Why Rotary Youth Exchange?

Rotary Youth Exchange Australia provides an opportunity of a lifetime for Australian high school students to live and study abroad.

You’ll spend up to 12 months living and studying in a foreign country, learning a lot about yourself and the culture of your host families, host Rotary club, school mates and fellow exchange students.

Rotary’s Youth Exchange Program is recognised by participants, parents and schools as the best student exchange program in the world. It’s run by caring, dedicated Rotarians and their families who volunteer their time to the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, and many are former exchange students themselves!

Rotary volunteers screen student applicants, select the exchange students, prepare them, and arrange hosting abroad, travel, insurance, school admission, visas, etc. All of this is done by Rotarians as a service. They are not paid to provide this service.

Because we depend on volunteers, the Rotary Program is the least expensive, but safest and highest quality program. Students are provided local supervision by members of the local hosting Rotary club, who are directly involved in their welfare.

Students often attend Rotary club meetings and get to know Rotarians who are generally the local business and professional leaders of that community. Sometimes these connections benefit students later in life in their academic, business or professional lives.

What are some of the benefits of becoming a Rotary Youth Exchange Student?

  • Make lifelong friendships with people from all around the world.
  • Experience first-hand the culture of a different country and a new way of life, and learn about other cultures from the fellow exchange students you meet.
  • Build goodwill and understanding between countries.
  • Learn a new language.
  • Have the opportunity to make a difference by contributing to community service projects through your host Rotary club and Rotary district.
  • Learn a lot about yourself, become more confident, tolerant, open in your views, mature and independent.
  • Develop your leadership skills.
  • Become part of the Rotary Youth Exchange and Rotex International family for life!

Check out what some of our former outbound student have to say about their Rotary Youth Exchange Experience:

The history of Rotary Youth Exchange

Rotary Youth Exchange has a long history.

Like most Rotary International programs, Rotary Youth Exchange began with two clubs. The first documented exchanges were initiated by the Rotary Club of Copenhagen in 1927 and involved only European participants. These European exchanges continued until World War II and resumed in 1946 at the end of the war. Exchanges between clubs in California and Latin American countries began in 1939, and exchange activities spread to the eastern USA in 1958.

The first ever year long program started in 1958 as an exchange between Australia and the USA.

In 1974, the Rotary International board of directors agreed to make youth exchange an official program of Rotary International. The program is still administered by clubs, districts and multi-district groups and has grown to include more than 80 countries and more than 9,000 students each year.

Watch this video about Australia’s first Rotary Youth Exchange Student from Japan in 1962:

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