District STEP Chairman/Contact
 
Robert C. Huge
Judith A. Stull
District Co-Chairs
15690 S. Boone Rd.
Columbia Station, Ohio 44028
440-236-9055
What is STEP? (Short Term Youth Exchange)
 
STEP provides students a brief window into another culture, country, and language. It offers an opportunity to learn the culture of another country as well as have a fun and build lifelong friendships. It helps the 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 your host family abroad and four weeks in your 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 your foreign guest visiting in December/January. You will receive information about your host sister/brother by late April and may begin to correspond at that time. We attempt to match students and families with similar ages, common interests and gender.
 
Students should first contact your 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 Ontario, Canada and part of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia,
Tennessee, and North Carolina. Ohio‐Erie (O‐E) works with Rotarians abroad to arrange summer matches. Opportunities may exist to host an inbound exchange without sending a student abroad (and vice‐versa) – 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 a very important factor for students and families involved in STEP.
 
The student must meet the following requirements to participate in the STEP program:
 
  1. You must be no less than 15 and no more than 18 1/2 years old at departure time.
  2. You and your parents will host a student for approximately four weeks during the summer (or December/January if going to southern hemisphere country). Your family is expected to arrange activities for the visiting student.
  3. Hosting costs are your responsibility.
  4. During your hosting period, you are expected not to take a summer job or become involved in other activities if they interfere with your host obligations.
  5. Students/families pay the total program costs which includes an administration fee, round trip airfare, insurance and pocket money.
  6. You must have read the program rules and you and your parents must be willing to strictly abide by them. We ask that you and your parents sign the Rules page and return it.
 
 
We have found that students with many of the following traits may be good candidates for the summer exchange program:
 
Demonstrated interest in things international, through language classes, pen pals, cultural studies, foreign travel, and/or hosting inbound students.
Mutual desire of parents and the student to participate in an exchange. Ease of making new friends with both adults and students.
Politeness, pleasantness, and a confidence.
Flexibility to adapt to new and changing environments. Comfortable traveling away from home for 4 weeks or more.
Participation in some monthly Rotary meetings held for inbound exchange students. Student overall grade point of 3.0 or above (not mandatory, but a good sign of dedication and discipline).
Ability to make presentations to sponsoring Rotary Clubs here and abroad. A sense of humor and a positive and enthusiastic outlook.
A firm commitment to the STEP program with minimal time and work conflicts.
A student’s work schedule should not interfere with entertaining your host brother or sister.
 
Rules for Participants – Parents and Students
  1. Willingly accept the advice and supervision of the Rotary club counselor and of host parents abroad.
  2. Accept differences in the culture in your host country without vocal criticism
  3. You are not permitted to drive a motor vehicle of any kind while in another country.
  4. Hard liquors are not permitted in this program. In many host homes, wine and light beers are served with meals. This is permissible provided your parents approve. Any misconduct while under the influence of alcohol is sufficient cause to be sent home at the student’s expense.
  5. The use of illegal drugs, including “pot” is absolutely forbidden and infringement of this rule will cause you to be sent home at the student’s expense. Use of prescription medications not prescribed to the student is cause to terminate the exchange, too.
  6. Hosting parents should take their student to a Rotary meeting shortly after their foreign student arrives.
  7. Independent travel without the host family is not permitted while abroad.
  8. Arrange for day‐time and evening activities for your foreign student. Loneliness and inactivity can breed dissatisfaction. Families are not required to take the student on "whirlwind tour" of the country, but meaningful activities are encouraged. Past experience has shown your student will be given the "red carpet" treatment while visiting their host country.
  9. We recommend the use of the Ohio‐Erie appointed travel agency, Its Your World Travel. Airline tickets must be paid for in full prior to departure. If using a different travel agent, Rotary​ must have a copy of the itinerary prior to departure and can not be responsible for travel problems.
 
How do we Apply?
  1. Complete the “Rotary Youth Exchange Short‐Term Exchange Program (STEP) Application.” Applications should be typed or printed clearly. Blank applications and all other forms should be attached to this document.
    1. 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). Two completed applications are required with original signatures in blue ink on both copies.
  1. 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.
  1. Complete the “Country Preference Form” located on the last page of this document. (Part 2 of this document.)
  1. Complete the Host Family Application.
  1. Read and sign the Rules form
  1. The administration fee must accompany your application – $450 ‐ make checks payable to Rotary District 6630. In addition, once you make travel arrangements you are required to sign up for short term medical insurance. The cost is between $75 to $250 depending on length of stay.
CMI Frontier Medex. (Plan B or A) Students login at:
https://www.cmi‐insurance.com/Checkout/Default.aspx?ID=295
 
  1. The documents must be submitted to your local sponsoring Rotary Club President or Youth Exchange Officer. He or she will interview you prior to signing your application and forwarding it to your local Rotary District. The District STEP coordinator may also contact you and then forward your application to the Ohio‐Erie STEP Chair to arrange your exchange.
  1. Your Student must be in possession of a valid passport that does not expire before January 2016. 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.
  1. Applications with fees must be received by your sponsoring Rotary Club before Februrary 15, 2015. 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.
 
  1. If your application is unacceptable, the entire administrative fee will be returned to you. If we can not 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                                                       Work - 614-443-0533
Columbus, OH 43206 USA                                            Cell – 614-519-1836
John@wedavis.com