Opening Your Heart and Home
Without the willingness and sincerity of families who have opened their hearts and homes to students they have never met, the Rotary Youth Exchange Program would not exist. In an ever-changing world, it is important that we expose our children, our students and ourselves to areas and people unlike us. It is a way to open our eyes to a global community that shares the same hopes and dreams that we do.
It is important for adults and children alike to learn about others and reaffirm their faith that people from all over the world are good. What better way to do that than becoming a host family?
Becoming a Host Family
A variety of family structures are perfect for being host families. They can be small, big, with many children, or no children. We aim to reflect real-world families to students, and we know that real families come in all shapes and sizes.
A Mutually Rewarding Experience
Similarities of cultures should be celebrated and differences should be embraced because there is so much to learn from one another. Each side can act as teachers, leaders, and ambassadors of their cultural background by answering questions, teaching each other, and opening minds to new thoughts and experiences. No matter our age, we are all students of culture and life, which is why becoming a host family is so rewarding.
Host Family Resources
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Host Family Requirements
As a host family, you agree to host an exchange student from one of the many countries we exchange with for a period of 3-4 months. Families usually host from August to November, December to March, or April to July. Each year, your local Rotary club is assigned one or more students on a random basis.
What is required?
Host Families Need to:
- Provide a private bedroom (or a bedroom with no more than one of your own children of the same gender).
- Treat your exchange student like one of your own children. (For example, arranging transportation to school activities, including students in your own family meals, helping students with homework, and making sure they are a part of all family activities.)
- Help your student learn English and about American culture. (Rotary clubs have scheduled activities for the students).
What is not required?
Host Families do not need to:
- Have children living at home. (It is not uncommon for your own children to be away at college, for example.)
- Be married/partnered at the time of the exchange. (We have single-parent families who host an exchange student. The State Department requires one additional level of review.)
- Be a particular race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. All families are welcome.
- Pay for all miscellaneous expenses for the student. Students receive a monthly stipend from your local Rotary club and must cover all additional expenses themselves. As a general rule of thumb, however, if you are paying for something for one of your children (like a ticket to a movie or a family dinner out), it is customary to also pay for your exchange student. Rotary activity fees are paid for by the Rotary Clubs.