You and your son or daughter are considering an incredible experience that will expand not only your student’s cultural horizon, but your’s as well. We commend you for taking this step in advancing both their educational experience and their world-view.
As you review the information on our website, in addition to the wealth of information you’ll get when you attend our orientations, you’ll come to realize that the volunteers who participate in the Rotary Youth Exchange program both here and abroad are working tirelessly to keep your student safe and secure.
What to Expect
While each and every year abroad is different, your student will be completely immersed in their host country’s culture. He or she will live with one or several host families, attend high school, and make deep international friendships. Our experience is that students return home after their year abroad with a maturity, love and appreciation for not only those who supported them here in the USA, but also for those they leave behind.
Why a Study Abroad Experience Shouldn’t Wait for College
We hear this a lot … why should I send my high school student on a study abroad when they can go on a semester abroad while they’re in college?
The Rotary Youth Exchange study abroad program is a true immersion program, during which your child will become fluent (or very close) in a foreign language and become bi-cultural from having lived in homes and attended school in their host country. While college study abroad programs are also an important part of their education, you may find that it’s more expensive and structured than the high school Rotary program. Many college study abroad programs house their students together and offer excellent tours, but the Rotary Youth Exchange program offers your child the opportunity to live and thrive in their host country on an individualized level that the collegiate programs can’t match. Rotary Youth Exchange really is the difference between actually being and living in a foreign culture and country, and simply visiting it as a tourist.
Read this article from the May 17, 2017 online Education page of Forbes magazine, written by a 17 year old Italian girl who lived and studied for year in the U.S.A. while in high school:
Why Your Child Shouldn’t Wait Until College to Study Abroad
More on Who We Are
District 6220 has a long history of participation in the Rotary Youth Exchange study abroad program, and has been an integral part of the Central States multi-district since the early 1970s. District 6220 hosted and sent our first students in 1972-73, and in the years since then we are proud to have hosted nearly 900 students from throughout the world, and at the same time we’ve prepared and sent nearly 900 of our local students to Brazil, Russia, Japan, France, Turkey, Thailand, Estonia, Peru, Spain, Bolivia, Croatia, and … well, you get the picture. For a look at the countries we currently exchange with, go here.
Like all of Rotary International’s programs, we use an all-volunteer staff of dedicated Rotarians all around the world, while we in District 6220 also follow strict U.S. Dept. of State guidelines for training and in the administration of the study abroad program. District 6220 is one of 18 Districts in the Central States Rotary Youth Exchange program, which encompasses an area including Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Indiana, Illinois, and Ontario.
District 6220 is the recipient of the coveted “Gold Award” for its program administration from the North American Youth Exchange Network.
Your Support Network
The Rotary Youth Exchange program is administered through a well-developed international network of qualified and knowledgable volunteers, all of whom meet the rigid qualifications of both Rotary International and their individual country. Our absolute Number One priority is the safety and well-being of your student while he or she is involved in the study abroad program.
In the USA, your local community Rotary Club is your first point of contact, and your family will be connected with a trained Youth Exchange Officer and, depending on the size of your local club, a youth exchange committee. This format will be a mirror image of what your student can expect in their assigned foreign country.
Once you sign up, we have private Facebook pages for students and for parents, for you to celebrate success, ask questions, and express concerns. You will also have free access to our District staff for assistance throughout the process.
Rotary International and the Rotary Youth Exchange program worldwide consider the safety of our students as a top priority, and all Rotary Clubs and Districts participating in Youth Exchange throughout the world must undergo a rigorous certification process every five years. Included in that process is verification and updates to each District’s Student Protection Policy. To see more details on this very important aspect of Rotary Youth Exchange, please go here.
Outbound Parent Financial Obligation
The District 6220 Rotary Youth Exchange program will cost $6,500, as detailed in the Parent Contract. In brief, this payment will cover the expenses involved in getting your child to their host country. Once in-country, your student will receive — at no cost to you — their room and board with host families, schooling (often at private schools), and a monthly allowance (about $100 USD). Host families will often provide travel and recreational opportunities at no cost. Optional in-country or multi-country tours or excursions will be offered at an additional cost. In addition, an emergency fund of about $500 USD will be required, which will be returned to your student upon completion of their exchange year.
Your contract fee includes the following:
- Round trip airfare and visa to any country in the world to which your son or daughter is assigned
- A $1 million health and accident insurance policy, as well as in-country insurance if required
- Attendance for the student and parent(s) at our two District orientations in October and February (hotel, meals, programming)
- Attendance for your son or daughter at the Central States Rotary Youth Exchange Summer Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan in July, including charter bus transportation. (Parent attendance is optional)
- Rotary blazer, assigned reading material, and other goodies
- Language camps (if required by your host country)
While your family insurance will remain in force during your student’s year abroad, we’re also providing you with a first-class health and accident insurance policy provided through Central States Rotary Youth Exchange. For current information on the insurance policy offered to Rotary Youth Exchange students, click here.
A number of countries also require students to obtain in-country insurance, which will also be provided to your son or daughter as part of the Parent Contract, in addition to the Central States policy.