The first Rotary Youth Exchange occurred in 1929 between the Rotary Club of Copenhagen and several European Countries, and since then has grown into one of the largest programs in the world.Exchange is one of Rotary International’s longest running programs designed to help clubs and districts achieve their service goals in their own communities and in communities abroad, fostering fellowship and goodwill around the world.
who you’ll host
In the Philadelphia area, District 7450 hosts about 10 students each year. Students are carefully screened by their home district prior to being accepted into the Exchange Program. In most countries this selection process is very competitive. The students range in age from 15 ½ to 18 years. Our District has hosted students from Germany, Belgium, Turkey, Brazil, Finland, Ecuador, France, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and many other countries. You are free to choose female or male exchange students.
HOST family requirements
Inbound students usually live with 2-3 different families in the same school district during their year in the US. This allows students to experience different family situations, and makes it easier to commit to being a host family.
- Provide a private room for your host student (or a bedroom with no more than one of your children of the same gender as host student);
- Provide a safe environment for your host student and ensure student’s safety at all times;
- Treat your host student as one of your own children. This includes arranging transportation to and from school; sharing meals together; including host student in all family activities from chores to vacations; helping host student integrate into their high school and local culture, and so on;
- Encourage your host student to learn about American culture and become proficient in English;
- Have an open heart, an open mind, and a willingness to both share and learn with your host student
- Prior to becoming a Host Family, a Rotarian will visit your family for a home visit and all adults in the household will be required to complete background checks.
Host families are NOT expected to…
- Be Rotarians. Involvement in Rotary is not a requirement (but we’d love to have you join!)
- Have children. Host families can have young children, older children, or no children at all–all families are eligible.
YOUR ROTARY SUPPORT TEAM
Each student is sponsored by a local Rotary Club near you. The Club will identify a Counselor who will be responsible for developing and maintaining a close relationship with your host student throughout the year and assist with any questions or problems. There is also a Rotary District Youth Exchange Committee that coordinates training, as well as health insurance, VISAs and arrival/departure planning. The District Youth Exchange Committee also plans about 1 group activity per month for students. The District Youth Exchange Committee is your resource: they can answer any questions and assist you with any issues that may arise during your host student’s year in the US. All program volunteers are devoted to the safety of the students, and the host club and District maintain policies and procedures to protect the students.