This Friday, we will hear from Daniela Sanchez, our club’s outbound Rotary Youth Exchange student for the 2019-2020 school year about her year in Korea. I have received questions about the status of Rotary Youth Exchange and the possibility of hosting students and sending students overseas for the 2021-22 school year, and thought this would be a good time to update all of you about Rotary Youth Exchange.
As you might imagine, Rotary Youth Exchange planning is very much in flux. There are a lot of steps to be taken to get ready for the new year, including information sessions for potential applicants for outbound students, completion of applications, interviews with applicants, and training for accepted students. Unfortunately, none of these can happen until Rotary clubs commit to hosting inbound students for the 2021-22 year (except possibly the information sessions), because the exchange program is a one-to-one exchange. (This means that if five clubs from our Rotary District 6900 commit to host inbound students, Rotary District 6900 is permitted to send five outbound students.) The clubs cannot commit to hosting students until we get clearance from the U.S. State Department that visas will be issued to incoming students. We also need a commitment from local high schools that they will accept inbound students. As you can imagine, no one is willing to make those commitments until we know more about what is happening with COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Additionally, all the challenges we are facing in making decisions in the U.S. are being replicated in all of our exchange countries around the world.
Therefore, the leaders of Rotary Youth Exchange are pushing off all decisions regarding the program for 2021-22 as long as possible. Information sessions, application and interview dates have not been scheduled at this time. We all hope that we will be able to re-activate exchanges for next school year. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Deb Cameron at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support of Rotary Youth Exchange!