Frequently Asked Questions
There's no such thing as a dumb question so we've added some that we get most often but if you have a question we haven't answered please drop us a line!
If you've thought it, chances are someone has asked it..
Q: Where do you leave?
Students depart in January 2025 and return a year later.
Q: I don't know a second language...
Whilst having basic second language skills is important, everyone is encouraged to apply. Students will need to learn their new language before they depart!
Q: I don't have a passport?
That's okay, we will help you apply for one before you leave! The standard time for processing passports by the Department of Internal Affairs is 5 weeks so students will need to have applied in July for a new passport prior to leaving. All passports must be valid until July 2026.
Q: I'm not COVID vaccinated...
Whilst we respect everyone's personal choices, many of our schools overseas enforce that students are COVID vaccinated so unfortunately we can only accept applications from students who have received minimum two doses of the COVID vaccine. Students that haven't been vaccinated but are prepared to, are most welcome to apply.
Q: What about other vaccines...
Rotary International has been a leader since the 1980's in the eradication of Polio so all students must be Polio vaccinated. There are other vaccines students may need to have had including; Chicken Pox, Meningococcal, Tetanus and MMR. These are not too dissimilar to standard NZ childhood vaccines. Some countries may require second doses, top ups or other vaccines but this will be discussed with you.
Q: Do I have to attend school?
Yes attending school is a compulsory part of the programme. Students that skip school risk being sent home.
Q: Does my overseas schooling count to a NZ qualification?
No, students work overseas does not count towards any NZ qualification. Students are not allowed to continue any NZ studies whilst overseas. This is a great opportunity for students to try a new subject like photography or drama that they may not have in their NZ academic programme.
Q: Should I go in Yr 12 or Yr 13?
We accept applications from students aged 15 - 17 1/2 as at January 2025. Most students complete Yr 12 and then go on exchange in their Yr 13 year. These students use their Yr 12 qualifications to gain University Entrance or other tertiary entrance or they come back to NZ and finish Yr 13 a year later.
Students that have graduated Yr 13 or are over 18 are not often accepted by our overseas partners. Students may choose to go in their Yr 11 year but most go in their Yr 12 year.
Q: Is home hosting compulsory?
As this is a true exchange we do rely on families hosting an international student for a minimum of two four-month periods over an 18month timeframe. This is a great way to see first-hand our programme and to be involved either before or after your student leaves. This is a very rewarding way to be involved with your student's exchange!
Q: Can I choose which country I go to?
Mostly yes, we have long-term exchange partners we frequently exchange with but are always looking for new countries. We ask students to give us three countries they are interested in.
Q: What qualities are you looking for?
We are looking for students with ambassadorial qualities keen to showcase NZ and our culture to the world. If you have a track record of service and helping others we love to see that. We love students with a "YES" attitude, keen to undertake a new challenge and are resilient. We love leaders, students who are willing to help and students who are open-minded about new cultures and meeting new people. We love students who are independent and like to make new friends. If this sounds like you, what are you waiting for!?
Q: What about COVID?
COVID has impacted our programme but we are excited to have resumed our programme. We continue to work with local Rotary Clubs and our exchange partners to ensure our students are kept safe and sound!
Q: What's the cost?
Students are home hosted (with no payment made to the host family.) They are supported with a sponsor (NZ) Club and a Host Club (in their new country.) Their Host club offers them a small monthly allowance (usually $120NZD equivalent) to assist to pay for bus/train tickets.
Families can expect to pay approximately $23,000 - $25,000 including; flights, insurance, monthly living costs. This price includes an optional 3 week "Euro Tour" (or equivalent) which is usually $4,000 - $5,000 NZD. Costs are spread out over a 15month period and day-to-day living costs are relatively similar to a student living at home.
Q: I can't afford it, is there financial support available?
There are multiple avenues for financial support and students are encouraged to apply directly for these. All students are encouraged to fundraise to get a part-time job to assist with the cost - it's their exchange after all!
Q: Can we visit our student whilst they are overseas?
This is strongly discouraged and is at the discretion of the Host District. We suggest families wait until the student is home and then head back to visit their friends and host families.