What countries can I go to and can I choose my exchange country?

Rotary district 9920 exchanges with the following countries:

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 Header-Austria.jpg

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  Header-France.jpg

  Header-Germany.jpg

It is also not essential to speak the language of the exchange country, but having taken a language at school is an advantage. 

Do I get to choose my country?

A frequent question. And the answer is ... yes and no. The countries we exchange with are those we know run top-quality programmes, and we re-evaluate them each year. We normally have a longstanding exchange relationship with our exchange countries and know that we can rely on them. We have often met key people involved in the operation of the Rotary exchange Programme in our partner countries.

There are a limited number of exchanges available with each country, and we will not overload any country in either direction, inbound or outbound. When applying for an exchange you can nominate your three preferred countries and we will endeavour to provide one of your choices, but you might also go to another country.

The philosophy of the Rotary exchange programme is that the exchange experience is the key part of an exchange and that this is not country dependent. 

Read about our exchange destinations

Austria Header

The typical Austrian is very tall and slim. He/she will speak a slang of German very unlike the High German found to the north. This is because the dialect he/she speaks has a lot of Italian influence and makes use of many contractions. Difficult for an exchange student to first pick up. Austrians will also find themselves playing football, or for those interested in more contact, handball is also an option of theirs. An Austrian is often born wearing ski’s and lives on the slopes during the winter, drinking the notorious ‘Almdudler’, however during the summer an Austrian will most likely be found lazing around the many mountainous lakes which can in some instances reach temperatures of 25 degrees. 

Austria consists of 9 states which are more definitive than the regions we have in New Zealand. Every state is renowned for something in particular and many are swathed in mountainous terrain, old grand castles and beautiful scenic lakes which in winter freeze over and provide the opportunity for ice hockey or ice skating. Summers are warm and with summer comes lush green meadows which provide a beautiful bridge between two mountain ranges. The cities are old and grand. Streets are cobbled and narrow. Horse drawn carts are occasionally used in the bigger cities and church bells can be heard ringing throughout the day. Town squares also provide space for weekend markets. If however you feel like leaving Austria, it is never a difficult endeavour, for Austria borders 8 other nations and a border cross in the EU is easy as.  

School is short lived and ends at 1 in the afternoon. Classes in Austria include Italian, Philosophy, Latin and a handful of other subjects you would expect to find in a normal school. The Austrians wear no uniform. Sports are confined to afterschool clubs and there are only six lessons a day. After school many buses and trains shuttle children back home where lunch is usually waiting. Does Schnitzel and potatoes, infamous Goulash, or Apple Strudel with cream tickle your fancy? Well then maybe you have some Austrian in you, because these delicacies are consumed weekly. Alpine chocolate and various other confectionaries are remarkably different to those found in New Zealand – they alone are worth the trip.  

An Austrian also knows how to celebrate. With history going back over a thousand years, it is no surprise that the culture and traditions have been fine tuned to provide the best entertainment all year around. There are many public holidays and festivals including Krampus, Fasching and Wiesenmarkt, festivals which can only be experienced and not described. The typical Austrian is also a very happy person and so dancing, music and socialising at festivals is commonplace. With these various festivals and celebrations come folklore, stories and history all wound together. Imagine yourself trapped in a mountain hut, after a long day of skiing with your friends. Having chowed your second Schnitzel, you find yourself then dancing and singing to loud music with everyone present until the weather dies down enough for you to ski home. Festive and jovial. This is what makes an Austrian.  

Adam

Argentina Header

Argentina is a country that is well-known and recognized for it’s love of meat, the crazy and loving people and the fact that it is somewhere towards the bottom of South America; but that is not all that they have… Argentina is a country with spectacular landscapes… you want to see snow? Head off down to Patagonia and see the glaciers, or over to the Andes and scale the mountain range. Desert? Road trip up to the north where you will find small villages and extremely hot weather. Biggest waterfalls in the world? Head on over to Iguazu falls, one of the new 7 wonders of the world… You can find absolutely everything in Argentina.

While the scenery may be spectacular, the people are most certainly what makes Argentina so incredible. You meet someone and will be instantly greeted by a kiss on the cheek and a hug while being asked 1 million questions about you and who you are and you will already be best friends. On my first day of school , I was added to every single whatsapp group that my classmates had and was absolutely one of the gang already. I found it so crazy how open and loving Argentinian people were towards me.

