Posted by PDG Abe Feder
Everything You Wanted To Know About Youth Exchange But Were Afraid To Ask
An Interview by PDG Abe Feder International Service Chair with Donna Goetzenberger and Machel Considine District 5495Youth Exchange Chairs
1-Donna, Machel we all know that R.I. has 6 areas of focus (soon to be 7).  Where do you think that Youth Exchange fits?
Rotary Youth Exchange absolutely fits into Rotary’s programs! RYE belongs to the cornerstone of the Areas of Focus “Promote Peace.” In RYE, we always say “Rotary Youth Exchange builds peace and understanding one student at a time.”
2-In brief terms can the two of you outline the Y.E. process as it impacts our District and its Clubs.
Well,Youth Exchange plays an important part toward cultural understanding and respect among world citizens.   In fact, our United States government, through the U.S. Department of State (DOS) recognizes the importance of Youth Exchange and acknowledges the value of the program by stating,“Youth programs empower the next generation and establish long-lasting ties between the United States and other countries. Exchange programs focus primarily on secondary schools and promote mutual understanding, leadership development, educational transformation and democratic ideals.” This means that our District and the involved clubs are contributing to mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to friendly and peaceful relations.  We do this through academic, cultural, sports, and professional exchanges that engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and rising leaders in the United States and more than 160 countries.”
3-We all know the Clint Eastwood movie “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, tell us how that relates to Y.E.
We have great good… just look at what we do!
Rotary International maintains facts and numbers as to the impact Rotary Youth Exchange has around the world:
  • More than 9,000 students exchange globally each year
  • 96% of students successfully complete their exchanges each year
  • 95% of all Rotary Districts participate in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program
  • 92 countries around the world have District Chairs to support Youth Exchange
  • 80 countries actually sent or received students in 2019-2020
Our District contributes to those RYE numbers every year, and continues to have a strong RYE Program doing our part to build bridges toward international relations and cultural understanding.
And here is more “Good” stuff to look at:
Worldwide, Rotary Youth Exchange sends out over 9,000 students every year. The number of Rotarians they come in contact with:
  • Conservative estimate - 4 Rotarians per exchange student
    • Club YEO, Club President, Inbound Chair, District YE Chair
    • 9337 students (2018-19) x 4 = over 37,000 Rotarians
Impact of ONE student: +/- 255 people
  • With the student’s Host family, friends, neighbors, sponsoring Rotary Club, and Host School
Impact of 9,337 (2018-19) Rotary exchange students have in one year:  255 x 9337 = 2.38 million
As for the “Bad” well here it is:There are rules that the students agree to abide by while on exchange.  Students sign a pledge to obey the “6 D’s" upon which ALL RYE students receive training prior to going on their exchanges (no drinking, drugs, driving, dating (sexual activity),decorating (tattoos, piercings), and downloading (inappropriate content). On occasion rules are broken, and decisions are made to allow the student the opportunity to remain on exchange, or be sent home.
And for the “Ugly”Come on, have you ever seen an “ugly RYE student?
4-What is the process for hosting and sponsoring RYE students?
Interested students can be directed to the RYE website at www.RYE5495.orgfor further information on applying for our District’s Rotary Youth Exchange program.  Interested students may come through club referrals or directly to the District.  All interested applicants will be interviewed, and club sponsorship will be sought.
5-Of course there is a cost involved, can you tell us what it is for the Club, Student and Host family?
Student Costs, approximately $5,000 for the year abroad: 
RYE application/program fee
Round-trip airfare to assigned country, Medical Insurance
Travel documents (such as passports and visas)
Emergency fund deposit money (generally $500 deposit, and refunded if not used)Language camp (if required by the country)Additional spending money as needed and any additional travel or tours
Club Costs (can be shared with a partner club):
Sending Outbound Student
$500 District fee per student,Blue Blazer, Rotary pins
Hosting Inbound Student 
Annual budget estimate: $500 program fee to support the RYE student, plus $125/monthly stipend for that student
Host Family Costs:
Room and Board, Meals, Transportation to and from school and agreed-upon activities 
Families do receive income tax credit for hosting a student. Refer to IRS Publication 526.
6-Lastly Dona and Machel, in thinking about Y.E. can either of you think of one outstanding experience that has impacted a student-and where did they go with it?
Sure, Machel Considine, District 5495’s own RYE Inbound Chair was an exchange student to South Africa.  She has stayed in contact for 45 years with her first Host Family.  In fact, Machel traveled with her own family to South Africa in 2015 for a reacquaintance. She saw her first host family again in New York City in 2017. This is just one example, from one Rotary Youth Exchange student.  There are thousands of such examples of life-long global friendships made around the world through Rotary Youth Exchange, including those from our own District.  
Please do not hesitate to contact Donna Goetzenberger, RYE Chair, at; or Machel Considine, RYE Inbound Chair, at