*All Applications Included Except Insurance
 
District STEP Chairman/Contact
Robert C. Huge
Judith A. Stull
District Co-Chairs
15690 S. Boone Rd.
Columbia Station, Ohio 44028
440-236-9055
Email:  robertcolehuge@gmail.com 
What is STEP? (Short Term Exchange Program) – Youth Exchange 

STEP allows students to experience another culture, country, and language.  It offers a fun learning opportunity while building lifelong friendships and helps students grow with increased awareness, knowledge, and confidence. 

Rotary International has sponsored youth exchange programs for more than 50 years with the goal of building international goodwill and understanding.  Through the Short Term Exchange Program (STEP), two students spend about eight weeks together experiencing each other’s family, country, and culture; four weeks with their host family abroad and four weeks back home. 

Exchanges generally occur from late June through late August.  Some southern hemisphere countries have split‐season exchanges with American students traveling in July/August and their foreign guest visiting in December/January.  We attempt to match students and families with similar ages, common interests and gender.  You will receive information about your host sister/brother by late April and can begin to correspond at that time.  

Students should first contact their local Rotary Club to begin the application and interview process.  Each club belongs to a Rotary District.  The Ohio‐Erie Multidistrict consists of ten districts in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina and Canada. Ohio‐Erie (O‐E) works with Rotarians abroad to arrange STEP matches.  Opportunities may exist to host an inbound exchange without sending a student abroad.  These are called one‐way exchanges.  Please contact your local Rotary Club if interested. 
 
Qualifications
 
The Ohio‐Erie STEP holds its participants to high standards.  Students are interviewed by their local Rotary Club and participate in a district‐wide orientation program.  Host families are also interviewed and must agree to a background check.  Flexibility is very important for students and families involved in STEP. 

The student must meet the following requirements to participate in the STEP program: 
 
1.    The student must be no less than 15 and no more than 18 years old at departure time.
2.    The student and his/her parents will host a student for approximately four weeks during the summer (or December/January if going to southern hemisphere country).  The family is expected to arrange activities for the visiting student.
3.    The parents are responsible for hosting costs.
4.    The student is expected not to take a summer job or become involved in other activities if they interfere with his/her host obligations.
5.    The student and their parents will pay the total program costs which include an administration fee, round trip airfare, insurance and spending money.  Some local clubs may offer limited financial assistance.
6.    The student and his/her parents must read and sign the Program Rules page.  The student and his/her parents must be willing to strictly abide by those rules.  We ask that you and your parents sign the Rules Page and return it.
 
Are you a good candidate for the STEP Program? Ask yourself these questions and if they are Yes, you have a good chance of having a successful exchange. 
  Do you have an interest in things international, through language classes, social media, friends abroad cultural studies, foreign travel, and/or hosting inbound students?
  Do your parents support your decision to participate in an exchange?
  Do you make friends easily with both adults and people your age?
  Are you polite, pleasant and confident?
  Are you flexible enough to adapt to new and changing environments?
  Would you be comfortable with traveling away from home for 4 weeks or more?
  Are you able to participate in some monthly Rotary meetings held for exchange students? (usually on Saturdays)
  Do you have an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above? This is not mandatory, but a good sign of dedication and discipline.
  Do you have the ability to make presentations to sponsoring Rotary Clubs here and abroad?
  Do you have a sense of humor and a positive and enthusiastic outlook?
  Can you make a firm commitment to the STEP program with minimal time and work conflicts? (Your schedule should not interfere with hosting your brother or sister from  another country.) 
 
