This video, made by the 2011-2012 Inbound Students on their Western Adventure Trip - those spending a year in Canada - says it all.

About Youth Exchange

As a Rotary Youth Exchange student, you’ll spend up to a year living with host families and attending school in a different country.

Whether you participate in Rotary’s long-term or short-term Youth Exchange programs, you’ll learn a new way of living, a great deal about yourself, and a new language. You’ll also be an ambassador, teaching people you meet about your country, culture, and ideas. You can help bring the world closer – and make some good friends in the process.

District 5550 exchange students routinely describe the year as the best of their lives.  Their lives are enriched by the experiences of the year, by their new linguistic skills, and by the friends and contacts they make. 

For over 75 years, students and host families have broadened their horizons through Rotary Youth Exchange. More than 80 countries and over 8,000 students each year participate in the program, which is administered at the regional level by Rotary districts and at the local level by Rotary clubs.

Globally minded

Rotary clubs are made up of volunteers who are involved in community service, emphasize high ethical standards, and work toward peace and understanding in the world. Over 1.2 million Rotarians in more than 32,000 clubs create the extensive network that provides support for Youth Exchange.

A commitment to youth

Rotary maintains a strong connection to youth and young adults. Besides Youth Exchange, Rotary clubs sponsor youth service clubs and offer career development and mentoring programs.

Rotary is committed to creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for all participants in its programs, including Youth Exchange.


Low costs

Rotary club volunteers administer the program at the local level, which helps keep costs low for students and their families. These volunteers often offer years of experience with students, host families, and fellow Rotarians who are involved in the program.  More information about costs can be found on the "Applicants and Prospective Applicants" link, on the left side of this page.

Long-term exchange

The long-term exchange lasts between nine and eleven months, and is available for students who will be aged between 15 and 18 in their year of departure.  Typically, the deadlines to apply to the program are September or early October.  Successful applicants will depart the following July or August.

The exchange involves living with a few
host families and attending a local high school abroad.  Typically, students have multiple cultural and travel opportunities in their year overseas.

Read more in the Long-term Youth Exchange Brochure  (PDF).

How do I qualify?
Successful student applicants are typically:

  • Above-average high-school students who have demonstrated leadership skills in the community.
  • They often have significant involvement in school and volunteer activities.
  • Many have gained life experience through part time employment.
  • Open to new experiences and cultural differences
  • Sponsored by a local Rotary club
  • Complete a written application and in-person interview

How much will it cost?

Youth Exchange is coordinated at the regional level by Rotary districts and at the local level by Rotary clubs. In District 5550, there is a set fee for the program, which can be found on the "Applicants and Prospective Applicants page."  This fee is set on a cost-recovery zero profit basis.  The costs are low, becuase the program is admistered entirely by dedicated Rotarian volunteers.  The fee includes:

  • Round-trip airfare
  • Health and accident insurance
  • Travel documents
  • Rotary Jacket

In addition, students usually provide additional funds for:

  • Spending money
  • Emergency funds for unpredicted expenses
  • Ancillary travel and tours

Sharing in the costs are host families, who pay for room and board, the host community, which covers school tuition, and the host Rotary club, which often covers numerous expenses for the student, and which will offer a small allowance of at least US$100 monthly.
Extensive information on costs, and the applications procedure, can be downloaded from the "Applicants and Prospective Applicants" page.

What are my responsibilities?

As a Youth Exchange student, you agree to

  • Act as an ambassador for your home country
  • Abide by all program rules of your host Rotary club and district
  • Accept the supervision of the host family, club, and district
  • Ask questions of your host family and local Rotarians
  • Be an active participant in your exchange

Where will my exchange be?

Exchange in District 5550 can take place with many countries.  These are listed on the "Country and Jacket Form", on the "Applicants and Prospective Applicants" page.

Contact your local club or district for more information. Locate the club nearest to you through
Club Locator or your local phone listings, or find out whether a club or district has listed its website  with Rotary International.  If you cannot locate your local club, please contact the Youth Exchange Program's webmaster, at, or any member of the District committee.  The district committee members can be found on the link at the left of this page.