Rotary Youth Exchange
To download the Youth Exchange application, CLICK HERE.
THE TUALATIN ROTARY CLUB sponsors outbound and inbound exchange students each year in cooperation with Tualatin High School. This program gives local high school students a chance to study in a country other than their own, make new friends and bring the world closer together. You may learn a new language, a new way of living, and a great deal about yourself. While you are busy learning, the people you meet will be learning as well, about your country, culture and ideas.
Long Term Exchange Program (LTEP)
This is generally a 10-12 month exchange where you will attend an entire school year at a school in your host city and you will live with host families. The year you will be sent abroad is during your Junior year of high school. The Tualatin Rotary Club only sponsors one student per year for this type of exchange so the application process will entail several steps until one student is chosen as the outbound candidate. If you are not chosen, you are automatically qualified for a short term exchange.
Short Term Exchange Program (STEP)
This is generally a summer exchange that lasts 4-6 weeks. This is a direct family to family exchange, meaning you and your family host a student from another country during an agreed upon time, and following, you would fly to their country and live with them for the same time frame. Since it is a direct arrangement with another family, there is flexibility. One example, you could agree to spend a whole summer abroad and have your counterpart live with you the following summer. With STEP, you can also re-apply every year and arrange to go to a different country each time. The eligibility requirements are that you are between the ages of 15 and 19, and that your own family goes through the screening/training/background check process to be cleared as a family fit to host a student. If these requirements are met, you are guaranteed a short-term exchange opportunity as the Tualatin Rotary Club does not have a limit on the number of students who can do STEP.
The Tualatin Rotary Club will start by holding an interest meeting at the Tualatin High School library for interested students and their parents. This occurs in late spring each year and is the kick-off of the application process and a forum to learn more about the programs available whether the student is interested in LTEP or STEP. The 2016 date for this meeting has not been determined yet, though it will likely be in May. We will update the site when a date has been finalized, but also be listening to the morning announcements at school, as we will also be communicating that way.
LTEP students will apply to be an exchange student in the late spring of their freshman year following the interest meeting.
The deadline for these preliminary applications is June 15, 2016. Immediately following the application deadline, the Tualatin Rotary Youth Exchange Committee will review all applications and begin scheduling interviews with each of the applicants. The goal is to have all interviews completed by July 31st, but due to the timing of family vacations, this is not always possible. Following the conclusion of the interview process, the committee will try to make a decision as to who the outbound candidate will be. If this proves too difficult, there may be follow-up interviews to make the final decision. It is the committee’s goal to have the final selection made by August 15th each year in order to allow for students to have enough time to consider whether or not they need to re-arrange their class schedules to allow for spending a year in another country where you may or may not receive all academic credits.
This topic will be explored more in the interest meeting and is also something we recommend you consulting your school counselor about. If you are selected, you will spend your junior year living with one or more host families while attending high school in a foreign country. Rotary utilizes the sophomore year for a variety of trainings that will prepare you for your year abroad beginning with a more formal application that will need to be completed by the end of October that will be used to share with your hosting Rotary Club to give them a first look at who you are and what your represent.
As the oldest exchange program of its kind, Rotary Youth Exchange takes pride in choosing students who are academically above average, articulate, and demonstrate leadership in their community. Ideal candidates also possess qualities - like flexibility and a willingness to try new things - that will enable them to become excellent cultural ambassadors. You do not have to be involved with Rotary in any way in order to apply, although children of Rotarians are more than welcome to participate.
STEP students will also apply following the same interest meeting each spring utilizing the same application with the same June 15, 2016 deadline. Interviews will be arranged and conducted at the student’s home in order to begin the host family screening process simultaneously. Though once a family is approved, short-term exchanges are guaranteed and typically take place the summer following the summer the application is submitted. This gives ample time to not only orient the students, but also the hosting families, as well as allowing for Rotary to find you a compatible direct exchange in the country of your choice.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS (LTEP)?
Rotary Youth Exchange is one of the least expensive international exchange programs open to high school students. Because volunteers in Rotary clubs and districts administer the program, you will not have to pay fees to an agency to arrange an exchange.
Room and board while you are away will be provided by your host families, and your host Rotary club will finance the tuition for required academic programs. Your host Rotary club will provide you with a modest monthly allowance. Other than that, you and your parents are responsible for:
- Round-trip airfare to your host country
- Health and accident insurance
- All travel documents, such as passports and visas
- Clothing and spending money
- An emergency fund for your use during the year
WHERE WILL I GO, AND WHO WILL I STAY WITH (LTEP)?
When your plane lands in your host city you will be greeted by members of your host Rotary club and your host family. Typically you have some time to be shown the city and get acclimated, and you will learn how to get to school and get organized for your school year. Your host Rotary club will be very involved in your stay and it is common to see a lot of your new country with your Rotary contacts, your host family and with fellow students and their families. For the school year you will be a student in the local high school participating in the Rotary Exchange Program.
While the country to which you would like to visit is not guaranteed, the countries with which our students exchange include Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Thailand. (*This list can change slightly from year to year depending on the Rotary Clubs who want to participate globally.)
BEING A HOST FAMILY
Each year the Tualatin Rotary Club sponsors an inbound exchange student from a foreign country to attend Tualatin High School, and local families participate in the exchange as host families. Their role is to treat the visiting student as one of their own children and involve him or her in daily household chores and activities. It is your responsibility to provide room and board for your exchange student. However, most host families’ involvement with their student does not stop there. The families often share their native background while also learning about their visitors’ culture. This does not mean that you have to arrange elaborate entertainment, but simply make the student a part of your family. Give him or her opportunity to share in the same aspects of your family life that most teenage students experience here.
Suggested host family activities include:
- Meeting your exchange student on arrival and making them feel like part of your family;
- Helping the student achieve language mastery;
- Involving the student in obligations similar to those established for your family members;
- Helping the student meet Rotary obligations, including attending Rotary functions;
- Seeing that the student meets other young people;
- Providing a safe environment for the student and ensuring the student’s safety;
- Being tolerant of differences and willing to change your own ideas.
If you are interested in hosting a student, please contact Deborah Moen of the Tualatin Rotary Club at 503-507-5125 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional Youth Exchange Program information can be found by visiting the Rotary District 5100 Youth Exchange website.