Am I eligible to apply for an exchange?

Applications for exchange students will be received from October and will close on 30 April. Students depart in the following January for a 12 month exchange.

To participate in the RIYE Programme, applicants must:

  • Be aged between 15 and up to 18 years at the time of January departure. (Age requirements vary by destination country).

  • Have strong academic performance and achievement.

  • Reside in Rotary District 9920 (Refer to the “Apply Now” log in on our homepage to see a D9920 map and District’s for the rest of New Zealand).

  • Be a New Zealand citizen - (born in NZ or naturalized) or a NZ permanent resident.

  • Have sufficient financial resources to cover total expenditure over the year away. See our “How much does it cost” tab for more detail.

  • Be medically fit, with no serious medical conditions.

  • Have the ability to be an excellent ambassador for New Zealand or the applicant’s country of residence.

  • Be adaptable and capable of comfortably living with up to four different host families in host district overseas.

  • Undertake to abide by Youth Exchange rules and accept host parent rules.

  • Applicants parents do not have to be members of Rotary while the programme is also open to children of Rotarians.  

    (Note: If you are contemplating a career with the NZ Defense Forces you should check whether an exchange will compromise NZ residency requirements)


Do I have to know another language?

  • No, not at all. Naturally, it would help to have some familiarity with the language of the country you go to, but we don't limit the programme to those who are already bi-lingual. In fact, one of the great benefits of the programme is quickly gaining fluency in another language. Typically, our students become fluent in 3-4 months, even without any previous knowledge of the language! But we strongly recommend that all participants start learning their host countries language as soon as they are selected for the programme. The more of the language you know up front, the better your experience will be.

Programme Operation:

  • Admission to the programme is not by application alone. The selection process for outbound students consists of several interviews of students and their parents. Applicants attend the district’s formal live-in selection weekend in Auckland. Selection weekend is normally held in May.

  •  RIYE students will be sponsored by a District 9920 Rotary Club who will appoint a counsellor to maintain contact with the student during their exchange. Between selection and departure students participate in a compulsory orientation programme and cultural weekend to prepare students for their year away. This weekend is held in Auckland and usually is timed for August or September. A final briefing is held in November/December.

  •  An exchange is not assured until the student has been accepted by a hosting Rotary club. The hosting club will appoint a counsellor and usually three to four host families. The vast Rotary network provides support, friends, and many varied opportunities throughout and beyond the exchange year.

 Do my parents haWEB Pisave to host an inbound student?

  • The Rotary Youth Exchange is a reciprocal programme and each outbound student is matched by an inbound student from our overseas partner countries. We therefore ask parents of outbound students to either themselves, or with family and friends, host 2 inbound students for a period of about 12 weeks each. The timing of hosting is flexible. There is benefit in hosting a student before departure as this provides familiarisation with the programme and the exchange experience. Equally hosting while students are away on exchange offers the opportunity to understand first-hand what your own child will be experiencing and is sometimes easier with a free bedroom available. The timing of hosting is flexible and can be discussed during the application and selection process.

Do I need to be part of Rotary?

 No. The exchnage programme is for any person that meets the eligibility criteria and does not require parents to be members of Rotary. The programme is a true exchnage programme offering young people the opportunity to undertake an international exchnage and experience the culture of another country. Students are hosted by a Rotary club as part of Rotary International's worldwide structure and this provides a unique support and network structure for the students exchnage. It is the Rotary club structure that supports the programme and gives it the "Rotary International Youth Exchnage" [RIYE] name. 

Information Evenings

  • Send us an email from the CONTACT US page to obtain details of our next information evening where we will explain the RIYE programme and you have the chance to talk to exchange students from overseas and NZ students who have completed an exchange.