A Summer You’ll Never Forget

Short Term Exchange Program

The Short Term Exchange Program, or STEP, is an excellent opportunity for students to improve foreign language skills while school is not in session. STEP exchanges vary in length from several days to several weeks, but even outside of an academic setting, exchanges can often be tailored to match the interests of the student or include tours of specific places or regions.

The two most common types of short-term exchanges in District 5450 are the family-to-family exchanges and the international youth camps. STEP offers a great alternative for students who cannot or don’t wish to go abroad for a full school year as part of the Long Term Exchange Program (LTEP). STEP also provides a great opportunity for future LTEP students to prepare for such an assignment.

RMRYE Short Term
Sean, Switzerland 2014-15 (Photo from Brussels)

Family-to-Family Individual Exchanges

In a family-to-family (F2F) individual exchange, matched students spend part of their vacation with each other and with each others’ families.  We have established F2F exchange contacts with certified Rotary districts in Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Taiwan, and the U.K. However, we are happy to inquire with certified Rotary districts in any country – the Rotary Youth Exchange program is active in over 100 countries and geographical areas — with which the applicant wishes to exchange in an effort to place the applicant in a good home in his or her country of choice. The inquiries may not always result in an exchange.

After we receive the application of a District 5450 applicant, a local Rotary club must agree to sponsor the applicant.    If the local club is willing to vouch for the good character and suitability of the applicant and family, we will begin communicating with Rotary officials in the applicant’s country of choice with the goal of finding a suitable match (gender, age, interests, etc.). When a match is offered, the families should immediately begin communicating with each other to determine if the pairing is suitable to them. Use e-mail, Skype with video, and other tools of modern communication to assess the suitability.  Do not make a decision based on the application alone, but rather communicate before deciding. You must act quickly, but the assessment should be thorough.

If you choose not to exchange in a particular situation, allow the STEP Coordinator to convey the news to ensure that the situation is handled appropriately. We will attempt to find another proposed match in a different part of the country or in another country of choice. The families develop the details of the exchange; for instance, how long it will last (generally, not less than two weeks in each country), which student will travel first to meet the host family, the family activities that the students will engage in while they’re together in one country and then the next, etc. Travel visas are generally not required.


Tours and camps serve as a fulfilling opportunity for students to learn about a particular country or location. To learn about camp and tour opportunities as they become available, be sure to check back with RMRYE or subscribe to our mailing list. Once the sponsored applicant has identified a particular camp having available openings, we generally must act quickly to reserve a place.

Summer 2018: The Brazilian Multi-District is hosting a camp from 7/28-8/8/2018.

The cost is $1,600 plus airfare. Campers need to be between 15 and 19 years old. Applications must be submitted to Brazil by the end of May, you should contact Scott by mid-April. There is also the option to add a 3-4 week family to family exchange at the beginning or end of the camp. Please contact Scott White for more information.

Summer 2018: Taiwan Cultural Camp

The Taiwan cultural camp will be held from July 13 through July 30 for students aged 18 through 25. The goal is to gather young people from various countries, creating better international understanding and to provide learning about the way of life in Taiwan.

