Youth Exchange Program
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
-Neale Donald Walsch
Rotary Youth Exchange builds peace one young person at a time. Students learn a new language, discover another culture, and truly become global citizens. As a Rotary Youth Exchange student, you’ll spend up to a year living with a few host families and attending school in a different country. Where ever you reside, you’ll learn a new way of living, a great deal about yourself, a new language. You’ll also be an ambassador, teaching people you meet about your country, culture, and ideas. You can help bring the world closer – and make some good friends in the process. More than 8,000 young people each year have experiences like these through Rotary Youth Exchange. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. Are you ready for it? Exchanges for students ages 15-19 are sponsored by Rotary clubs in more than 100 countries.
Why does Rotary support YOUTH activities and opportunities like the Rotary Long Term Exchange?
When we see the change in both the Returning Students; and the Inbound visiting students; it confirms the positive impact youth events hold for all involved.
These young people are the leaders of tomorrow. They mature; become more open and accepting of different people, different cultures; different ways of doing things. Youth exchanges break down borders; provincially, nationally, internationally. Many youths cease to see colour or race; and are more “worldly” after realizing that their life, their country, their part on the planet is just one small spot in the grand scheme of things.
As a parent of an outbound student almost 15 years ago; and also host parent to numerous inbound students; I directly witnessed the connection established and support given and received between the youth and adults who helped make their exchange a success. Both the student and the adults they interact with are better because of the exchange. We as Rotarians have a profound impact on the youth that are part of these exchanges. Unlike a parent of an exchange student(because as parents we know our kids sometimes don’t think we know it all); students may listen better; look up to, and learn from all the adults around them that they are exposed to during their exchange experience. These exchanges empower youth to learn a new language, and meet people from many different countries and walks of life. These exchanges help take down the walls around the world that can lead to future conflicts; big or small. The exchanges mold the students into better people who become less selfish about their own station in life; and more conscious of what they can do to make their life matter. I feel exchange students become stronger and more resilient and learn tools for getting through tough challenges in life.
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