One of Rotary International’s signature programs is Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE). It combines our dedication to supporting strong youth development and helping build life-long leadership skills, with our commitment to promoting greater understanding through international contact and communication.

The student exchange program for students in secondary school. Since 1929, Rotary International has sent young people around the globe to experience new cultures. Currently, about 9,000 students are sponsored by Rotary clubs every year. Typically, students are sent to another country for a year-long stay, generally living with multiple host families during the year and being expected to perform daily tasks within the household as well as attend school in the host country.

Since the early 70’s Traverse City Rotary club has been active in Rotary Youth Exchange through Central States Rotary Youth Exchange. The local Youth Exchange Committee coordinates and reviews international exchange student applications for selection and sponsorship by the Rotary Club. Each year our Traverse City Rotary Clubs host 2-3 inbound exchange students and sponsor 2-4 local students for exchange. Students are hosted by 2-3 families during their 11 month exchange and attend one of the TC senior high schools. Members assist with documentation requirements, recruiting and supporting host families and overseeing student activities throughout the year for inbound and outbound students. As part of Rotary District 6290 RYE, we attend 5 conferences during the year for more cultural exchange and workshops for the students and volunteers.

Exchange students participate in many Rotary activities, including the Rotary Show, Student Run Rotary Meetings, Munson Manor dinners, and the district conference. They learn our language and culture, and take home a better understanding of people that are different yet really the same as they are. In addition to making friends here, they provide a foundation for world peace through understanding. Carl Wilhelm Stenhammar, former Rotary International president, said “My dream is for every 17-year-old to become a Youth Exchange Student. If we could achieve this there would be no more wars.” Everyone involved with RYE understands and believes this.

For more information, call the office or send Carla Weaver, our Youth Exchange Officer, a message through our contact form.