Rules for Participants – Parents and Students (Also see the Rules Page you will need to sign)
 
1.    The student should be willing to accept the advice and supervision of the Rotary club counselor and of his/her host parents abroad.
2.    The student must be willing to accept cultural differences in his/her host country without vocal criticism.
3.    The student is not permitted to operate a motor vehicle or motorized boat while in another country.
4.    The student can not drink alcohol during the exchange. In many host homes, wine and light beers are served with meals. This is permissible provided The student’s parents approve. Any misconduct while under the influence of alcohol is sufficient cause to be sent home.
5.    The use of illegal drugs, including “pot” is absolutely forbidden. Use of prescription medications not prescribed to the student is cause to terminate the exchange as well.
6.    When the student hosts, he/she should take his/her foreign brother or sister to a Rotary meeting shortly after they arrive. The student should ask to be taken to a Rotary meeting while being hosted abroad.
7.    Independent travel is not allowed while abroad. The student can travel with his/her host family with Rotary’s permission.
8.    The student should arrange for day‐time and evening activities for his/her host brother or sister. Inactivity can lead to boredom and homesickness. Families are not required to take their student on "whirlwind tours" of the country, but meaningful activities are encouraged. The same should be expected while abroad.
9.    We REQUIRE the use of the Ohio‐Erie appointed travel agency, Its Your World Travel.  Airline tickets must be paid for in full prior to departure and an itinerary provided to Rotary. While Rotary works closely with our approved travel agency, we are not responsible for travel problems.
 
How do we Apply?
1.    Complete the “Rotary Youth Exchange Short‐Term Exchange Program (STEP)
Application.”  Applications must be typed. Blank applications and all other forms needed to apply are attached to this document.

a.    The application can be filled out on your home computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader. Attach clear photos to each application where indicated (digital photos or hard‐copy photos, but in color).  Two completed applications are required with original signatures in blue ink on both copies.

2.    Obtain a letter of recommendation from a non‐family member.  This letter must be from someone other than a family member, such as a teacher, religious leader, or community leader.

3.    Complete the “Country Preference Form” at the end of this document.

4.    Complete the Host Family Application.

5.    Read and sign the Rules form
 
6.    The administration fee of $450 must accompany your application.  Make checks payable
to “Rotary District 6630.”

7.    Once you make travel arrangements you are required to sign up for medical insurance.  The cost is about $4.00 per day. Login in at: https://secure.visit-aci.com/insurance/oerye/
Choose the third option – Short Term Exchange Program (STEP) and then the first option Ohio-Erie RYE Students. Send a copy of the receipt to the STEP Chair..

8.    The documents must be submitted to your local sponsoring Rotary Club President or Youth Exchange Officer.  He/she will interview you prior to signing your application and forwarding it to your Rotary District.  The District STEP coordinator may also contact you and then forward your application to the Ohio‐Erie STEP Chair.

9.    Your Student must be in possession of a valid passport that does not expire until 6 months after your arrival back home.  Application and instructions can be provided by the Rotary appointed travel agency or a Post Office.  Passports take time to get processed, so please do not wait until the last minute to apply.  Students traveling to Brazil will also need a visa at an additional cost. Our travel agent will assist you in obtaining the visa.

10.    Applications with fees must be received by your sponsoring Rotary Club before February 1, 2018.  Applications will not be processed until the administrative fee has been received.  After this date, your application will only be considered if there is an exchange available and you are willing to go to any country.

11.    If your application is unacceptable, the entire administrative fee will be returned to you. If we cannot make a match for you, the entire administrative fee will be returned to you.  If you withdraw from the program for any reason after your application has been accepted, the application fee may be returned and will be decided on a case by case basis.  Once a student has been matched, no refund will be made if the student elects not to make the exchange.
 
Application and Administrative Fee Should Be Sent To:
District Step Chairman/Contact
Robert C. Huge
Judith A. Stull
District Co-Chairs
15690 S. Boone Rd.
Columbia Station, Ohio 44028
440-236-9055
 
How To Contact Ohio‐Erie STEP:
John Koetz
Ohio Erie - Youth Exchange STEP Chair and Country Contact for South America (except Brazil) & Mexico - Long term All of South America and Mexico - Short term
29 Frederick Street                                                      
Columbus, OH 43206 USA                                           
Work - 614-443-0533   
Cell – 614-519-1836    
www.ohioerie.org