Period of Exchange

The Rotary Youth Exchange Long-Term Programme is a 12-month secondary education exchange program.

1. Application, Selection, and Orientation Process

In order to be accepted for this programme, each applicant will be required to participate in a selection and orientation process. Parents will be required to attend certain parts of this process.

APPLICATION: Submit your application via our website.

INTERVIEW: On receipt of the online application, you will be contacted for an interview which will be held at your home. It is mandatory for parents to attend this interview, and the interview will last approximately one hour.

SELECTION CAMP: After completion of the interview, successful students will be invited to attend a compulsory camp in Feb/Mar. The cost of the camp is R800.00. The venue and date will be advised via email.

ORIENTATION CAMPS: Students and parents must attend a mid-year orientation in June. This is a session where we will prepare you to host your incoming student, as well as the outbound student for the exchange programme itself. A Final Orientation Camp will be held in October, where you will be presented with your regalia. Both these orientation sessions are included in the cost of the programme and are compulsory.

Except in the case of unforeseen emergency, students will be required to participate in the full programme. Failure to attend will disqualify you from the process.

2. Sponsoring Rotary Club

Once the student has been accepted, the Youth Exchange Committee will assist the student in finding a Sponsoring Rotary Club in the area in which you live.

3. Matching Process

This is the most challenging period of the program for the committee. Once the selection camp has taken place and we have got to know the students, we attempt to find the best possible country match. This decision is based on your country placement preference, and the countries wanting to send students to South Africa. Should we feel that your choice is not an ideal one for you, we will discuss alternatives with you.

4. Number of Students

There is no minimum or maximum number of students.

5. Countries Offered

This list changes from year to year. Please note that we do not guarantee your placement to a certain country. This is an exchange programme and the countries we exchange with depend on a student from that country wanting to exchange with South Africa. Demand for exchanges varies from year to year. As we approach March, we will have a better idea of what countries there are and how many places there will be available in each country. The numbers specified are based on trends over the last 5 years.

6. What are the costs?

The cost for each student participating in 2024/2025 will be R 42 000 payable as follows:

R 14,000 by end March 2024

R 14,000 by end May 2024

R 14,000 balance by end July 2024

(This enables us to book air-tickets early, thereby achieving cost savings, as well as arranging for students to travel together on outbound and return flights)

No latitude is allowed on late payments and a R2,000 non-refundable deposit is retained by Rotary in the event of a student withdrawing from the programme. Once the air ticket has been purchased, no refund will be made.

All fees are payable to the Rotary Youth Exchange Committee who facilitate the exchange.

The costs for the program include the following:

  1. Airfares (Return trip from Cape Town).
  2. Rotary blazers, branded T-Shirts, caps, back packs etc.
  3. Business cards.
  4. The host families provide board and lodging.
  5. The host Rotary Club will provide a small amount of pocket money which varies from country to country. It is usually in the region of $60.00.
  6. Orientation Camps.
  7. Medical Insurance costs. These costs vary from country to country and need to comply with Rotary International specifications.
  8. Preparation sessions, marketing costs, administration, as well as several events upon the students return.

Our having built up strong relationships with other districts across the world plays a vital part in the safety of your child.

Should there be a surplus for any reason, this surplus would be used to help fund a disadvantaged student who qualifies for the Exchange Programme.


  1. R800 for the selection camp.
  2. $300 for an emergency medical fund which is the parents’ prerogative whether the child may spend it or bring it home at the end of the exchange year. The student takes this with them to their host country.
  3. Optional Tours in the country you are placed.
  4. Additional spending money above what the student receives from the Hosting Club.
  5. Gifts for families that will be hosting them – optional but recommended.
  6. Police Clearance Certificate.
  7. Rebooking fee charged by the airline. We are only able to book a year in advance and the return flight needs to be amended as it is set at 12 months from the date of booking. In order to allow the student a full year overseas this needs to be amended before expiry date. Some airlines charge a fee for this process and this is accordingly not included in the price.
  8. The airfare is for a return trip to your country departing from Cape Town. If you are for example, a George or Namibian student, you will need to travel to Cape Town at your own cost.
  9. Medical Insurance costs. These costs vary from country to country and need to comply with Rotary International specifications.
  10. Visas.

All the students pay the same amount irrespective of the destination.

Please note that the amount quoted may change based on the countries exchanged with, currency fluctuations, length of stay and airline price increases. We have attempted to give you an indication of the cost so that you may budget but this is an estimation only. We include an estimation of the cost within our pricing, but should the cost be more than estimated you will need to settle the difference.

Rotary Youth Exchange is one of the least expensive international exchange programs open to high school-aged students. Because volunteers in Rotary clubs and districts administer the Rotary Youth Exchange programme, you will not have to pay fees to an agency to arrange an exchange.

On acceptance, we advise that you must immediately apply for an unabridged birth certificate at Home Affairs, together with a passport should you not already have one.

7. Age Requirements

Must be between the age of 16 years and 6 months and 18 years and six months on the day they leave for their host country and have completed Grade 12 before departure. Certain countries will accept students up to a maximum of 19 years of age, so this will limit the choice of destination. Please note that the selection camp and the orientation sessions will be held during your matriculation year.

Frequently asked Questions:

1. May I buy my own air ticket?

No. Rotary does this on your behalf.

Under no circumstances will any changes be made to any travel booking without prior consultation with, and approval from Rotary.

2. Can I use Voyager Miles or a free ticket?

No. For the same reason as given above. However, if a student is a holder of a Voyager Card, s/he may claim the miles travelled on their youth exchange ticket. The student must advise the travel agent before the ticket is issued.

3. Will I be expected to go to school whilst I am overseas?

YES – you can miss only 30 days (over and above school holidays) and you will be asked to do your best, but not necessarily to pass. That will be the place to make friends, get involved and learn a new language.

4. Can I do my own thing whilst overseas?

No. You will be the responsibility of your host family and Rotary, and will therefore have to comply fully with their plans and arrangements. The host family and Rotary cannot be used as a base from which independently organized tours are made.

5. Can I visit relatives whilst overseas on exchange?

Depending on their location and circumstances a visit could be arranged, but only after prior consultation with and approval by Rotary.

6. Will this be a nice big holiday for me?

No, not entirely. Students will be required to address Rotary Clubs, schools, etc. They will also be required to familiarise themselves with the current community service projects of both the sponsor and host clubs and to report on both.

7. Can I purchase my own insurance?

Rotary purchases Emergency Medical Insurance when paying for the air tickets. This is because this insurance must comply with Rotary International’s specifications. You will have to cover All Risks and Life Insurance only.