Short-Term Youth Exchange

Short Term Exchange Opportunity

We are now offering Summer Short Term Family to Family or International Camps / Tours in addition to our long term youth exchange program. The Short Term Exchange Program (STEP) has two different formats to choose from:

Family to Family

This exchange involves the matching of a USA student between the ages of 15-19 with a student from another country. Typically age, interests and gender are factors that are considered when making a match. The USA student travels to the host country at the beginning of the summer for a one month stay with their host brother or sister and their family. The host brother or sister then comes to stay with the USA family for a month some time later in the summer. The students have a two month exchange (one month abroad and one month hosting).

International Camps and Tours

International Camps and Tours involve a structured one-way experience where USA students participate in a camp or tour in a host country that is planned and sponsored by local Rotarians in that country. They typically live in homes and experience not only the country but the opportunity to be with other exchange students from around the world who are also attending the camp or tour. Rotary Short Term Camps and Tours – Summer 2017

Rotary will arrange for purchasing Rotary approved insurance (approx. $80-$210 depending upon length of stay) and provide orientation, materials, a polo shirt and handbook as well as handle overall program administration.

Short Term Program Details

Program Cost

The Family to Family STEP fee (payable to North Star Youth Exchange Program) is $400. Families are responsible for having a passport, purchasing their student’s airline ticket and providing spending money. Host families provide room and board and welcome the exchange student as a member of their family.
For Camps and Tours, the fee is $250 (payable to North Star Youth Exchange Program) plus the camp fee (average of $600-$900) payable to the host country. Families are responsible for having a passport, purchasing the airline ticket and spending money.


  1. STEP applications will be accepted until March 1, 2018 as program capacity allows. Interviews and placements will be made in order received so do not delay in submitting applications for summer 2018 exchanges
  2. Interviews held on December 9th in Roseville, MN for applications received prior to that date.
  3. Matching occurs January-March. Students and families approve potential match to finalize
  4. Full day Orientation Session for STEP students and families held April 21st
  5. Travel dates June-August of 2018 – exact dates set by families

