Short Term Exchange Program (STEP)

Rotary Short Term Exchange Program (STEP)

Application Deadline is January 15, 2024

Curious about youth exchange but want to check it out before going for a full school year?  Want to learn a new language and experience a new culture for the summer?  The Rotary Short Term Exchange Program (STEP) may be just your ticket to an exciting summer experience.

Immersion into a new culture is one of the best ways to learn a new language. Spending a summer on a high school study abroad experience will not only change your perspective about your future but will change your life. You’ll make lifelong friends, gain a better appreciation of the world around you, and acquire new skills that will benefit you into adulthood and in your future career.

How Short Term Exchange Program (STEP) Works

The Short Term Exchange Program (STEP) is a summer exchange between families that typically lasts around a month.  You will live with a foreign student’s family for approximately one month, and then both students return to the US where the foreign student then lives with you for another month.  The exchange can work in reverse and the timing of exchanges varies between what’s agreed upon between the families. Students wishing to go to the southern hemisphere should consider hosting sometime between mid-November and mid-January.

Is STEP right for you? It might be if…

  • You’re curious and like learning about other cultures
  • You’re open to other traditions, perspectives and ways of doing things
  • You love meeting new people and making lifelong friendships
  • You want to learn more about yourself and your personal interests
  • You’re looking to stand out on your college or job applications
  • You’re interested in being a positive ambassador for your country

Eligibility Requirements

  • Age: 15-19 years old
  • Must have a valid passport
  • Available to travel during the summer months
  • Your family agrees to host student (most likely during the summer)
  • Student cannot have a job or other commitments that interfere with hosting another student
  • Home screening required
  • Background check for adult family members
  • Participation in orientation required

Program Costs

The program costs vary based on the student’s personal situation and country destination. Total cost for this short term experience is approximately $2,600. Below is a breakdown of the estimated expenses that will be paid by your family.  Prices are subject to change.

  • Program Fee* ($385)
  • Round Trip Airfare** (Est. $1,900)
  • Passport (Expedited $190; Standard $130)***
  • Emergency Fund (varies by country)
  • Travel Agency Fee (recommended)

*Program fee includes health insurance, and 3-month Rosetta Stone license. Also includes banner, pins, and t-shirt.

** Travel arrangements are the sole responsibility of the families involved.  We recommend using a travel agency.

*** It is recommended that one parent also have a passport in case of an emergency where travel to the host country is required.

Program Timeline

  • January 15                Application Deadline
  • February 10             District Interviews & Program Orientation
  • March-May              Country Placement
  • March-May              Language Development
  • June-July                   Exchange Experience

Above is the typical timeline. Exceptions are often made for southern hemisphere and winter break/holiday exchanges.

Short Term Exchange Program FAQ's

 What countries can I go to?

 Currently, Rotary District 6110 has contacts for exchange in these countries:

France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Romania, Austria, Poland, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, India, Reunion Island Protectorate of France, Cambodia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines. 

Other countries may be available as well.

 How are the Short-Term Exchange Program costs paid?

 The $385 Program Fee is to be paid after District Interviews and once accepted into the program.  The program fee includes items such as health insurance and the language development course.  The program fee includes a banner for club presentation, pins to handout to family and friends, and a program t-shirt for the student. The fee also covers administrative expenses to operate the program.

 The student is responsible for acquiring his/her own passport (& visa, if required).  Currently, USPS states that the routine processing time for passports is 7-10 weeks.  Passports may be expedited for an additional fee that shortens wait time to 3-5 weeks.  Waiting to apply for a passport until after acceptance from District Interviews is understandable and sufficient time should be available for a June travel experience.  However, the $60 expedited fee may provide the security of receiving your passport in time. Proof of passport and travel documentation will be required by April 30th. It is recommended that at least one parent have a passport as well in case of an emergency and travel to the host country is required.

 Some countries may require an emergency fund. These funds are reserved for any medical expenses that may arise and are refunded at the end of your exchange.

Are there any scholarships available for Short-Term (STEP) exchanges?

 Rotary District 6110 Youth Exchange does its best to not charge exorbitant fees so that anyone can enjoy a summer experience abroad.  Extenuating financial circumstances may eliminate the program fee.  Coordination of scholarship and fundraising efforts may also be made available with your local Rotary club.

 What do host parents provide for Short-Term (STEP) students?

  • Family Atmosphere & Room
  • Food
  • Travel, if family vacation
  • Transportation to and from activities

 Note: You do not have to be a Rotarian to be a host family. This program is open to Rotarian and non-Rotarian families alike.

 What do overseas host clubs provide?

 Youth Exchange Program Administration at the student's destination. If the student has any problems which the host parents can't resolve, they can go to the host Rotary Club Youth Exchange Officer or President for help.

  • Monthly Stipend (amount varies country to country)
  • A Rotarian counselor
  • Meals at Rotary Club meetings attended
  • Interaction with Rotary Club members and their families

 Interested in applying?

 Click this 2024 Short-Term Exchange Program Application link to begin your application.  The application deadline for Summer 2024 exchanges is January 15, 2024.

For additional information, please send an email to Rodney Arnold, rodney.arnold@northark.edu.

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