Exchange Program

10 Top Tips

10 top tips for getting the most out of your exchange

1. Take the initiative in adapting to your host family

  • Find out and willingly conform to family rules and customs.
  • Volunteer to help around the house and garden; keep on volunteering, even in the face of rejection, until it is clear that your assistance is not wanted or appropriate.
  • At least try any strange food.  Rejection of meals prepared by the host mother can become a very sensitive issue.
  • Unfailingly carry out your responsibilities for maintaining your own room, and whatever other duties may be assigned to you.  Your goal should be to create as little extra work as possible for others (usually your host mother).
  • Say "thank you" whenever someone does something for you.  Appreciation goes a long way to softening the impact of the workload your presence in the household inevitably creates.
  • Express interest in your host family, the town and its history, and any local "sights".

2. Be a serious student (you are a student, not a tourist)

  • Take school seriously.  Do your homework.  Participate in class as much as possible.
  • Remember that you are an extra burden on your teachers.  Express appreciation for their understanding and assistance.
  • Join appropriate school activities, clubs, and groups.
  • Try to imprint yourself in the collective school memory as having made a positive contribution through your presence.

3. Establish good relations with your host Rotary Club

  • Meet and cultivate your Rotary Counselor. He/she can open doors for you, solve problems, and contribute to enriching your exchange experience.
  • Attend as many Rotary meetings and functions as possible or allowed.
  • Respond positively to invitations to speak to your host Rotary Clubs and other organizations.
  • Respond positively to invitations from Rotarians.
  • Make clear your appreciation of their sponsorship.

4. Understand and appreciate the host country's culture and values

  • Learn before you go as much as possible (geography, history, political system, educational system, cultural artifacts and achievements).
  • Question your hosts on these subjects.
  • Learn the language, and work as hard as necessary to do so.
  • Enthusiastically view whatever they want to proudly show you.
  • Fit in gracefully to adult as well as peer social situations.

5. Reflect and communicate your country's culture and values

  • Learn before you go (as in 4 above).
  • Answer all questions to the extent you can. Be honest, but not confrontational. Acknowledge deficiencies, but put them in perspective in relation to what has been done, is being done, and what it is possible to hope to achieve.
  • Show pride in your country, but don't be prideful.

6. Don't try to convert the natives!

  • Be a "Good Will" Ambassador. The exchange of ideas and knowledge is encouraged, but your role is not to change their minds or practices (religion, capitalism, social practices, etc.).

7. Don't make unfavorable comparisons between your country and the host country

  • Things are merely different ... not better or worse.

8. Practice the utmost courtesy to everyone

  • Always ask permission where appropriate; don't assume you have it (host family, Rotary, school).
  • Say "Thank You" and write "Thank You" notes.
  • Adopt host country social practices.

9. Be happy with your lot as a Rotary Exchange Ambassador

  • Don't envy other exchange students, who may be better housed, or more entertained, etc.
  • Be glad of your own unique experience and the opportunities it presents.
  • Limit your association with other exchange students.

10. Say an enthusiastic "Yes" to invitations and opportunities to go places and do things.

  • Within, of course, Rotary and host family rules and with necessary permissions.

Rotary District 9520
Youth Exchange

Each year thousands of young people worldwide are given an opportunity to experience the cultures and accomplishments of people in other countries.

During your exchange, you will grow considerably in self-confidence, tolerance and self-reliance.

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