Rotary accepting applications for Youth Exchange program

By Reader Staff

Traveling the world is often the best way to see and experience other cultures. Living in another country is even better, as full immersion is a surefire way to expand your view of the world.

The Rotary District No. 5080 is now accepting applications for its Youth Exchange program, placing students in homes in more than a dozen foreign countries for an entire school year.

Youth Exchange students pose with Rotary displaying flags from their host countries. Courtesy photo.

The Youth Exchange “offers young people the opportunity to experience the cultures, problems and accomplishments of people in another country,” according to Rotary’s application. “Participants return home with a broader view of the world and a deeper understanding of themselves.”

The exchanges typically last an entire academic year, varying from 10 to 11.5 months depending on the host country. Students depart in July/September and return after the end of the academic year.

To be eligible, students must be between 15 and 18 years old on Aug. 1 of the departure year. Students who have graduated high school as of Aug. 1 of the departure year are not eligible. Students should be academically above average, articulate and demonstrate community leadership skills.

The countries offered include: Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Switzerland, Thailand and Taiwan.

The Youth Exchange costs approximately $6,250 paid in four installments. This includes round trip airfare, full medical insurance, visas, outbound orientation for youths and parents, any orientation sessions in the host country, personal business cards with a photo and district patches, pins and regalia. Other costs not covered include: a refundable $300-$500 emergency fund, passport fees, travel expenses for visa acquisition, a required blazer, school uniforms where required, optional tours and personal miscellaneous expenses in thenhost country, and language camp or schools.

Preliminary applications should be completed before the end of October, with the first two Saturdays in November slated for interviews of applications. Completed applications and a non-refundable $500 payment are due Dec. 1 marks to the Rotary district.

For local families interested in hosting foreign exchange students for three to four months must qualify for a background check, participate in a home review and training, and must provide room and board and a home environment for the visiting student.

For more information, contact Diana Erickson, District No. 5080, outbound chair, at [email protected]

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