ROTARY YOUTH EXCHANGE PROGRAM
The Youth Exchange Program of Rotary International began, as most Rotary programs do, on the local level. The first documented exchanges were initiated by the Rotary Club of Copenhagen in 1929 and involved only European students. Exchanges between clubs in California and Latin American countries began in 1939, and exchanges spread to eastern United States in 1958. In 1972, Rotary International made Youth Exchange an official program.
Approximately 8,000 students ages 15-19 from over 82 countries go abroad every year under the auspices of the Rotary Youth Exchange program. They see the world as it is best seen—from the inside out! The increased self awareness and global perspective they derive from the experience would not be possible without the commitment of many volunteer host families and the dedication of those Rotarians who serve as Youth Exchange officers.
Rotary exchange students spend an academic year, or an extended period of time, living with a host family and attending high school in a country other than their own. The students may learn a new language, but they also learn a new way of living and a great deal about themselves. The people whom the students meet in their new country also learn about the student’s country, its culture and the student him/herself. In this sense, Rotary Youth Exchange students become young ambassadors, helping to bring the world closer together.
Each year local Rotary districts and clubs worldwide arrange thousands of international Youth Exchanges for high school-aged students. Local Rotary districts and clubs first screen youth interested in the program by using detailed applications and interviews. This process helps ensure that only highly responsible and mature students are sent on an exchange. Generally, students are selected based on scholastic record, linguistic ability, community involvement, potential as a cultural ambassador, and age. A primary goal of the program is to foster world understanding by way of intercultural exchange.
The Rotary Club of Glens Falls, through the Rotary District 7190, has been hosting and sending students on this program for over 30 years. The club is always seeking potential host families for future inbound students in either Glens Falls or Queensbury school districts. For more information on becoming a host family or on becoming an outbound Rotary Exchange Student, please contact the club President or click here for more information or a Youth Exchange Program Application.