Soldotna Youth Programs

Welcome to Soldotna Rotary Club's Youth programs!

 Youth Exchange: 

What is an "Outbound" Exchange Student?

An "Outbound" is a high school student selected by Rotary clubs in Rotary District 5010 to serve as ambassador to foreign countries around the world. These students are open-minded, flexible individuals who demonstrate leadership qualities and have high moral standards that will enable them to become excellent cultural ambassadors for their country and the Rotary club and district that supports them.

Our Rotary club offers two different exchange experiences. The Long Term Exchange Program is a year-long program in which the student is hosted by 2 or 3 families and attends school in a partner foreign country. 

Outbounds attend orientations and meet others in the program who help them prepare for their year abroad. After they are selected, they are expected to follow Rotary rules for exchange students and must understand that they are not exchange students until they actually leave the country on an airplane for their destination.


Long-Term Program

When a high school student is selected to be a Long Term Rotary Youth Exchange student by their local Rotary club, they become a Rotary Youth Exchange Student candidate. All candidates (along with at least one parent/guardian) are required to attend a local Briefing Meeting, normally held in September. At this meeting the student and parents will learn how to fill out the Long Term Exchange Application, learn about the costs of the exchange, the countries that our District is partnered with, how they are assigned their country, how the travel process works and have a time to ask questions. Local interviews with student and parents will be held during October.

Because one of Rotary's International missions is for Health and Welfare for Women and Children, our Rotary District considers vaccinations of all children an important part of this endeavor. Outbound Applicants without a complete Immunization record will not be considered for our Long Term Outbound Youth Exchange program. Students with special medical considerations (I.E. taking regular medications or being under a Doctor’s regular care) should contact the District or local club for clarification before applying for the Long Term Program.

In November and December all of the candidates and parents will be interviewed by a Rotary District Interview Committee. Candidates are notified if they have been selected to be a Rotary Youth Exchange student at an Orientation Meeting in January and assigned a Country where they will be during their exchange year.

To ensure that the students have a successful exchange experience, all of the outbound students will attend monthly local orientation sessions.

The orientations cover the following topics and others that are pertinent to Youth Exchange:

  • What is Rotary
  • Ethical behavior
  • Language learning
  • Cultural adjustment and homesickness
  • What is culture
  • Travel, health insurance, passports, visas
  • Money while on the exchange, cell phones, computers/tablets
  • Visits by parents/guardians are prohibited during the Exchange Year.

At the orientations, students will have the opportunity to meet former Rotary Youth Exchange students and current Inbound Students from other countries. After they are selected, Rotary Youth Exchange students are expected to follow Rotary rules for exchange students and must understand that they may be removed from the program before they leave on exchange if they miss orientation, do not make progress in learning their host country's language or are not deemed to be good ambassadors.

Our District has Youth Exchange agreements with many countries. In some of countries, the exchange covers the whole country, and in others, a region of the country. Although there is an exchange agreement with these countries, we do not exchange students with every country every year.


Soldotna actively seeking open-minded, flexible students who demonstrate leadership qualities to receive scholarships for study for a year in a foreign country. Applicants must have high moral standards that will enable them to become excellent cultural ambassadors for their country and the Rotary club and district that supports them. District 5010 Rotary Youth Exchange provides students ages 15 to 17 with an opportunity to travel to a foreign country and experience the culture while serving as an ambassador for their home country.

For over 75 years, students and host families have broadened their horizons through Rotary Youth Exchange. More than 80 countries and over 8,000 students each year participate in the program, which is administered at the regional level by Rotary districts and at the local level by Rotary clubs.

Explore the opportunities to study abroad by checking out our Outbound Program

"Why should I become an exchange student?"

Exchange students reap many rewards from their yearlong experience. These include:

  • Making lifelong friends in their new culture, with host families, with students from around the world and with other exchange students in Rotary District 5010
  • Learning to represent their country, state, city, school, age group and culture as an "ambassador" to another country
  • Learning a foreign language
  • Gaining an appreciation for another culture, and a deeper understanding of the world
  • Gaining a new appreciation for their home culture and what it has to offer
  • Gaining a better understanding of themselves
  • Learning to adapt to a new way of life, new families and new culture
  • Building leadership skills
  • Making memories that last a lifetime