing more information on eligibility and the selection and training process:
Preliminary Application Form: click here
YE Host Family Expression of Interest Form: click here
Students participating in the Youth Exchange Program depart in January each year.
Applications are made to a Rotary club and close 31 March of the year prior to departure.
Stuart McDonald has prepared a comprehensive paper setting out the history and
background of Rotary Youth Exchange on the following linked page: (TBA)
 
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