The short-term exchange program (STEP) is a reciprocal family-to-family exchange for students between the ages of 15-19 at the time of the exchange. It offers students the opportunity to gain international understanding while becoming familiar with another culture. The exchange takes place over the summer months.
To apply:  Online Application   (Applications for the Summer 2022 Exchange Year are now open, with the caveat the exchange will only proceed if it is deemed safe to do so)

What Can I Expect from the Exchange?

Participants live with one host family in the destination country for approximately one month in the summer, under the sponsorship of their local Rotary Club. This is a true exchange program because the host brother/sister from abroad will also spend a month with the participating student in his/her home in during the same summer.
The program offers the participants an opportunity to become familiar with another culture as they live as part of their host family for a period of about 3 weeks. They then travel home with their matched student to experience Canadian life for a similar period. Throughout the exchange, both students gain international understanding, can explore a new part of the world and make life-long friends and memories. Although language is not a real component of the exchange, many students acquire some language skills through everyday exposure.

What Role Does Rotary Play?

Students need to have a Rotary sponsor to take part in the program so the first step if for the student to reach out to the local Rotary club to ask if they will sponsor you. Once they agree to sponsor the student, an application is filled out and the student is interviewed. If for some reason they cannot sponsor you, they will refer you to the District STEP Coordinator to see if an alternate club sponsor can be located.

The sponsoring club will interview you, provide you with an application form and help you complete the necessary paperwork. It is then sent to the District Short-Term Exchange Coordinator who will contact you.

Every effort to find a suitable match for participants in their preferred countries and make virtual arrangements so you can get to know your exchange partner and decide if it is a mutually acceptable match.

While on exchange, the student is hosted by the matched family and treated like a member of the family, food and board are provided but the student is responsible for their own discretionary spending money.

The Rotary Coordinator can provide some advice and assistance in acquiring your travel documents and insurance.

What is the Cost?

Cost of the exchange will depend on destination as each family is responsible for coordinating mutually agreeable dates and flights for the exchange. As well as the air travel, students will need to have a valid passport as well as travel insurance that meets Rotary standards.  Acceptable Covid 19 Vaccinations will also be required.

Rotary also charges and administrative fee of $250.00 which includes orientation training.

Looking Ahead

Unfortunately, STEP was impacted by Covid 19 as travel was restricted but we are anticipating being able to see students travel in the summer of July/August 2022. The deadline to apply for STEP is February 15 of the travel year and the earlier you apply the better the likelihood of getting a match in your preferred country and establishing a good friendship even before you travel. The summer of 2022 could be the best one ever!

We welcome inquiries at any time of the year, applications are accepted in the winter preceding the summer exchange. Please send us an email so we can put you in touch with a Rotary Club in your area.  Clubs begin the formal process of interviewing and selecting students in February (for departure in July/August ).

Downloads & Resources

Discover Your World (Brochure)
Rotary International STEP Brochure
STEP Program Guide

Rotary District 5360 Youth Short Term Exchange Homepage