What is ROTARY Youth Exchange?

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders, united worldwide and dedicated to humanitarian service and ethical standards in business. Rotarians promote world understanding & peace through programs like Youth Exchange. With more than 29,000 clubs, in more than 160 countries, Rotary has an extensive network of volunteers who are community leaders.

Rotary has experience: a history of more than 50 years of successful international youth exchanges.

Rotary has commitment: the dedication of more than one million Rotarians who want to make your child’s experience one of personal growth and warm memories.

Rotary Youth Exchange

This year almost 8,000 students from 80 countries will enrich their lives. They will see the world the way it is best seen-from the inside out-through Rotary’s Youth Exchange.

A ROTARY ACADEMIC YEAR HIGH SCHOOL EXCHANGE STUDENT (LONG TERM EXCHANGE STUDENT) travels abroad & attends school in the host country for a full year. They participate in camps, meetings, & trips in their host country & surrounding countries (some are optional). They will be immersed in the language & culture of their host country. Your student ambassador will be hosted by a local Rotary Club in the exchange country and will be hosted by one to four families approved by Rotary. The host Rotary Club will issue a monthly stipend in the foreign currency. This is an enriching experience for the student & an opportunity to develop lifelong friendships. Universities recognize the value of greater self-reliance & social maturity students acquire during their year abroad.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE? The youth exchange program is open to qualified young men & women between the ages of 15 & 18 ½. Some countries have narrower age restrictions. The sons & daughters of both Non-Rotarians & Rotarians are eligible. Ideally the student should be either a high school sophomore, junior or senior. Graduating Seniors can apply if they are within the age limit. Applicants are to be approved by a local Rotary club on the basis of a written application and personal interview.

What is Rotary Y.E.S.?

SCANEx  is an organization formed by nine Rotary International Districts 5000, 5240, 5280, 5300, 5320, 5330, 5340, 5420, & 5490 (includes So. CAlifornia, Arizona, So. Nevada Exchange plus Hawaii & Utah) that have pooled their resources to provide effective & efficient services. SCANEx can provide you with the advantage of years of international youth exchange experience together with Rotarians in your local community who can support you. SCANEx is not a commercial program. It is an organized effort by volunteer Rotarians. All revenue generated is used to offset the costs of operating the program. We are dedicated to providing an affordable and worthwhile experience.

District Programs

Currently, District 5000 offers the long-term academic year exchange program. Qualified students are 15~19 years old and in good academic standing.

Long Term Exchanges

These high school year exchanges generally begin in August. Each year Rotary Y.E.S./SCANEX Youth Exchange Officials select countries with whom we plan to set up exchanges. The countries selected are carefully screened to ensure an exceptional experience. Some of the countries that are usually available for the year long program are:
South America – Argentina, Chile*, Ecuador*, Peru, Brazil & Mexico*
Asia – India, China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Philippines, & Thailand
Australia & N.Z. – may not turn 18 during exchange in these countries
Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden & Finland – language camp required on arrival at extra cost
Eastern Europe: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Turkey & Russia
W. Europe: Italy*, Spain*, Belgium, Germany, Austria, France* (min. age France & Germany 16)
Africa: Republic of South Africa, Kenya & Zimbabwe

Countries with an asterisk * require the student to appear in person at the country's consulate (usually in San Francisco) for a personal interview in order to receive the visa. Students must travel to the consulate at their own expense.  UPDATE:  Because of COVID many countries that had required in person interviews have suspended the requirement.  They may be reinstated at any time but let's hope not.If you would like to hear what other exchange students have to say about their year abroad both in the United States and countries foreign to the USA, go to www.youtube.com and do a search for "Rotary Exchange Student".

What does it cost?

The cost is very reasonable since the Program is administered by Rotary volunteers. The students are guests of Rotary Clubs and the hosting families. Living expenses are provided at no cost to exchange students. Students will need to have some funds from home to pay for non-living expenses.

Long Term Exchanges …..…..…. ~$7000*

*Flat fee is subject to change due to variables beyond our control such as airline fares, visa fees, insurance, etc. Cost will be confirmed when you  apply. All applicants pay the same fee regardless of destination country

Long Term students receive a stipend equivalent to $100 per month from the hosting Rotary Club in that country.

Costs for Long Term include airfare with flexible return flights, health and accident insurance, evacuation insurance, visa acquisition fees and courier, orientations, materials & administration. Students also receive Rotary business cards, Polo Shirt, blazer, Badge, Pin, & Patch. The cost of the program is significantly less compared to comparable programs since Rotary is a volunteer based International Organization. Rotary Clubs, host families and Rotary Districts absorb all but the above fees in order to make the program affordable to most participants.

An $800 deposit is required to begin processing your application. In the event you are not placed with a host family / club, all but up to $100 will be refunded. The earlier the application is received the greater the chance of placement. All parents, stepparents & guardians must approve and sign a formal statement in order for their child to participate in the program.

How Do I Sign Up for a Long Term Application?

In order for a student to be considered for being a candidate for Youth Exchange, first contact the district youth exchange officer  (DYEO) using this link: Youth Exchange Contact.  The DYEO will reach out to clubs in your area to determine if there is one who will sponsor the student..  The club then arranges for an interview with the student and the student's parents to determine whether the club wishes to go forward with the sponsoring process.

Students and their parents should be aware that there are a general set of criteria that the district adheres to for student consideration. There will also be a set of questions that the student should think about before the interview as well as a set of questions that the parents should consider as well. If the club does agree to consider sponsorship in more detail, the student then fills out the Long Form which is described below.

  The link to begin the formal application is here:  http://yehub.net/SNX-obapp.  The application should not be started until a club has been found to sponsor the student.  This portion of the application is the first eight (8) pages or photo requirements of the Long Form. Filling this form out will take time and thought, especially the student and parent letter portions. After the Long Form application has been finished, it will be reviewed once more by a committee from the Rotary club which is sponsoring the student. Upon having a successful final review, the club YEO will e-mail the student a few supplemental pages specific to our multi-District program once your application is received if needed. Submit a copy of your U.S. Passport to the Rotary club contact with the $800 deposit check (made out to SCANEx) by mid-December or sooner.

Timely applications will help you get one of your country choices but please understand that country locations are never guaranteed.  It takes a lot of time to fill out all the forms so please start early.

For more information contact your Rotary District’s YEO (Youth Exchange Officer): Tom Gross, Youth Exchange Officer, Hawai'i Rotary District 5000

For the interested student:

  • Contact your nearest Rotary Club and ask them to be your sponsoring club
  • Fill out the application

For the interested club:

  • Once an application is turned in, appoint a club member to be the designated counselor for the student
  • Contact the District youth exchange officer immediately to begin the application process,  complete the contact us form.


Rotary International


The pages are both informational and directional. That is, they are intended to be a series of protocols which clubs should follow in order to both sponsor Inbound and Outbound Exchange students and at the same time adhere to the Department of State regulations and Rotary International Code of Procedures as they relate to Youth Exchange. This is a work in progress. It is recommended that club Youth Exchange Officers (YEO) revisit these pages periodically to check for updates.