Who can apply?

The Rotary Youth Exchange program of District 9640 is open to Australian high school students based in our district.

Any current Queensland or New South Wales high school student who either lives in or attends a school located in District 9640 can apply as long as the relevant age and school year criteria is met. Children/grandchildren of Rotarians are encouraged to apply, but have no preference in selection.

Long Term Applicants:

Students applying for long term exchange can be in years 9-12 in the year they make application (but please see notes below if you are currently in NSW in Year 12). As Rotary Youth Exchange Students must attend a secondary school throughout their exchange year, eligibility for an International Secondary Student Exchange (ISSE) is generally linked to the student’s capacity to be enrolled in a secondary school within their host country.

As such, our age guidelines are guidelines only, and our ability to be able to enrol students in a secondary school overseas depends on the rules of each individual host country, as well as our ability to get approval for a reciprocal placement in an Australian school by the QLD or NSW Education departments.

In District 9640, our students must be aged between 15-18.5 years old at the time of their departure (approx. 15 January of their exchange year). Please note that some of our exchange partners do not accept 18 year old students – this will play a part in your country placement.

Will you be aged 15 at the time of departure?

We do accept students into our program who will be 15 on departure if we have deemed the student is mature enough to cope with the demands of the program, and the host district, club and school is willing to accept them.

Will you have completed grade 12 at the time of departure?

A Rotary Youth Exchange is wonderful opportunity to experience a gap year overseas after you complete Grade 12. You will be required to attend a secondary school throughout your exchange year, which is an opportunity for you to make friends and experience life as a student in another country.

For Queensland students, the International Quality (Schools) Unit (IQS), as the Queensland registration authority for ISSE programs, has approved student exchanges which are scheduled to commence in the year immediately following the student’s completion of Year 12. This option is possible, providing the exchange is arranged and approved while the student is still enrolled in a school sector course.

For New South Wales-based students, although the New South Wales Department of Education does not prohibit students going on exchange after completing Year 12, that student’s exchange cannot be reciprocated with a student coming into Australia as a place is not made available within the NSW schooling system. This means that in most cases we are unable to accept applications from students attending high school in New South Wales who will have finished Year 12 when they leave for exchange. However, if you live close to the Queensland border there is a chance we may be able to organise a Queensland club to sponsor you, so please get in touch to enquire.

Other schooling considerations:

If students undertake their exchange year in place of their regular year 10, 11 or 12 studies in Australia, credits may be available for subjects studied whilst on exchange but this is not usual. This needs to be checked with the students own school (and school to which they will return) before departure.

Student’s who are in Year 9 when they apply may be eligible to have their exchange year accepted by the Education Department to allow them to return and enter Year 11. This decision is made on a case-by-case basis, and is a decision for student’s and their parents to discuss with their school.

Remember that the real bonus for education is the experience students get from exchange itself.

While students must attend high school while abroad, the Rotary Youth Exchange is a cultural exchange and there will be many activities the student will be both asked and required to be involved in. Because of this, it can be difficult at times for the student to balance the demands of school work with maximizing their experience and impact as an exchange student. This is particularly the case if the student is also mastering a new language. As such, we strongly encourage students to use their exchange as a gap year (either during or after their Australian schooling depending on where they live).

Short Term Applicants:

The District 9640 STEP is for students aged between 14 – 16 years that are currently enrolled in secondary school within the district in years 9 – 11.

Each student will need to discuss and agree with their own school principal/teaching staff if the three month exchange will be deemed acceptable attendance by the school. The school will also need to agree to hosting the reciprocal inbound student for three months. The Rotary Youth Exchange Committee can also assist you with these discussions.

Virtual Applicants:

The District 9640 V-STEP is for students aged between 14 – 17 years that are currently enrolled in secondary school within the district.

Applicants for all programs will be assessed on a range of qualities, including their:

  • Academic progress and interests at school.
  • Genuine interest in people, places, current events and the world around them.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Commitment to their community, and activities they have undertaken to contribute to their school or local community.
  • Hobbies and interests including extracurricular activities such as sport and music.
  • Personality! You don’t need to be an extrovert to be a Rotary Youth Exchange Student, but you do need to demonstrate a willingness to be flexible, meet new people, have new experiences, undertake personal growth, and be an ambassador for Rotary, their family and their sponsor club and community.
  • General knowledge of Australia, its history, political system, socio-economic policies and its involvement in international affairs.
  • Personal conduct, beliefs and attitudes, which are widely accepted in the community.

Our commitment to diversity & inclusion

We are committed to ensuring Rotary Youth Exchange students across all spectrums of diversity are both selected and supported.

We seek to ensure that every Rotary Youth Exchange participant feels welcomed, valued, included, championed, heard, and have a sense of belonging.

For more information on Rotary International’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, click here.

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