“An exchange is when strangers become family, foreigners become friends, a second language becomes like your first, and a year suddenly becomes days.”

Rotary offers Australian secondary students the opportunity to be hosted by a family in another country and to be immersed in another culture. This exchange program seeks to foster maturity and personal self-confidence, international friendships, cultural understanding and language skills.

To live away from home for the 50 weeks duration of the exchange is a demanding yet rewarding experience. It is not always smooth sailing and requires a great strength of character, tolerance and an acceptance of personal responsibility.

Students go to school in their host country and host families provide experiences that allow a genuine insight into the lives of people a student would be unlikely to meet under any other circumstances. There are currently 27 nations where Australian exchange students are regularly hosted.

The Rotary Youth Exchange program is open to secondary school students between the ages of 15 and 18 on the date of departure. All applicants and their parents are interviewed by your local District Youth Exchange committee and the District committee arranges training in a wide range of areas such as personal development, public speaking, communication skills, cultural awareness and financial management.

Bendigo’s local Youth Exchange contact details:

Peter Lamping, Secretary, District 9800 Youth Exchange Committee Telephone 0418 510 312 Email: pebass@bigpond.com www.rotaryyouthexchangedistrict9800.com.au