STEP Program Information

Rules & Conditions

  1. You must obey the laws of the host country. If found guilty of violating any law, you can expect no assistance from your sponsors or native country. You must return home at your own expense as soon as released by authorities.
  2. You are not allowed to possess or use illegal drugs. Medicine prescribed to you by a physician is allowed.
  3. The illegal drinking of alcoholic beverages is expressly forbidden.  Students who are of legal age should refrain. If you are staying with a host family and are offered an alcoholic drink, it is permissible to accept it under their supervision in the home.
  4. You may not operate a motorized vehicle or participate in driver education programs [while abroad.  See STEP Handbook for further guidance.]
  5. You will be under the host district’s authority while you are an exchange student and must abide by the rules and conditions of exchange provided by the host district. Parents or legal guardians must not authorize any extra activities directly to you. Any relatives you may have in the host country will have no authority over you while you are in the program.
  6. If your program includes schooling, you must attend regularly and make an honest attempt to succeed.
  7. You must have travel insurance that provides medical and dental coverage for accidental injury and illness, death benefits (including repatriation of remains), disability / dismemberment benefits, emergency medical evacuation, emergency visitation expenses, 24-hour emergency assistance services, and legal services, in amounts satisfactory to the host Rotary club or district in consultation with the sponsor Rotary club or district, with coverage from the time of your departure from your home country until your return.
  8. You should have sufficient financial support to assure your well-being during your exchange. Your host district may require a contingency fund for emergency situations. Unused funds will be returned to your parents or legal guardians at the end of your exchange.
  9. You must follow the travel rules of your host district. Travel is permitted with host parents or for Rotary club or district functions authorized by the host Rotary club or district with proper adult chaperones[ or control and oversight]. The host district and club and your parents or legal guardians must approve any other travel in writing, thus exempting Rotary of responsibility and liability.
  10. You must return home directly by a route mutually agreeable to your host district and your parents or legal guardians.
  11. Any costs related to an early return home or any other unusual costs (language tutoring, tours, etc.) are the responsibility of you and your parents or legal guardians.
  12. You should communicate with your host family, if applicable, prior to leaving your home country. The family’s information must be provided to you by your host club or district prior to your departure.
  13. Visits by your parents or legal guardians, siblings, or friends while you are on exchange are strongly discouraged.  Such visits may only take place with the host club’s and district’s consent and within their guidelines.
  14. Talk with your host club counselor or other trusted adult if you encounter any form of abuse or harassment.**

**  Abuse is the improper usage or treatment for a bad purpose, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit.  Sexual abuse is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another, when that force falls short of being a sexual assault.  The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser.  The term also covers any behavior by any adult towards a child to stimulate either the adult or child sexually.

Harassment covers a wide range of offensive behavior.  It is commonly understood as behavior intended to disturb or upset. In the legal sense, it is behavior which is found threatening or disturbing.  Sexual harassment refers to persistent and unwanted sexual advances, typically in the workplace, where the consequences of refusing are potentially very disadvantageous to the victim.

Financial Obligations

Typical Costs for F2F Individual Exchanges or Camps/Tours

Family-to-Family (F2F) Individual Exchanges

Our first-time application fee is $300. The family of the participant should budget an additional $60-$100 for mandatory insurance†, airfare for the participant, pocket money for the period abroad, and the cost of family activities while hosting the participant’s match.

While hosting the match, a family is expected to pay their guest’s expenses for family activities. For this reason, exchange families tend to plan activities that are roughly comparable.

Rotary Camps or Tours

The camp/tour application fee is $95, all or which is refundable if a placement cannot be arranged. The families of applicants should budget an additional $60-$100 for mandatory insurance†, airfare for the applicant, pocket money for the applicant while abroad. The camp fee may range from zero to more than US$1,000, depending on location, accommodations, and activities. The fee, if any, is payable directly to the camp organizer following the procedures given by the organizers.

† For period of insurance coverage of one month or less. Add extra for longer periods abroad.

Our Current Exchange Partners

Czech Republic

Travel & Transportation

Travel for STEP Participants

Family-to-Family Individual Exchanges:

The paired families are to develop the hosting arrangements, including travel plans, together. As mutually agreed, the travel plans may involve travel outside the immediate areas in which the host families reside and may even involve foreign travel; for example, travel from France to Switzerland; travel from the Montana, USA, to Alberta, Canada.

The host parents in District 5450 shall warrant that the inbound guest will not travel without the host sibling, except for the purpose of arriving in the U.S. or returning home. The host parents in District 5450 shall warrant that the inbound guest will not travel outside of Colorado without the consent of the natural parents or guardians.

For foreign travel from the U.S., the natural parents or guardians shall provide a notarized letter to confirm that their son or daughter, who is staying at ______, is permitted to travel outside the U.S. to _______ with the host parents within the range of dates. The host parents shall warrant that they will not take their inbound guest out of the U.S. without the notarized permission of the natural parents or guardians. The host parents shall seek District 5450 authorization for foreign travel at least six weeks before the planned departure. District 5450 will request the sending district to confirm the agreement.

