by Alan Greig
Last month I undertook to provide information about Rotary’s very popular YOUTH Exchange (RYE or YEP) program.
YEP was initiated in 1927 by the Rotary Club of Copenhagen. Initially they were only a few weeks long but
now they are 10-12 months. The first long term exchange was for 10 months between a Victorian Club and Grand Lake, Colorado.
These days 9,000 students are exchanged annually between 80 countries. One of Rotary’s prime goals is to promote peace throughout the world one exchange at a time. Each student is sponsored by a Rotary Club and a Rotary District in their home country and is hosted by a Rotary Club and its District in their host country. Events for students vary from country to country, but exchange students may often be able to visit other parts of their host country and sometimes other countries while on exchange.
High school students aged from 15 to 19 are eligible to apply to the YEP program. To apply, a student can get in contact with his/her local Rotary Club or through the Rotary International website. Eighty countries typically participate in YEP every year. While students do not have the ability to choose any country out of the 80, they can pick various countries he/she can go to from a list of 20 or 30 countries but there is no guarantee that a student will be sent to one of his/her choices.
Once accepted into the program, it is up to the student to get themselves equipped and ready to go abroad. The responsibilities of students and their respective families include getting appropriate passport, student Visa and guarantee forms, airline tickets, health insurance, immunisation documentation, and dental and medical examinations.
One Rotary tradition is that students cover their blazers in pins and patches they have traded with other exchange students or bought in places they have visited as evidence of their exchange.
There is one problem which may impact upon the 2021 and 2022 exchanges and that is COVID-19. This aspect will doubtless have an effect on the next few years.
If any reader would like to know more please call me, Alan Greig, at 0407 377 715.
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