Host families are a vital part of the cultural exchange, offering the student a view of another country, and in turn obtaining the opportunity to learn about a new culture from a young leader. Hosting is a tremendous experience in which you can share in a young person’s hopes and dreams, and develop a lifelong connection with a student and family from another country. 

It can be challenging to help a young person transition to a new culture and to ease into the surroundings, but the rewards are immeasurable.

 

Host families in the Youth Exchange program come in all shapes and sizes. They can be Rotarians or non-Rotarians, and may include young children, older children, or no children at all.

The Rotary Youth Exchange program is distinctive, because it is operated completely by volunteers around the world. Each district arranges its own exchanges with other districts. Host families are screened, interviewed, selected, and supported by their local Rotary club. 

Your local Rotary Club sends a student abroad, and in turn, hosts an incoming student. Students are required to attend high school whilst abroad and live with three to four different host families during the year. The student (and his/her parents) pay for the flights, insurance, visas, etc. Being immersed in a different culture for a year opens the students’ minds, and given that Rotary worldwide has more than 8,000 students taking part in these exchanges, it builds understanding and thus a better world! For the students this is often a life altering experience. 

 

What’s in it for your family? 

• A great way to expose your family to another culture. It’s amazing what you learn from having someone from a different country stay with you. 
• Assist someone learning your language and customs and see your own town and country through their eyes! 
• Often you will build up a friendship with the student you’re hosting that will last a lifetime... A place to visit when on holidays!

FAQs

How long will the student be living with my family? 

Most long-term exchange students live with three or four host families during their exchange. This means the student may live with you for anywhere between two and six months. 

Is it expensive to host a student? 

Whilst you will see a rise in your grocery bills, there are no other costs to your family. The student receives $100 pocket money from the club,
the club has made arrangements with the school; therefore there are no educational expenses, and the student is insured for any medical expenses. 

The Rotary Club of Niagara on the Lake is prepared to offer a charitable tax receipt in recognition of your contribution to our program. Please inquire to receive further details.

How will I communicate with the student? 

Most students do not speak English as their native language. Whilst most have a reasonable command of English, you will undoubtedly have the chance to help them improve their language skills. 

Some anxiety is to be expected if you have never hosted an exchange student. If you have questions, please contact your local Rotary Club to discuss them. We’re always looking for host families and will be delighted to talk to you.