The short term exchange program (STEP) is an opportunity for young students to gain independence and experience life in a different country or region without the commitment of a 12 month exchange.
In District 9640 our long term program is our primary program, but we do run a limited short term program each year as well. Our short term exchanges are three months long, and in 2023 and 2024 the exchange destinations we have on offer for our short term students are Brazil, Argentina and Italy. All students on our short term program must attend school. Rotary meetings, and make every effort to learn some language skills.
Unlike the long term program where the exchange happens at the district level (ie we agree to exchange a student with Denmark from our district, so we send out one student and we receive one student. The student we send out might be from Warwick, and the student we receive might be hosted in Burleigh Heads.) the short term program is a direct exchange with a student your own age. It is a family-to-family/school-to-school exchange where two students of similar age and interests are matched and agree to spend up to three months living with each other’s family in the family home and studying with them at their school.
Once the students are matched by Rotary, the students start to communicate with the matched student and their family and then Rotary will arrange an orientation for both students and families and will assist you to make your travel arrangements for the exchange.
The District 9640 STEP is for students aged between 14 – 17 years at the time of departure that are currently enrolled in secondary school within the district. Check ‘Who can apply?’ for more details on your eligibility.
A few things to note:
- We encourage students to think carefully about whether they want to go on a short term or long term exchange. While the short term program is a wonderful experience and less commitment than the long term program, the long-term program is a ‘life in a year’ that offers significantly more growth and development opportunities than the short term program. There has been more than one short term student in the past who has asked to change to the long term program when they are on exchange! Unfortunately, that’s not possible. So – choose carefully.
- Because the short term program is a much shorter timeframe, please be aware that we do look for students who might have some initial language skills for their host country (or demonstrate a propensity to learn quickly), as well as students who can demonstrate they are active and enthusiastic participants in their school and local community, who will make the most of the short time they have on their exchange.
- The cost of a short term exchange is not that much less than a long term exchange. That’s because the cost to get you on the exchange is relatively similar for both short and long term students. The main cost difference is in the reduced cost of the travel insurance, and then the reduced spending money and living expenses you will need to pay for while on your exchange.
Hear from Georgia Howe who went to Portland, USA, in 2019 on a short term Rotary Youth Exchange.