Rotary Youth Exchange has been a part of Rotary International since 1929, and is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders who gather to provide humanitarian service with a goal to build goodwill and peace throughout the world. The Rotary membership of 1.2 million throughout the world in over 32,000 local Rotary Clubs provides a worldwide volunteer network of support for its programs, which include addressing critical issues such as poverty, hunger, clean water, health, and illiteracy.
Rotary Youth Exchange is one of the most well-respected programs in Rotary, sponsoring 9,000 high school students each year, who leave their homes and families to live in another culture for a year, learning to share themselves and their beliefs with their host families and friends, while also learning and adapting to a new culture, gaining new friends, and adopting a new family. Along the way, students in the RYE program learn a new language and culture, gain lifelong friendships throughout the world, and often become a valued member of a family in their host country. The program is both cultural and educational.
“I got to be the big sister, the little sister, and the share-the-bathroom-with-a-whole-lot-of-other-people sister. Best of all, I found out what it was like to have a dad.” — Sherry-Lynn Marinus McDougall, Zimbabwe to Gladstone, Michigan 1989-90
District 6220 encompasses Northern Wisconsin and much of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and includes nearly 50 local Rotary Clubs — all of which include men and women of their communities who volunteer to work toward the Rotary International goal of “Service Above Self”.
The Rotary Youth Exchange program is a vibrant part of District 6220. Every year our all-volunteer staff works closely with 20-25 U.S.A. high school students and their parents to prepare them to take that life-defining step across the geographic boundaries to live in a foreign culture, learning to love and appreciate the friendships, food, and experiences along the way. And, since we’re a true reciprocal youth exchange organization, we also host 20-25 high school students from throughout the world each year.
The District 6220 Rotary Youth Exchange program is a key partner in the Central States Multi-District, providing Youth Exchange direction and oversight to 18 Districts in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ontario. The expertise and support of the experienced Youth Exchange volunteers in District 6220 and the entire Central States region are readily available to assist in the process of developing our students. Each year, over 400 high school students (200 “Inbounds” — students who arrive in the USA, and 200 “Outbounds” — U.S. students who travel abroad for a year) have the full support of the Central States staff.
If you think you’d like to challenge yourself and be part of this exciting opportunity, spend some time learning about us on this site, and then contact us with any questions you may have.
If you’d like to find a local Rotary Club, go here.
For a look at what District 6220 Outbound students have to say:
And, for a look back on one of the earliest Rotary Exchange students: