Rotary Virtual Youth Exchange(YE)

Rotary Virtual Youth Exchange(YE)

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by PP Herman Lo (Chair of District Youth Exchange Committee 2021-2022)

Youth Exchange programs are very important youth services organised by the RI. It helps our youth gain global understanding and promote peace. Participation in YE could help our youth learn new language, discover different cultures and customs and make new friends. On the other hand, Rotary could instill international understanding and goodwill in youth, create positive empowering in youth. In addition, more importantly, relationship between host clubs, families, communities and participants could be created and developed.

Rotary YE could be divided into Inbound YE and Outbound YE, short term and long term. Inbound YE program could host a YE program whist Outbound YE program is to send students to other countries that host YE programs. Long term YE could last a school academic year, student would live in several host families and attend school while Short term YE could last from a few days to several months, student could stay with local families, or the program could be in form of camp or tour.

RI administers the District Certification program. For any district  arranging long term and short YE programs,  District Certification is required and the district must fulfil the requirements imposed. Full District Certification could allow clubs to organise Inbound YE and Outbound YE programs, whilst there is also an Outbound only Certification. Currently, D3450 possesses Outbound only Certification for Hong Kong, Macau and Mongolia areas.

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, YE programs have been suspended from 24.11.2020 through 30.6.2022 and Virtual Youth Exchange has become an alternative that YE program are arranged via social medias like Microsoft Team, Zoom or Skype etc.  Experiences show that Virtual YE could be as good as in-person YE and moments of YE usually retain for long period in student as they have made an important step to become a global citizen. Virtual YE is a good option for students who could not attend in-person YE owing to reasons such as financial or personal. RI requires districts to apply for certification for arranging Virtual YE on condition that it possess at least Outbound-Only certification. District Youth Exchange Committee made application for Virtual YE and it was approved by the RI.

District YE Committee arranged the first Virtual YE program for D3450 with D3281 as soon as certification was received. The program is a short term Virtual Youth Exchange program. It involves 4 students from Bangladesh (sponsoring and host club is RC of Dhaka Royal from D3281) and 2 students from Macau (sponsoring and host club is RC of Macau) and 2 students from Hong Kong (sponsoring and host club is RC of HK Fairview) to make the Virtual YE program accomplished arrangement of 4 inbound and 4 outbound students for D3450. A student from D3450 was paired with one from D3281 and a mentor who is Rotex was assigned to each pair to provide guidance and sharing of skills in preparing for Virtual YE program.

The Virtual YE program includes four workshops held on 4 Saturday nights. The First Workshop was held on 23 Apr 2022 which is an orientation and introduction which students were trained with rules and regulations of the Virtual YE and they also gave brief self-introductions. The Second Workshop is titled with Beautiful Bangladesh, Beautiful Hong Kong and Beautiful Macau that students are to introduce their hometowns. Student would discuss Festivals and Public Holidays and music & traditional dance in the Third and Fourth Workshop respectively.

The program has been successfully arranged and received positive response. Students learnt new cultures and custom and practiced English and become more exuberant. It helps to connect D3450 and D3281 and all sponsoring and host clubs and people reach out to the far corners of the world that they would never have any idea prior to attending Virtual YE program. Most importantly, D3450 has gained valuable experience in organising the Virtual Youth Exchange program. Having received certification for Outbound-Only and Virtual YE, Youth Exchange program certainly would have huge room of development for D3450 in the horizon.

District Youth Exchange Committee:

PP Herman Lo – Chair and D3450 Youth Exchange Officer

Certification for Virtual and Outbound-Only Youth Exchange for District 3450

Poster of The Virtual Youth Exchange between D3450 and D3281

District Governor of D3450- DG Keith Chow  
District Governor of D3281- DG Barrister Mutasim Billah Faruqui

4 students from Bangladesh, 2 students from Hong Kong and 2 students from Macau