Guide for our members
Rotary clubs host exchanges for students ages 15-19 in more than 100 countries.
Types of exchanges
- Long-term exchanges last a full academic year. Students live with more than one family in the host country and attend school there.
- Short-term exchanges last from several days to three months. They are often structured as youth camps, tours, or homestays that take place when school is not in session.
Exchanges vary widely among districts; contact your district’s Youth Exchange chair to learn more.
Interested in participating in a Youth Exchange?
Contact your local Rotary club to see what exchange opportunities are available and what the application process involves.
How can my club get involved?
Rotary members, their families, and the community are important parts of a successful exchange. Before you get started:
- Check the list of noncertified districts (PDF) to make sure your district is certified to participate.
- Learn more about the program in the Youth Exchange Handbook (PDF).
- Contact your district leaders to find out about specific opportunities for your club.
How can my district become certified?
Rotary clubs and districts are responsible for creating a safe environment for all students. To plan exchanges, districts must be certified by Rotary International and follow all of Rotary’s policies. If your district is interested in becoming certified:
- Review the requirements for certification and the application process in the Youth Exchange Handbook (PDF).
- Meet with your district leaders, especially the district Youth Exchange chair and youth protection officer, to determine whether your district is prepared to participate.
- Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the certification process.
Don't lose your certification
The safety of young people is a top priority for any Rotary-related activity, especially when travel might be involved. Any district that plans exchanges with a district on the noncertified list will lose its own certification status. Club-level exchanges are also forbidden and jeopardize a district's certification status. Certified districts must follow all Rotary policies to maintain their status.
How to ensure student safety and manage risk
The district Youth Exchange officer, youth protection officer, and district governor prepare for and manage risks, including political unrest, natural disasters, crime, injury, and health concerns.
- Download the Rotary Youth Protection Guide (PDF) to learn about responsibilities when working with young people, including policies on student safety and risk management.
- Review the Youth Travel section, listed under 2.130.3, in the Rotary Code of Policies: Youth Travel Excerpts Reference (PDF) if students will travel during an exchange.
- Encourage club members and host families to take the online course Protecting Youth Program Participants in the Learning Center.
- Report any incident or concern to Rotary International’s Youth Exchange staff at email@example.com.
Rotarians and Peace Corps volunteers worked together to bring a youth exchange student from Tanzania to Minnesota, USA. Wanzita Ally excelled in school, where she joined the cross-country running team and signed up for an ambitious load of classes, including child psychology, accounting, and biology.
Rotarians and international exchange students worked together to install solar lights with Navajo in northwest New Mexico, USA. “For me, the Navajo solar lights project was a life-changing experience,” says Akos Varga, an exchange student from Hungary. “I was very glad seeing the people's emotions when they first turned their solar lights on. Probably that was the best part!”
Seema Tamang was the first outbound youth exchange student from Nepal. “Being blind, I have to admit I was a bit scared at first, as home life in the U.S. was much different than in Nepal. But it did not take long to adapt, and enjoy an amazing experience during which I grew in many ways.”
District Youth Exchange committee and multidistricts
District Youth Exchange committee
The district Youth Exchange committee coordinates the inbound and outbound Youth Exchange activities in your district and communicates regularly with Rotary International, the district governor, and clubs sponsoring exchange students. All district officers are also responsible for protecting Youth Exchange participants from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse by making sure exchanges follow Rotary certification requirements and local laws.
District Youth Exchange chair
District governors may appoint a Rotary member to serve as a district Youth Exchange chair. Download Lead Your District: Committee Chair (PDF) to learn more about this role. Youth Exchange leaders have secure access to the Youth Exchange Workgroup, where they can find an officers directory, resource guides, and other tools.
Districts often work together to coordinate Youth Exchange programs across a large region. These groups, called multidistricts, are recognized by the RI Board of Directors. Every multidistrict operates differently. Some help manage administrative duties like obtaining visas, while others help with student orientations or student placements. Contact your district Youth Exchange chair to find out if your district is part of a Youth Exchange multidistrict.