Welcome to North Star Rotary Youth Exchange
North Star Rotary Youth Exchange Program (YEP) works in Rotary International Districts 5950 & 5960. The North Star region roughly comprises the southern half of Minnesota and the western part of Wisconsin – all in the north-central plains of the USA. Geographically this area is located on the border between the western prairies and the northern forests.
The North Star Rotary YEP region includes the major metropolitan area of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul (3 million inhabitants) and the surrounding cities, suburbs, towns and countryside. The Twin Cities are centers of education, medical research, finance, banking, transportation and manufacturing, while to the south and west, agriculture is the primary economic factor, and to the north and east, forestry, mining, and tourism are important.
Our climate is defined as “mid-continental temperate” which means that exchange students coming here will experience four distinct seasons of weather, with hot summers, cold winters, and occasional severe weather. Some call our weather “extreme”; we like to think of it as “invigorating”.
Our Youth Exchange Program began in 1967 with four students each way. Today we annually exchange more than 120 students per year with 25 exchange-partner countries. Our goal is to grow our program over the next decade to nearly 100 students each way, provided we can encourage more local Rotary Clubs to participate, and can establish relationships with additional exchange partners abroad.
Many students coming to North Star will live outside of the immediate Twin Cities area, and some will reside in smaller, rural communities. Inbound students may well be assigned to towns of fewer than 10,000 inhabitants or perhaps to a smaller suburb of the Twin Cities. Outbound students will come from these very same communities.
North Star Rotary Youth Exchange students – whether Inbound or Outbound – will attend a local high school and will be expected to participate in their school academically, and in their local host community’s activities, be it sports, civics, culture or other peer-typical endeavors. In most cases, high school classes begin the first week of September and end the first week of June, and therefore most of our exchanges follow this schedule.
All students who participate with North Star YEP are hosted by families chosen and vetted by their local Rotary Club. Our exchange students are not long-term guests in the home, but rather fully integrated members of the family, with all the joys, comforts and responsibilities that any family member could expect.
Since 1970, North Star returnees (Rotex) have benefited from the camaraderie and moral support of an active Rotex chapter. From chaperoning Inbound Weekends to participating in local international cultural events, Rotex members find myriad ways to reconnect with their host country and with others who have shared the experience of youth exchange. Regardless of which year one was an exchange student, the motto is “Once a Rotex (former Rotary Exchange Student); always a Rotex”.
For over 40 years, North Star Rotary Youth Exchange has been building cross-cultural ties and creating international ambassadors of goodwill and understanding. We hope you will join us in building a more integrated global community –be it as an exchange student, a host family, a sponsoring local Rotary Club, or as an exchange partner abroad. Contact us at info@NorthStarYouthExchange.com .