The Rotary Club of Saint Joseph – Benton Harbor has a long history of involvement with the Youth Exchange Program. In recent years we have hosted students from Norway, Finland, Germany, Brazil, Poland, Zimbabwe and France.
Students hosted by our club become involve with our club. For instance, our students come to our Rotary meetings at least, sometimes more, twice a month. They are each expected to give a presentation to our club when they first arrive, to tell our club a bit about themselves and what they hope to accomplish while here. They will also give an exit presentation at the end of their year here to let everyone know of their sincere gratitude in hosting them and making their dreams come true. Giving these presentations help our students in their leadership and presentation skills.
Students also become involved in Rotary through their school Interact Club. Our students are required to attend Interact and to work all the functions they have while raising money for the local community and for international operations.
If you’re interested in becoming a host family, the requirements are quite simple. A host family must have a separate bed, preferably a separate bedroom (although students are allowed to share rooms with a student of like age and gender), a place to bathe and study. They should be integrated into the family just as your own child would be. They should be given household chores and responsibilities. Families will provide the students with a cell phone, three meals a day (including the cost of school lunches) and transportation to and from school and after school events. Most students do like to try out for the athletic teams. Students are given a stipend of $100 a month from the Rotary Club to help with their expenses throughout the month.
Both host parents and students learn from one another about their separate cultures, religions, politics, social media. They learn of their fears and worries, happiness and hope. Both are goodwill ambassadors for their country, working toward peaceful coexistence for all. If you have even a slight interest in serving as a goodwill ambassador, a loving and caring parent, and a guide and mentor for less than six months, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected to the club Youth Exchange Officer.