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Rotary International

Deciding to Participate

Students reap many rewards from an exchange experience, including:
  • Serving as an ambassador for their country and community
  • Benefiting from immersion in another culture while adapting to a new way of life
  • Making lifelong friends, not only within the host country but also with other students from around the world
  • Learning about the practices and accomplishments of people in other countries
  • Returning home with a greater sense of the world and a deeper understanding of themselves and their culture
  • Assuming leadership roles shaped by lessons from the experience
  • Building memories that will be with them forever

North Star offers two types of exchanges:

  • Long-term: This exchange is open to students ages 15-19 and usually lasts 10-12 months. Most students are 16-18 years old during their exchange year. The student lives with more than one family in the host country and is required to attend school. Long-term exchanges may be extended to include part or all of the holiday/vacation periods immediately before or after the academic year.
  • Short-term: This exchange is open to students ages 15-19 and ranges from several days to several weeks. It often takes place when school is not in session, and usually does not include an academic program.
    Short-term exchanges typically involve a Rotary district-organized exchange of a son or daughter between two families, but they may also take the form of international youth camps or tours that bring together students from many countries.

Requirements & Eligibility

Rotary’s Youth Exchange program is open to young men and women, between the ages of 15-19, sons and daughters of Rotarians AND non-Rotarians alike. Applicants are selected by a sponsoring Rotary club and North Star leadership on the basis of an online application and a personal interviews, one by the local Club and one by North Star leadership. Qualified applicants are academically in the upper third of their class, articulate, and demonstrate community leadership skills.
Ideal Youth Exchange candidates are young, open-minded individuals who demonstrate leadership qualities that will enable them to become excellent cultural ambassadors for their country and the Rotary club or district that supports them. Applicants are not required to be involved with Rotary in any way before applying. Children of Rotarians are welcome to participate but are not given any preference. Students with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
Though most host districts do not require students to be fluent in the local language on arrival, students are strongly encouraged to enroll in classes to develop a basic competency before departure. Language proficiency is sometimes needed to obtain a visa, and host districts may require exchange students to take language classes after they arrive. An ability to understand the language will help students become comfortable with their new surroundings and ease homesickness. North Star does have numerous Pimsleur language electronic lessons and those will be made available to the North Star Scholar once selected.


Exchanges can occur between any two countries in which there are Rotary clubs. Rotary clubs in approximately 65 countries and regions annually sponsor or host Youth Exchange students. North Star Rotary Youth Exchange currently has an exchange relationship with over 25 countries.

At the end of the day or your second interview and your attendance at the Country Fair, you will asked to submit 5 countries you would like to be considered for. Only age available countries will be open for your selection (if you are too old or too young for a specific country it will not be available for your selection).

These selections will not be rated and therefore you will be considered for anyone of them, if you are selected. You also have an opportunity to select countries you do not want to be considered for an unlimited number will be available to you.

Application & Acceptance

While room and board for the exchange are provided by the host family, the student and the student’s own family assume certain financial obligations. While the Rotarians volunteer countless hours to provide a rewarding experience for the student and are able to offer a scholarship to all student’s accepted, the participation fee for students applying for 2024-25 is $7,000. Included in this amount are: round-trip air transportation, Rotary blazer and emblem, basic insurance and other misc. expenses. The host Rotary club will provide a modest monthly allowance, and will typically pay the student’s tuition for all required academic programs.

In addition, a program has been established by the North Star Rotary Youth Exchange Committee to help pay part of the Youth Exchange Program fee ($7,000.00) for those students who demonstrate financial need. After district interviews and acceptance of your country assignment, you will receive information in the mail in January regarding financial assistance. For more information about the participation fee, take a look at our Cost of Participation 2024-25 document.

The first step is to complete your online application and start submitting the additional documents required. Please visit the Where Clubs Meet District 5950 or Where Clubs Meet District 5960 sections of the district Web sites to find the Rotary Club nearest you. Or you may contact the North Star Rotary Youth Exchange Office: rotarynorthstaroffice@gmail.com. Please contact your local Rotary club representative and you will be advised of the club’s procedures for application. Your local Rotary Youth Exchange club exchange officer will review your application and schedule an interview for you and your parents. If you meet the requirements of a good candidate, your application will be forwarded to the Youth Exchange Office, and you will be invited to a final interview. All interviewed candidates will receive the results of this final interview in December.

If you are selected to be a Rotary Exchange Student, you and your parents must attend three mandatory Outbound Orientations. If yours is a one-parent family, only the parent with whom you live is required to attend. There may be one additional orientation session scheduled before departure. Departure to your exchange country will occur in June, July or August.

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 hosting Rotary club will discuss all program rules with you, you and your parents may wish to review the program rules to be sure that everyone has a clear understanding of what is expected. Program rules generally consist of common-sense stipulations, such as no driving of motor vehicles and the need to obtain special permission for travel while on the exchange. Full rules can be found here.