Speaking of school, school starts at 7am every morning but will then finish around 12:30pm every day and so you have time for lunch with your family, a quick siesta (nap) and then the afternoon will most likely be spent with friends or doing activities. School is a very social place and normally your closest friends will be your school friends, this is due to the fact that the teacher moves classes, not you and so you are with your group of friends all day, talking, laughing (and occasionally studying);.

The food cannot be forgotten… while Argentina maybe isn’t for the Vegetarians, you meat lovers out there will not want to leave. It makes me hungry just thinking about it. From asado’s (which is a typical barbeque which is made with coal and wood and is a typical once a week meal), to dulce de leche (which is a spread that is kind of like caramel and delectable), to mate (a typical Argentinian herbal drink), Argentina has a variety of food that you can’t help but love.

Argentina is a country that is very very disorganized and I love it for it. You grow used to arriving an hour after you have scheduled to hang out, and crazy people parking in the middle of the street, and dogs harmlessly following you around the block. It’s a place where you become more relaxed, less stressed as you just go with the flow.

It is a Catholic country however it is generally not too traditional. Ofcourse they have had their fair share of wars (the Falkland island’s) and a number of government issues and so they have a number of public holiday’s in remembrance and you will never fail to have some sort of performance for it.

Spanish is also very widely spoken all over the world and so coming to Argentina can be very beneficial in that respect. While also giving you the chance to learn Spanish Reggaeton (a certain style of music which is very common in Latin America), and get your boogie on in the local boliche.

Argentina in a nut shell, is a place of organized chaos and a lot of love. A place where you will find yourself constantly on the go and surrounded by incredible people all the time. Just a country you cannot help but fall in love with.

Molly

Denmark Header

Despite many saying that Danes are reserved people, I believe that once you break into their hard shells (which really isn’t so difficult), you’ll have befriended someone for life. I was greeted by people who I would soon say are some of the kindest I’ve ever met. I think the main way you experience a country is through its people, and for this reason, Denmark is already off to a good start!

Now whilst the people are all tall and beautiful, the nature doesn’t exactly reflect that. In fact, the highest point in Denmark is only 170 metres. However, it is beautiful in its own right, because its flat surroundings mean you’ll have the best view of many gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, and the endless plains in the countryside dotted with windmills will make you wonder if the grass really is greener here.

The cities offer an incredible contrast with so many old, intricate buildings that one could stare out for hours. Denmark is known for its innovative design and architecture, so the way cities like Aarhus and Copenhagen seamlessly combine historic buildings with very modern architecture was something beautiful to be surrounded by.

Denmark is a part of Scandinavia in Northern Europe. It borders Germany and is separated from Sweden and Norway by small stretches of water. Their location means they have a very special culture that brings up traditions from Germany and combines them with the progressive Scandinavian lifestyle.

However, to sum up Danish culture there is only need for one word- "hygge". It’s become famous in recent times but to truly master the art of hygge, you have to go to Denmark. I loved being on a constant quest for it during my exchange. It’s an object, an action and a feeling, and it’s found when you’re surrounded by friends and family, sharing stories, eating or cosying up while it snows outside. It is, for me, pure happiness, and for that reason above all others, I knew Denmark was the best country to exchange to. It’s a hidden gem.

Grace

France Header

France, a country famed for its art, history fashion and cuisine. Where drinking wine eating baguettes, and complaining about politics are all an important part of the day. Although this may be true to a certain degree, there’s a whole other side to the country that is a lot more diverse. Yes, the French do eat bread and cheese with every meal, yes you will be able to find snails on the menu at restaurants and yes, the wine is superb, but there is a lot more to the country that you can discover by living there.

France is a large country and had a diverse landscape from the alps in the east, the warm beaches and cliff side cities in the south, sweeping countryside through the centre and the rocky shores of the north west. But with bullet trains crossing to every corner of France, traveling to these places and neighbouring countries is a breeze. Temperatures are also diverse, ranging from -11 up to 38 degrees at times.    

