Youth Exchange
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ESSEX is the Eastern States Student Exchange program.

Every year more than 8,000 teens will see the world the way it is best seen - from the inside out - through the Youth Exchange program. This could be your year.

As a Rotary Youth Exchange student, you will spend a year living with a host family in a country other than your own. You may learn a new language; you will learn a new way of living and a great deal about yourself. But there's more. While you are busy learning, the people you meet will be learning as well - about your country, culture, and ideas. You will be an ambassador. You will be helping to bring the world closer together, and you'll be making good friends in the process.

If you are ready for the challenge and the rewards of living in another land as an exchange student, then you are ready to discover new worlds through the Rotary Youth Exchange.


If you are a high school student between the ages of 15 and 18 [Students must be over 15yrs 6months and under 18yrs on 1 September], then you are eligible for Rotary Youth Exchange. As the world's oldest exchange program of its kind, Rotary Youth Exchange takes pride in choosing students who are academically above average, articulate, and demonstrate leadership in their communities.

Ideal candidates should also possess qualities - like flexibility and a willingness to try new things - that will enable them to become excellent cultural ambassadors. You do not have to be involved with Rotary in any way in order to apply, although children of Rotarians are more than welcome to participate.

Student responsibilities

All students are ambassadors of the Rotary club that sponsored them and of their country. They are expected to follow the Youth Exchange program rules, be open to new experiences, and strive to learn the language of the host country.

The student and his/her own family will assume certain financial obligations. Rotary Youth Exchange is one of the least expensive international exchange programs open to high school-aged students. Because volunteers in Rotary clubs and districts administer the Rotary Youth Exchange program, you will not have to pay fees to an agency to arrange an exchange.

With Rotary, you and your parents or guardians are responsible for:

  • Round-trip airfare to your host country
  • Health and accident insurance
  • All travel documents, such as passports and visas
  • Clothing and spending money
  • An emergency fund for your use during the year

Other Information

Room and board while you are away will be provided by your host families, and your host Rotary club will finance the tuition for required academic programs. Also, on long-term exchanges, your host Rotary club will provide you with a modest monthly allowance. Some Rotary clubs have established scholarships for disadvantaged students to help fund the cost of plane tickets and other expenses. Check with your local Rotary club to see if they offer such assistance.

Although Rotary International offers support to local Rotary Youth Exchange programs through publications and suggested guidelines, Rotary districts and clubs run their programs independent of Rotary International. Therefore, each club or district program will have its own specific rules for students to follow. Students accepted into the program sign and agree to abide by a list of program rules prior to their departure from home. While the host Rotary club will discuss all program rules with you, you and your parents may wish to review the program rules to be sure everyone has a clear understanding of what is expected.


Send an email to Donna Maytum, the Newport area co-coordinator for Youth Exchange, at