Rotary Youth Exchange

The Adventure of a Lifetime!

RYE logoWhat is Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE)? It is a cultural exchange for young people worldwide offered by Rotary International.

Whether you participate in Rotary’s long-term or short-term Youth Exchange programs, you’ll learn a new way of living, a great deal about yourself, and maybe even a new language. You’ll also be an ambassador, teaching people you meet about your country, culture, and ideas. You can help bring the world closer – and make some good friends in the process.

For over 75 years, students and host families have broadened their horizons through Rotary Youth Exchange. More than 80 countries and over 8,000 students each year participate in the program, which is administered at the regional level by Rotary districts and at the local level by Rotary clubs.

Who is eligible? 

Students of all races and creeds.

Short term: those who are not older than 21 years of age in June 2019.

Long term: those who are not older than 18 years and 6 months in January 2020 which will be the date of departure for the next long term group from South Africa.

What is the difference between short term and long term exchanges?

STEP (Short Term Exchange Programme) is a family-to-family exchange of about six weeks duration. Students do not have to attend school. Provided that they are not wage earners and are not older than 21 years of age at the date of departure, they may be accepted for the programme.  It is aimed at young people who do not wish to spend a whole year away from home. Its aim is to promote goodwill between countries and people through the exchange of youth, both as a vehicle for interchange of ideals and a broadening of experiences.

The Long Term Youth Exchange Programme is a twelve month educational exchange, arranged by Rotary, to overseas countries. It offers the student the opportunity to study overseas; to follow school programmes and subjects not offered here; to possibly learn a new language;. to act as an ambassador for South Africa while overseas; to experience a new culture and the traditions of the host country; and to travel in the host country. Students need to become a “member” of the hosting family and not expect to be treated as a guest.

Is it compulsory for an exchange student to host their overseas student in return? Most definitely. This is a fair concept and encourages both families to participate fully in the exchange. Exceptions may be made when certain under-privileged applicants are sponsored by Rotary.

How much does it cost? The Rotary set charge is R24 500 for the Long Term programme and R20 000 for the short term programme. Parents are also expected to provide an emergency fund of approximately US$300 and medical insurance. This is in addition to acting as host family for the overseas student on the return visit

More information can be found by downloading this leaflet about both programmes.

RYE Leaflet Front page

RYE Leaflet Back page

If you wish to apply then please fill in this Initial application form and email to our Club Secretary on  The local Rotary club, Rotary Club of Parys, will review your application and decide whether to put your name forward to our District for consideration.

If the local Rotary club thinks you are suitable, then for the Long Term programme, you will need to download the Full application form This has to be completed including a medical assessment from your doctor and a dental assessment from your dentist.

Interviews for both Short Term and Long Term Programmes will be held locally in March 2019.

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