Hosting a Youth Exchange student from another country is a challenge—and an opportunity. Involvement with an exchange student challenges a host family to become familiar with another culture, while providing the opportunity to share a student's hopes and ambitions. These challenges and opportunities promise to enrich the lives of every member of your family.
Because Rotary exchanges with more countries than any other exchange organization, you could have a student from one of 163 countries living in your home. Not only will you provide an unforgettable service to a student from abroad, but you also will educate your family about the world around them.
Host family responsibilities
As a Rotary Youth Exchange host family, it is your responsibility to provide room and board for your exchange student. You are also expected to exercise general parental supervision over the student just as you would your own children, and involve him or her in daily household chores and activities.
However, most host families' involvement with their student does not stop at room and board. The families often share their native background while also learning about their visitors' culture. This does not mean that you have to arrange elaborate entertainment, but simply make the student a part of your family. Give him or her the opportunity to share in the same aspects of your family life that most teenage students experience in your culture.
Other suggested host family responsibilities include:
- Meeting your exchange student on arrival in your country and making the student feel at home as part of the family;
- Helping the student master the language and assist with school work;
- Involving the student in obligations similar to those established for your own family members;
- Helping the student meet Rotary obligations, which usually include attending Rotary functions, including club and/or district meetings;
- Seeing that the student meets other young people;
- Providing a safe environment for the student and ensuring the student's safety;
- Being tolerant of differences and willing to change your own ideas.
Rotary's role in supporting host families
Your local Rotary Club will support you during this journey in many ways. The Youth Exchange Officer (YEO) of your local Rotary Club will come to meet with your family and answer any questions you may have prior to signing up. In addition, they will conduct an in-depth host family training session, during which you will learn about all important aspects of this program.
Once the student arrives at your home, your YEO and club counselor will be available to you to support you with any issues that may arise. Your YEO and counselor will keep in touch with you - at least once per month - during the entire exchange, and are available to you 24x7 via email and cell phone.
Within 30 days of the arrival of the student, the Rotary Club will send a second representative to check in on your family and the exchange student, to ensure that everything is going well.
Applying to be a host family
If you are interested in being a host family, please start filling out this online form.