The paired families are to keep the STEP coordinators here and abroad aware of all travel plans. For outbounders from District 5450, the travel rules of the foreign Rotary district shall apply. However, for the protection of the District 5450 outbound, the rules should resemble those outlined above as a minimum.


The travel rules of the hosting Rotary district shall apply.

Flight Itinerary and other Plans:

E-mail flight itineraries to the STEP Coordinator. For F2F exchanges, email the itineraries of both the individual inbound and the individual outbound traveler.

Applying for STEP

How to Apply – STEP


The process of applying to be a STEP student typically starts in early-to-mid winter. Apply by January 31 for the following summer; for exchanges with Japan, apply by December 31. Make sure you know the application requirements, where you want to go, the associated costs, the general requirements, and can agree to follow the rules and conditions of conduct.

In addition, you will also need to attend a two-hour orientation before departing, which will happen on a Sunday afternoon in May. At that time or earlier, submit proof of medical insurance. Do not purchase airline tickets until the guarantee form section of the application is completed. IN all cases, the buyer assumes the risk of purchase.


For best results, apply by the end of February for the following summer. Here are the general steps to apply.

1) Student Application Form (F2F)

Complete the short-term exchange F2F application. Before downloading the application, please read the following instructions:

* If uncertain about what information to enter on the form, leave the field blank. For questions or assistance completing the application, please contact the STEP Coordinator.
* Do not enter information into non-applicable sections of the application; e.g., Camp, Group Exchange/Tours, New Generations, other.
* Insert a digital photo of yourself, the applicant.
* The “letters” may be brief if English is not expected to be the mother tongue of the application’s recipient. A letter in outline form that clearly expresses your main interests in few words may work best.
* Insert a digital photo of yourself, the applicant.
* Save the electronic file, and print when complete.
* Sign in the presence of a representative of the sponsoring club during the home interview and inspection.
* When the application is complete, but unsigned, please e-mail a copy (pdf preferred) to the STEP Coordinator.

2) Background Checks (Host-Family Application Form)

All home occupants who are 18 years old or older will need to receive a background check for the family to participate in the F2F individual exchange program. To authorize the background checks, download the Host Family Application available on the Resources Page, and complete and sign it. The signatures of home occupants 18-years old or older shall constitute permission to perform their background checks.

The Host Family Application contains social security numbers (SSNs), but you may leave the SSN fields blank. You may also leave blank the sections of the host-family application titled Community Description, School Information, and Family Interests and Expectations of Students. The information on the host-family application form is treated confidentially and is not shared with the family of the matched student.

3) Interviews

After receiving the unsigned Application Form and the Host Family Application, the STEP Coordinator will conduct a telephone interview to determine the general suitability of the applicant. In addition, the STEP Coordinator will begin the process of identifying a nearby Rotary club to conduct the in-home interview and inspection, which is a requisite for club sponsorship. Please sign the Application Form in the presence of the Rotary interviewer.


For best results, have your camp application ready by no later than the end of February even if you have not identified a specific camp or tour to attend in the following summer. Some offerings fill rapidly after the announcements are posted.

1) Student Application Form – Camp

Before downloading the camp Student Application Form, please read the following:

* If uncertain about what information to enter, leave the field blank. For questions or assistance completing the application, please e-mail the STEP Coordinator.
* Do not enter information into non-applicable sections of the application; e.g., Group Exchange/Tours, Family-to-Family, New Generations, other.
* Insert a digital photo of yourself, the applicant.
* The letters may be kept brief.
* Save the electronic file, and print when complete.
* Sign in the presence of a representative of the sponsor club during your screening interview. When the camp application is complete, but unsigned, e-mail a copy (pdf format preferred) to the STEP Coordinator.

2) Interviews

After receiving the unsigned Application Form, the STEP Coordinator will conduct a telephone interview to determine the general suitability of the applicant. The coordinator will begin the process of identifying a nearby Rotary club to conduct the screening interview, which is a requisite for club sponsorship. Sign the camp Application Form in the presence of the Rotary interviewer.