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Short Term Exchange Program
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Short-Term Exchange Program     

Rotary’s Short-Term Exchange Program 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 live with a matched host family in their selected country from three to six weeks in the summer under the sponsorship of a local Rotary Club.

The objective of the Short-Term Exchange Program is to foster world peace, international understanding and good will by extending international communication at the personal level through the exchange of students of high school age. It is our hope that these students will be able to see firsthand the problems and accomplishments of other peoples of different colors, creeds, and cultures.

The ESSEX Short-Term Family-to Family Exchange arranges for the student’s family to host a matching Rotary applicant (between the ages of 15 and 18 1/2 years) usually during the summer. Exchanges can be arranged between the two families for not less than 3 weeks and not more than 6 weeks. The exchange in each country is for an equal amount of time except for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, India, and South Africa. These countries will not exchange with us unless we host their applicants for a minumum of 8 weeks during their summer months. During this period, the student must not have a job or commitments that would interfere with the obligations of hosting.


Cost of travel, the ESSEX fee, Rotary District fees, Rotary insurance, clothing and personal expenses are the responsibility of the participating students and their families.

Travel to the host country is arranged by each student’s family communicating with the other student’s family, determining dates, times and airlines to be booked for the exchange. Frequently, students who exchange first accompany their host sibling on the return flight home.

The earlier an application arrives, the better your chance of exchanging in your first choice country. It is also helpful for placement if you are able to host a student of either gender.


Qualifications for Short-Term Exchange Students    

 Any student, age 15-18-1/2, of good character who possesses a warm personality and a desire to live abroad and host in return is eligible for Rotary’s Short-Term Exchange. Candidates should be adaptable and flexible, well mannered and want to experience life in other countries and cultures. Children of both Rotarians and non-Rotarians are eligible.



Responsibilities of Outbound Short-Term Exchange Students

Students who are sent abroad under the Rotary Youth Exchange Program are required to accept the following obligations:

 • Students are expected to obey the laws of the host country at all times and accept the discipline of their host parents (if you don't, your exchange will be terminated and you and your parents will bear any travel surcharges).

• Students are required to sign a written statement that they will not, under any circumstances, drive a motor vehicle while under the supervision of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program.

• Students may be required to address Rotary Clubs, other service organizations, youth groups and community groups during their stay in the host country and will, on their return to the United States, be expected to address similar groups on their experience as an exchange student.

• During their stay abroad, students may be expected to attend any official Rotary and Youth Exchange Program functions as directed by their host club.

• Students are ambassadors for their home countries and must at all times behave in a manner which will reflect positively on their families, communities and country.

• Students must travel directly to and return directly from their host countries. Students are not allowed to stay in the host country after the termination of the exchange period.



Short-Term Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)  

1. How do I apply to be a Rotary Short-Term Exchange student?
2. Why is it called an exchange program?
3. Is proficiency in a foreign language needed?
4. How does a student benefit from being abroad?
5. How much does the short-term program cost?
6. What is so special about Rotary’s Short-Term Exchange Program?

1. How do I go about participating in the Rotary Short-Term Exchange Program?

Contact any local Rotarian since candidates must be sponsored by individual Rotary Clubs. The local Rotarian will put you in touch with the club or the district Youth Exchange Chairperson for details about short-term exchange and application forms. Your high school counselor may be familiar with the local Rotary Club and can help you make that contact.

2. Why is it called an exchange program?

You will be matched with a student of similar interests in a country of your choice. The two of you will spend an agreed-upon time together — half of that time in your home and half in his/her home.

3. Is proficiency in a foreign language needed?

No! The program is cultural in nature but is also for a short period of time. Many countries throughout the world teach English as a second language, and most participating students are quite proficient in it. If you have taken a foreign language in high school and elect to visit a country that speaks that language, you will be able to gain some conversational ability. Most students do not find language to be a barrier to having a great exchange experience whether they know the language or not.

4. How does a student benefit from being abroad?

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.

5. How much does the short-term program cost?

Three elements comprise the cost of the program:
• An application fee ($125.00) which includes the cost of processing and administration.
• Cost of Rotary and ESSEX-approved life and medical insurance while abroad. A one-month or three-month Short-Term Plan B insurance policy through CISI-Bolduc is mandatory. A 3-4 week exchange would require a one-month Plan B policy at the cost of $76.00 and a 6 week exchange would require a 3 month Plan B policy at the cost of $208.00
• Cost of round-trip airfare from your home to the foreign country where you will exchange.


You have the choice of using the ESSEX-recommended travel agency, Tzell Park Avenue or making your own travel arrangements. In either case the travel information must be provided to the ESSEX Short-Term Chair, Short Term Contact, and CISI-Bolduc Insurance as soon as it is confirmed by the travel agency used.

6. What is so special about Rotary’s Short-Term Exchange Program?

The Rotary International Exchange Program is volunteer-driven. It is organized and administered by volunteer Rotarians and their families throughout the world within the local Rotary club, the district, and regionally. Rotary volunteers screen student applicants, select the exchange students, prepare them, and arrange hosting abroad, travel, insurance, visas, etc. All of this is done by Rotarians as an unpaid service. 

Because we depend on volunteers, the Rotary Program is the least expensive, safest and highest quality program. Students are provided supervision by members of the local hosting Rotary club, who are directly involved in the welfare of these students. Because of this close connection with local Rotarian advisors, students away from home are more comfortable knowing that Rotarians from their host club are available to help and offer guidance.