Prospective Students

Have you thought about living in another country, even for just a little while?  

That’s the experience students experience and share though Rotary Youth Exchange! 

District 5160 sends local students abroad and welcomes students from overseas into homes, Clubs and communities in our part of Northern California, extending from Berkeley to Burney Falls. 

An exchange is enriching and fun … but it is not a vacation. 

Rotary Youth Exchange is a short-term or long-term opportunity for young people to study abroad. The goal of the program is to promote the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace at the person-to-person level. 

Students attend school. Those studies may or may not count for credit in their home country. Rotary emphasizes service and social aspects of the exchange, with the expectation that students give their best effort as they learn in a different education system. 

During a long-term exchange, students spend a year (August – July) in another country, learning a new language and culture, while living with two to three host families and attending classes. 

A short-term exchange may involve attending a camp or spending several weeks with a family overseas and reciprocating that arrangement at home. 

Students range in ages from 15-19.  

Intrigued? Please click on the Resources menu below or contact our District Committee.

To find a club in your area, click here.

Exchange Program Overview


It is not a vacation! Rotary Youth Exchange is a short-term or long-term, study-abroad opportunity for young people hosted by local Rotary clubs.  The goal of the program is to promote the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace at the person to person level.

At this time, District 5160 does not offer a short-term exchange program.  During a long-term exchange, students spend a year (August – July) in another country, learning a new language and culture, while living with two to three host families and attending classes at a local school.


Rotary Youth Exchange programs are open to students ages 15-18½ years**. To qualify, applicants should be above-average students who have demonstrated leadership and volunteerism in their community. Candidates should also possess qualities such as flexibility and a willingness to try new things that will enable them to fully experience life in another country and become excellent cultural ambassadors.  Children of Rotarians and non-Rotarians are eligible and encouraged to apply.

All applicants must be sponsored by a local Rotary club and complete a written application and an in-person interview.

**Students must be a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 18.5 years as of August 1st of the year of departure to be eligible to participate in this program.


Most youth exchange programs charge in excess of $10,000.  In comparison, the long-term exchange program through Rotary should be viewed as a scholarship , covering the costs of living and studying abroad for an academic year.  The student does assume certain financial obligations:

District 5160 charges a flat fee of $5899 which covers:

  • Roundtrip Airfare (higher than you might expect because of specific ticket requirements)
  • Insurance
  • Visa
  • Language Camp
  • Interviews and Orientations
  • Blazer
  • Name Badge
  • Business Cards
  • Trading pins (but you’ll want more than the ones we give you!)
  • $400 non-refundable application fee

The flat fee does not cover:

  • Passport
  • Host Family Gifts
  • Spending money (outside of a small monthly stipend provided by your host Rotary Club)
  • Flight cost for trip to consulate if required

Rotary provides:

  • Room and Board with 2-3 Host families
  • School Registration
  • Small monthly stipend (usually $75 – $100 USD)

For more information on cost, please refer to Financial Agreement


District 5160 currently exchanges with certified programs in the following countries and we hope to add more countries as we grow our program:

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Bolivia
  4. Brazil
  5. Colombia
  6. Czech Republic/Slovakia
  7. France
  8. Hungary
  9. Sweden
  10. Switzerland
  11. Taiwan

Unfortunately, due to the nature of our program we cannot guarantee that you will be placed in a specific country.  We do our best to make the best fit between student and country.  When applying, you will get to indicate which languages interest you the most and we do try to take that into consideration.  Our District does not exchange with English speaking countries as we feel learning a new language is an integral part of the program.


Rotary Youth Exchange is one of the largest, oldest and most respected Youth Exchange Programs, providing opportunities for more than 8,000 students each year.  And it 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, school admission, 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 local 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. Students often attend Rotary Club meetings and get to know Rotarians who are generally the local business and professional leaders of that community. Sometimes these connections benefit students later in life in their academic, business or professional lives.

Additionally, through its membership in Wessex, our District is a member of the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET), a nonprofit organization committed to setting standards for international educational travel and monitoring compliance with those standards. Rotary’s youth exchange program is also approved by the U.S. Department of State.