France is a country founded on its history of revolutions, so the French are very passionate people who aren’t afraid to voice their opinions, which means you’ll more than likely get some time off school because either the teachers or yes even the students are going on strike. The passion of the French shines when it comes to football with fierce rivalries between local teams, and the whole country getting behind the national team just as much as we do with the All Blacks. And because you are a foreigner the French are always proud to remind you of when they won the football world cup back in 98.

France is a country with a significantly longer history than New Zealand’s with cathedrals dating back to the year 1000 and Castles from the middle ages dotting the countryside. The historic parts of cities have been preserved, so walking through streets that have been around hundreds of years gives the impression of stepping back in time. Visit one of the many famous patisseries for fresh croissants and macaroons, and take a stroll through the beautiful streets of bustling cities or sleepy villages, you’ll notice an array of historical monuments, beautiful gardens and buildings that look as though they’ve come straight from a fairy tale.

There is a certain magic to France that can only be experienced by being there. Imagine walking through Montmartre in Paris, a man in a striped shirt is playing the accordion, a couple are having their portrait done by one of the many artists in the square, you smell the scent of fresh bread in the air, and hear the buzz of French chatter as people drink wine on the terraces, all while the Eifel tower stands proud and tall in the background that is the Parisian skyline. It’s scenes like these that make you fall in love with France.

France captures you with its beauty and mystique, makes you fall head over heels, and you can’t help yourself  because it has that something you just can’t quite describe, but you know you want more.

Alex

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Forget all of the stereotypes you've heard about France and its people. If you're imagining a land where beret-wearing men ride around Paris on bicycles, you'll be disappointed. (I mean, you might see a few, but not all French people wear berets). You’ve probably heard many different stereotypes about the French and although some of which are true, not all are correct.

 

School in France is different to school in New Zealand. No day at school in France is ever the same. For example, sometimes I would start school at 8am in the morning and finish at 6pm in the evening. However, the next day I could start school at 10am and finish at 12pm. Although school can be long and boring at times, it can also be quite fun as you it gives you the chance to socialize with the students in your class and make friends at your school.

 

France is filled with lots of magnificent landscapes. Towards the north,  long fields and farms are the norm. However, with cathedrals and castles in the more metropolitan areas. You can go from 15,000 foot snowy mountains, to sunny warm, dry beaches towards Monaco in the South. The diversity of France's regions is incredible as there is a slightly different landscape and culture in each region you go to.

 

I find that there’s no such thing as a typical French person. However I found that the French tend to be reserved and try their hardest to not draw attention to themselves, which is possibly why people of other nations think they come across as snobby. Therefore it is the perfect place for people who are more self contained. Apart from the numerous differences in character between the inhabitants of different regions of France, there are many different foreigners from all corners of the globe that live in France, so it's difficult to describe the country as a whole. However, people in France are all spirited, strong and energetic when it comes to their opinions and beliefs. Multiple times throughout the year you will find that yes the French do protest a lot and that the nation will go through phases of intense resentment, so it's no surprise that once in awhile, the French people take to the streets to express their anger.

 

France is filled with tremendous culture that has dripped down from the many influential centuries of fashion, art, cuisine, architecture and religion. This is evident as you walk through the many different city centres of all the different regions in France as each will have their own food, wines or traditional dress which they are inherently proud of.

 

France is famous for its fêtes. All over France, at any time of year, whole towns, villages and families will be getting together to have a party. Great long trestle tables will be wrestled out into the village square or Salles des Fêtes, huge pans of moules (mussels) and frites (chips) will be produced, and around a ton of baguettes eaten. Not to mention the wine, which goes superbly with any meal.

 

The French love beautiful food, therefore a great dish is not to hard to find. Each region in France has their own delicacy which is great if you love to explore and love to search for great food. You will get to try many different types of food and wine from delicious cheesy raclette or fresh mussels with a thick creamy cheese sauce, which of course are always paired with the best wines .

 

There is something to love throughout the country of France. It will always be the place to be, no matter who you are and where you come from. You will come to France and experience things that you’ve never seen before. You can come looking for mountains, lakes, fashion, history, hot beaches or anything else, France certainly has something to offer to everyone.

 

France will leave you with a feeling that you have never felt before, a feeling which makes you so satisfied and content, however it will always leave you feeling like you need and want more. I leave you with a quote that comes from the great poet known as Charles Dickens - “There are only two places in the world where we can live happy: at home and in Paris.”

 

Maddie

 

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