Home of the
Youth Exchange


Why Become an Exchange Student?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Every year, about 8,000 young people from around the world participate in Rotary’s Youth Exchange Program.

With Rotary’s Youth Exchange program you will travel to another country, learn a new language, and experience the culture in this new land.  You will live with host families as you learn about the culture and you continue your high school education.

Benefits of Student Exchange

Student exchange offers broad based benefits and outcomes for students keen to embark on this international adventure.

Most of these are intertwined and come together to constitute the overarching exchange experience.


  • International learning and knowledge propels students towards acceptance and understanding of an array of different cultural and community perspectives.
  • Language acquisition is achieved through practical immersion.
  • Awareness and adoption of alternative, multi-faceted approaches to learning.
  • Analytical and problem solving skills.
  • Enhanced interest in global issues as well as a broader general knowledge.


  • Self-development and awareness leading to enhanced self-confidence and self-esteem. This is often the most noticeable change in returned exchange students.
  • Maturity and social poise, fuelled by the necessity to confront challenges outside a familiar support network and comfort zone.
  • Integration into another family as well as the development of life-long friendships, fostering an appreciation of home and family.
  • A tremendous sense of accomplishment upon completion encourages students to develop independent opinions, make informed decisions and strive to attain fresh goals.


  • Students who go on to tertiary studies find themselves more comfortable in ‘foreign’ environments.
  • Prospective employers in almost every field look favorably upon experience gained while living overseas and knowledge obtained of another language and culture.
  • Increased pressure to communicate and relate to others develops an awareness of group dynamics and personal sensitivity towards others.
  • Successful program completion represents an excellent measure of personal flexibility, encompassing an ability to reach compromise, focus and succeed through challenging times.
  • Rotary’s Short-Term Exchange presents opportunities for students to advance their knowledge and world understanding by allowing them to visit a different country for a limited period of time.  Participating students are matched with an exchange partner of similar age and interest.  They live with host families in their host country for three to six weeks in the summer under the sponsorship of a local Rotary Club and then host their exchange partner for a similar period of time.

Being away in a foreign country has a powerful broadening and an accelerating effect on your maturing process.  Managing your own finances and making decisions give you more confidence and independence to take care of yourself.  You become more tolerant of other people, different cultures and different personalities.  Your youth exchange experience will be priceless, something that you can’t replicate any other way.

Past history has indicated that having a Rotary Youth Exchange experience on your college application can carry greater weight than your GPA, class ranking, or even SAT or ACT score at many premier colleges and universities.  Colleges are looking for students that are going to successfully complete their studies and graduate.  By completing an exchange in another culture you are showing them that you have the “right stuff”.  Future employers will take similar views of your exchange experience.

As an unofficial ambassador for Rotary, your community and your country, you will also bring the world closer together while you’re making lifetime friends.


If this experience sounds like something you would like to learn more about you should:

  1. explore the information on this website
  2. contact a Rotarian in your community
  3. email or call a local representative of the Rotary youth exchange program (click here to find your rotary district),
  4. complete an inquiry form.