Welcome to the Experience of a Lifetime! Hosting a Rotary Exchange Student is an enriching experience for all members of your family, from adults to children, grandchildren, and even the family pets (can your dog "sit" in Portuguese?) Rotary Exchange Students learn about the culture of their Host country from the Inside Out by living with local families, attending local schools and participating in local activities. Host families are the primary means of teaching International students about America and Americans - how we really are, what we are really like. In turn, your family experiences another culture and learns about a world beyond our own shores.
It is expected that the Exchange Student will become a member of your family, with all the associated benefits and responsibilities. He, or she, should have the same rules as other American teenagers and be expected to participate in household duties. The Host Family is asked to become a family for the young person who is so far from home. It is hoped you will be the surrogate parents that you would want others to be for your child in a strange land. It is a responsibility, but the rewards last a lifetime.
Rotary provides an excellent support system for both the students and the host families. Each student is hosted by a local Rotary Club who works through our District Committee and Rotary's ESSEX (Eastern States Student EXchange). The Rotarians in the local club become an extended family for the student. Each Rotary Club has a Youth Exchange "Counselor" who provides individual assistance and support for both the student and the host families. Our District Committee, ESSEX and Rotary International have additional resources and experience to draw upon.
Please use our Contact Us online form, if you would like to discuss becoming a Host Family with a member of our Committee. We have provided a general "Guide for Host Families" on this web site. Additional information can be found on the ESSEX and Rotary International web sites. Rotary International provides downloadable (Acrobat PDF files) materials for students and host families. Of course, your local Rotary Club and the club's Youth Exchange Counselor are available to provide information and answer questions.