Rotary youth exchange scholarships offered to high school students

Inbound students to Arizona with their Rotary blazers complete with their pin collections. All Rotary students take great pride and sentimental affection for their blazer. They collect pins from other exchange students they meet while on exchange as well as pins from Rotarians and ones they purchase themselves to remember their year. It’s like a walking scrapbook. (Submitted photo)
Rotary blazer from a previous outbound student returned to Arizona. “They can be quite heavy but it helps in the airports to identify them as a representative of Rotary Youth Exchange frequently assisting in customs,” Machel Considine, inbound chair for Rotary District 5495, said. (Submitted photo)

Rotary clubs in Arizona’s District 5495 are offering Rotary youth exchange scholarships for the 2020-21 school year to high school students within the district.

Each scholarship is valued at $24,000, which includes tuition, room, board and a monthly stipend to students from ages 15.5 to 18.5 at the time of departure, in one of 80 countries around the world, according to a release.

Gap year students are accepted. Students will be responsible for the costs not covered by the Rotary Youth Exchange scholarship, the release states.

Jessica Vaupel, an outbound, at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. (Submitted photo)

“Living in a foreign country has a powerful accelerating effect on a student’s maturing process. Students learn to appreciate and understand another culture, become fluent in another language, develop lifelong international friendships, and make independent decisions. They return with a sense of self-confidence making them better equipped to handle college and life in our global community,” the release states.

Universities look favorably on the exchange experience, as evident by unusual maturity and drive in a college applicant. This experience also serves as the basis for a great application essay. Many returning students test out of entry level college foreign language requirements, which has the potential to save tuition costs or explore additional areas of study, according to the release.

Students on a 30-day train tour of the U.S. “They start in Los Angeles, go up through Montana, all the way to NYC and Boston on the Fourth of July, down through New Orleans then ending in Maricopa, Arizona. It is a phenomenal trip and all with other Rotary students and Rotarians as chaperones. Six of this past years’ class went on this tour,” Machel Considine, inbound chair for Rotary District 5495, said. (Submitted photo)

Rotarians in District 5495 invest nine months in preparing each scholarship recipient for his or her academic year abroad. The student will be part of the international family of Rotarians while overseas.

Students attend Rotary meetings and Rotary Club members offer their counsel and support. These Rotarians are professional leaders in their communities and are directly involved in the success and welfare of the Rotary Youth Exchange Scholarship recipient they are hosting. Having Rotary volunteers make the program affordable to students of all background and economic means. 

Worldwide each year, nearly 9,000 students accept the challenge to become citizens of the world by applying to become Rotary Youth Exchange students. They are selected based on interviews, courage, adaptability, grades and/or achievements, school recommendations, and interest in world affairs, cultures and languages.

Interested students and parents should go to rye5495.org to learn more about the program and to apply.

A welcome to an outbound student, Paige Goetzenberger, to Austria as she begins her year in 2019-20. (Submitted photo)

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