STEP Details

  • Students should complete the application and contact their local Rotary club about their interest. Applications for STEP for summer of 2018 that are received by the end of October will receive priority placement. Late applications will be accepted through February as program capacity allows.
  • An interview will be conducted and well qualified candidates will be accepted for the program as capacity allows
  • Students accepted for STEP will attend an informational meeting along with your parents to discuss country options for Family to Family or a Camp/Tours
  • Family to Family matching will be done by Rotary STEP Coordinators and once a good match has been found – this will be reviewed with the families. Upon confirmation of the match, the program fee will be due and orientation scheduled. For camps/tours, the program fee will be due once registration is complete and accepted.
  • Families are responsible for students having a valid passport and for making their own airline reservations. Exact exchange dates are agreed to by both families based on their schedules or will be communicated for camp/tours.
Family to Family Exchange Country Partners – many placements possible in the countries with a * - other countries have fewer applicants so placements may or may not be available in any given year
  • Germany*
  • Italy*
  • Spain*
  • France*
  • Finland*
  • Brazil* (possible split year exchange – July in Brazil, Dec. or Jan. in USA)
  • Mexico*
  • Taiwan*
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Denmark
  • Poland
  • Sweden
  • UK
  • Iceland
  • Czech Republic
  • Switzerland/Austria
Camps/Tours – available in many countries – camps vary each year - approved applicants will receive postings for each camp as they become available
  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Italy
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Wales
  • Spain
  • Romania
  • Turkey
  • Taiwan
  • Egypt
Short-Term Youth Exchange FAQ
Is Summer Short Term Exchange new? Why is it being offered now by Rotary’s North Star Exchange Program?
Short Term Exchange has been popular in Europe for decades. North Star piloted the program and sent 20 students abroad in 2017 in our first full year. There are two STEP types – Family of Family exchange and camps/tours. North Star is getting involved with STEP to give more and younger students the opportunity to experience the life changing benefits of youth exchange. Never has promoting world peace and understanding been more important – this is one of Rotary’s prime focus areas.
Who is a good candidate for a Summer Family to Family Exchange?
  • Students ages 15-19 (as of July 1, 2018) who are excited to experience exchange as a freshman or sophomore or who may need to build confidence before applying for school year long term exchange sometime in the future.
  • Students who can’t make a school year exchange work due to family, school or extracurricular conflicts.
  • Students who have the time to spend with their matched sibling (not working or too busy) and have a family that is excited to host and share their life and culture.
  • Students who are curious, flexible and excited to spend two months with their new sister or brother from another country.
How is STEP different from Long Term Exchange?
  • STEP Family to Family is an approximately two month experience during school break vs. a 10 or 11 month experience where you would attend school in another country. STEP camps or tours are 1-4 week experiences.
  • STEP generally does not require a VISA and students will not be enrolled in school. Some STEP matches may however visit school for a few days depending on how school holidays match up.
  • Family to Family exchange is just that – every applicant also hosts so the whole family is involved and must be approved as a host family.
  • Matched students and their families work out their exact exchange dates and book and pay for their own airline tickets.
How do students apply and are chosen for STEP?
  • Students complete an application available on the North Star website.
  • They contact their local Rotary Club to sign their application and if chosen for STEP – someone from Rotary will need to do a home visit required for host family approval.
  • Applications are sent to Melanie DeLuca, North Star STEP Officer.
  • Students and their family will attend an information session and be interviewed for selection to the program by a team of Rotarians on Saturday December 9th, 2017 in Roseville MN.
  • Approved applicants will be notified and the matching process will begin.
  • A full day orientation for students and families will be held on Saturday April 21st.
When are STEP applications due?
  • Preference will be given to applications received by November 27th.
  • Late applications will be accepted until March 1 as program capacity allows.
  • Applications for camps/tours can be completed once final tour brochures are available from country sponsors.
What does it cost to participate in STEP?
Family to Family applicants pay a $400 program fee to North Star, $80-$210 for Rotary approved insurance (varies by length of exchange), buy their plane ticket or use frequent flier miles for travel, and bring spending money. Camp participants pay a $250 program fee, $80 for insurance, camp fee (varies from free to $800 – average cost $250) plus travel and spending money.
What countries are choices for Summer STEP exchanges? (See the list on the North Star website)
  • There are many partners in Europe – this is due to the long tradition of STEP in Europe and the number of applicants that want short term exchanges from those countries.
  • New countries may be added to the list in the future. Students will indicate their country preferences when they are interviewed.
How are matches made?
  • Information is exchanged between Rotary STEP coordinators including the applicant’s gender, age, hobbies, interests and exchange country preference.
  • Once country STEP coordinators believe they might have a good match – they exchange applications and review these in detail for compatibility.
  • If coordinators believe that the two students/families would be a good match – they will share information with the families to approve the match.
  • Once both families approve being matched with each other – the match is finalized and students and families can begin communicating.
Can matches be between students of difference genders?
Typically girls are matched with a sister and boys with a brother but brother/sister pairs are possible.
If a student goes on Summer STEP could they still go on Long Term Exchange?
Yes! Students are welcome to apply for Long Term exchange after STEP. We hope that STEP families may love exchange so much that they may also want to host a long term student in their community.
What are the exact dates of the exchange?
For Family to Family exchange – dates are worked out between the two families. Typically USA students go abroad first sometime after school ends and their exchange sibling will come to the USA later in July or August but either can travel first. Exchanges are typically about 30 days in each country.
What are STEP Camp/Tour options?
Rotary Exchange Programs in many countries offer camps or tours that bring together students from around the world to experience their country and culture. Rotarians host and often financially support these experiences that offer language camps, bike tours, cultural camps, etc. Specific camp/tour flyers give exact dates, details and costs of each experience. Information will be shared via a closed Facebook site once applicants have been selected. Camps fill very quickly once published so applicants must monitor opportunities and let the North Star camp coordinator know which they want to apply to. Camps/Tours are one-way exchanges but still require a STEP application to be completed. Students wanting to participate in a camp should apply, be accepted to the program and when specific camps are published – they will be ready to apply. Once accepted to a camp – applicants must stay with that placement vs. apply to others that many be published later.
Can frequent flyer miles be used for the airline ticket?
Yes – families book their own student’s flight so can pay for a ticket or use miles. Travel One is a travel company that Rotary uses and they are happy to help families book flights. Tickets should not be purchased until the match is finalized and the student receives a final confirmation letter, has paid the program fee and has completed orientation.
What is the timeline for the full process?
  1. Submit STEP application by Nov. 27th – March 1 (preference given to early submissions)
  2. Informational meeting and interview – Dec. 9th
  3. Notification of acceptance – late December
  4. Camp/Tour information will be posted on the website and a closed Facebook site
  5. Family to Family matches are made – January through March
  6. Program fee due – April 21
  7. Full day orientation for students and parents – April 21
  8. North Star student may go abroad early summer and then host or sibling may come first
Contact us for more information on taking part in our Short-Term Exchange programs...
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