Welcome to the experience of your life! This is just the start to developing life-long leadership skills, learning a new language and culture, building lasting friendships with young people and families from around the world, and becoming a global citizen. If you live in the CNY District and are considering Rotary Youth Exchange, check our resources on this site and get in contact with us to get you started in this journey.Apply Now Learn More
Host families are the heart and soul of the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. By hosting a student for 3 to 5 months, you can introduce your family to another culture without ever having to leave home. A variety of family structures make for perfect host families. Small families, large families, working families, retired families: All reflect real-world families to our inbound students.Apply Now Learn More
Volunteering in Rotary Youth Exchange is a rewarding opportunity to work with the future. Every exchange student that is helped by you is a very real leader of a better, more peaceful society. Students learn understanding and create peace as they learn another language and culture and become aware of the greater world. Serve the youth of today by helping them build. Positions include everything from driving a student to an event to serving on a club’s youth exchange committeeApply Now Learn More
Exchanges: Troisdorf, Germany (STEP; Summer 2009); Taipei, Taiwan (LTE; 2010-11)
How exchange changed my life: From a young age I knew I wanted to travel abroad, meet new people, and learn new languages. In the summer of 2009, my dream was realized when I selected as Short-Term Exchange Program (STEP) participant to Troisdorf, Germany, a small village in between Köln and Bonn. Having studied German in high school and receiving the highest marks, I thought I was fluent! When I stepped off the plane, I realized very quickly I was not. This experience taught me humility and that every day is an opportunity to learn something new.
After graduating high school, I decided to take a GAP year through the Long-Term Exchange (LTE) program and was selected to live in Taipei, Taiwan, the capital of this incredibly unique island nation. Having never traveled to Asia before and having never studied Chinese prior to my departure, my first few months were like drinking from a fire hydrant—taking large amounts of new and different information in all at once. Through my time in Taiwan, I not only learned Chinese, but the unique culture and situation of the Taiwanese people. This experience taught me diplomacy in the face of adversity and the realization that not every human being is afforded the same rights and freedoms that we take for granted here in the United States.
Today, I’m proud to work for the U.S. federal government, informed and changed by my experiences through Rotary Youth Exchange to ensure the world we live in is a safe, clean, and prosperous one.
Exchanges: Venezuela (LTE, 2005-2006)
How exchange changed my life: Although I learned about Rotary Youth Exchange at a neighborhood Christmas party when I was twelve, I was fortunate to be an exchange student from 2005-2006 after graduating from Sauquoit Valley High School. I spent that wonderfully challenging year in San Cristóbal, Venezuela, near the border with Colombia. I had two gracious host families and made countless friends, who all continue to ask me when I am coming for my next visit. They all say I still have the accent from the region I lived in, and that I am Venezuelan at heart but “Gringa” by birth. These amazing people supported me, loved me, and helped me grow from being a very soft spoken, shy, insecure kid into a, still soft-spoken, extroverted, confident Spanish-speaking adult
After living in Venezuela I continued to look for opportunities, successfully, to live abroad and use my Spanish and newfound interpersonal skills. I utilized those skills as a Bilingual Customer Service Representative, and then while teaching English in China. Other than living in China, I have lived in Peru, Mexico, and the Czech Republic and have traveled to several other countries. I even got to go to Denmark to visit a former exchange student from my Senior year of high school and a friend from Germany who was on exchange with me in Venezuela! So while I was only an exchange student for a year, I made lifelong friends. It is because of the experiences and connections made on my exchange, along with the support from this district (7150), that I have stayed involved in Rotary Youth Exchange and became a Rotarian. Not only that, but I now teach Spanish along with the culture of the people whom I know and love dearly with the hope that someday one of my students will get the same opportunity as I did and be an exchange student to another country.