Community Education Environment

Rotary of Gig Harbor seeking potential exchange students

Posted on July 28th, 2023 By: Cindy Reed

Editor’s note: The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor wrote this article and submitted it for publication.

The Rotary Club of Gig Harbor is looking for parents who feel they have raised exceptional young people who are destined for great futures — and for young people looking for ways to leverage their learning experiences by going to school in a foreign country for a year.  The Rotary Youth Exchange Program is one that you should investigate. 

Rotary Clubs have sponsored successful international youth exchanges for more than 30 years.  Applicants must be 16 years old by Sept. 30, 2024 but not older than 19 by July 2025.  The selection process for the 2024-25 school year will begin this summer with an information session for students and parents at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25.  If you would like to investigate this possibility, register at

This Rotary Student Scholarship program is valued at over $25,000. The Rotary Club accepting the student covers the student’s, board, tuition as well as providing a monthly stipend. Parents are responsible for obtaining a passport, paying for airfare, providing medical insurance as well as covering any additional personal expenses. However, the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor may be able to assist with some of those expenses based on need and participation in community service.

What are the benefits of being selected to participate in this experience?  

  • Forming international friendships
  • Learning new ways to communicate
  • Gaining a fresh understanding of yourself and others
  • Immersing into another culture to appreciate other ways of doing things
  • Acting as an ambassador to educate your new friends about the United States  
  • Colleges and universities recognize the value of international studies when they are making their placement decisions

When the student arrives at their destination, Rotary Club members there serve as counselors and open up their homes for the student to live and study. These host homes are stringently monitored to ensure a safe and healthy environment for the student. Local coordinators will ensure that the student will be enrolled in school and assist as necessary during the exchange year.

Just ask those who are getting ready to leave for the coming school year as well as those who have completed their year.

Noah Flick was an exchange student to Hungary in 2019-2020.

My family hosted several times for Rotary Inbound Students from Chile, Germany and Poland,” Flick said. “After seeing what this program meant to them while they were here and even after they got home, I decided to apply to become an Outbound Student for the 2019-2020 school year. I was assigned to Hungary. Even though it wasn’t my first choice, I couldn’t imagine wanting to go anywhere else. I made so many friends and enjoyed my time there. I had the bad luck of being there when COVID came out, but my host family made sure my parents knew I was OK. I have been back several times already to visit them.”

Morgan Kelly recently returned from the year she spent in South Korea. Every monthly report she filed with the Rotary expressed her enthusiasm and personal growth over the year.

Liam Bass is getting ready to leave in August for his exchange year in Germany.  He reported

I am so excited to go and everyone along the process so far has been amazing … from all the Rotarians in our district to even the little bit I’ve talked with my first host family,” Bass said. “I’ve already made so many great connections and friends with the other outbound students from the U..S and Canada before I have even left.”

Please consider this program over the summer as the applications will come online Aug. 15.  You can get more information by attending the Sept. 25 Student/Parent Information session online to make your final decision.  Applications will be reviewed at the end of September and interviews held in early October.

If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to Youth Exchange Officer Cindy Reed ([email protected]) or Trish Yates ([email protected])