Long Term Exchange

The Rotary Long-Term Youth Exchange program gives students the unique, life-changing opportunity to experience a year living and studying abroad as a Rotary Youth Ambassador. From Australia, students exchange for a full calendar year from January – January. Depending on your age, you can choose to participate in the program either during your high school years, or in a gap year following high school (Queensland students only).

See ‘Who can apply?‘ to see if you are eligible.

If you want to become truly culturally competent in another country (i.e. live and speak like a local!), gain independence, develop your leadership skills, build a network of lifelong friends from around the world and develop true resiliency and adaptability skills, the long-term program will be a truly life-changing opportunity for you.

Students stay with generous host family volunteers as arranged and screened by the host Rotary Club and District, and in most cases students will stay with 3-4 different families to provide a variety of experiences. Host families are usually members of the host Rotary club, or the parents of an future/current/former exchange student. Like us, many Rotary Districts around the world require the families of outbound students to reciprocate the generosity of hosting.

You can find out more about the requirement for your family to host inbound students here.

A Youth Ambassador, not a tourist

An interest in the world around you and a desire to travel is essential for a successful applicant in Rotary Youth Exchange. But what is even more important is your desire and willingness to be a Youth Ambassador, not a tourist for your year abroad.

To live away from home for 12 months is a demanding yet rewarding experience. It is not always easy, and requires great strength of character, tolerance and a clear understanding of yourself.

Being a Youth Ambassador means that you:

  • are committed to creating a positive perception of your home country, sponsor Rotary district, sponsor Rotary club, local community and family during your year on exchange. You will do this by
    • demonstrating interest in the world and people around you.
    • being proactive and engaged to participate in activities with your host family, Rotary Club, school and community.
    • seeing things as not good or bad but just different.
    • showing gratitude.
    • giving back at every available opportunity. For example, if you have the opportunity to hang out with your school friends or assist at a Rotary fundraiser, a good Ambassador will always put Rotary first.
    • thinking about what you can offer to your host country, club and families, not just want they can offer to you.
  • Don’t just want to go on exchange because it will be fun (which it will be!) but because you want to give back, share your culture, and learn a new culture to be part of our motto ‘Building world peace one student at a time’.

What about school?

Are you interested in going on exchange as a gap year after year 9,10 or 11? Read our FAQs page for lots of information about schooling as well as many other questions that you might have.

What does it cost?

Rotary Youth Exchange is the most cost-effective exchange program available to high school students. Why? Because our program is powered entirely by volunteers. Each year we set a program fee to cover our costs. Click here to find information about this year’s fee.

Hear from some past exchange students

Watch this video to hear from some of our past exchange students about their experience:

Check out a year in the life of a Rotary Youth Exchange Student to Switzerland with our 2020 outbounder Elisa Rose Muscat:

Interested in learning more about our long term program?

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