Hosting a Rotary Youth Exchange student can be a rewarding experience. Through you and your family, the student that you host will have an opportunity to experience American life and culture. As a guest in your home, you will be able to provide to your student a taste of “real American life” and to create a lasting image of our country, its people and our culture. You will also have the opportunity to form a lifetime bond with a person of another country and culture, and through the student, experience his or her culture as well and learn some of his or her customs.
The primary responsibility of a host family is to provide free room and board for a student – as we say, “an open bed and an open heart.” It means allowing the student to become an integral part of your family. The student is expected to participate in family activities, including normal family chores. As the student is not permitted to drive, sometimes providing necessary transportation for the student would also be a family responsibility.
All adult members of the host family are required to consent to a criminal background check and to provide personal references in advance of being approved as a host family. This is part of Rotary’s commitment to creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for participants in Rotary activities and in safeguarding the welfare of the young people participating in the Rotary program. The host family is provided an orientation to the Rotary Youth Exchange program, including awareness of cultural differences and practices and cross-cultural interaction.
Students under the Rotary program will have completed an extensive application and have undergone an interview and orientation in their host country before ever coming to ours. They undergo another orientation to our country upon arrival. They are required to adhere to Program Rules and Conditions, which include no drinking of alcoholic beverages, no use of illegal drugs, no driving and no serious romantic relationships. Sexual activity is strictly forbidden. The students are required to provide their own clothing and personal needs and are required to maintain health and liability insurance. They are expected to attend school and to make a good faith effort in their coursework.
The host Rotary Club provides a Rotary Counselor for the student. It is the role of the Rotary Counselor to maintain contact with the student, the host family and the school during the exchange, and to act as a liaison with the host Rotary Club and the District Rotary Youth Exchange Committee. The Rotary Counselor can be called upon to assist should any issues arise during the exchange.