District 5080 is an International District, including southeastern British Columbia (East and West Kootenays), Canada and western Washington and eastern Montana, USA, a total distance of 480 miles (800 km) North to South and about 120 miles (200 km) East to West. Most exchange students will live in the mostly small to medium-sized communities of 3,000 to 40,000 people, with Spokane, Washington, the largest city, with a population of about 360,000. View the interactive google map for details.
Some of the most beautiful landscapes, lakes, rivers, forests and mountains in North America are located in our district. We enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, with camping, boating, fishing and skiing all being common forms of recreation. We experience four distinct seasons in our district, but the climate can vary dramatically from one town to another, depending on elevation and other factors.
See a Brazilian exchange student’s comments about her exchange experience in Canada.
When do I Arrive AND WHEN DO I GO HOME?
Inbound exchange students generally arrive in August of the year of their exchange and typically return in July.
The day-to-day life of teenagers in North America revolves around school where scholastic, social and special interests are all joined together in school activities. Many schools have teams in sports such as football, basketball and volleyball. Schools also sponsor clubs for drama, dance, music, computers and community service. Most schools have an annual Prom (a formal dance) and many other less formal dances throughout the year.
Exchange students in our district will go to public schools. Students dress informally. Uniforms are not worn, however, students are always expected to be respectful of their teachers.
Exchange students may find considerable diversity among the families that host them. Although many families may seem to share a common lifestyle, the day-to-day life inside each family may vary greatly. Some families may take frequent trips, go camping, or enjoy other outdoor activities, while other families’ leisure time may revolve around church or their extended family.
Most families may seem very informal in the way children interact with their parents but children are expected to be respectful. The rules of behavior in one family may be quite strict while another family will seem lenient by comparison.
In the majority of host families both the mother and father will be employed outside of the home and family life can be very busy. All members of the family will be expected to help with the cleaning or other chores. Very few families will have outside help to assist with housework.
In all, the inbound students attend four District weekend functions. These provide an opportunity to begin friendships that will continue the next year in their home country and usually for a lifetime thereafter:
Early September, 2 day Inbound Orientation
Attendance is mandatory for all inbound students. This weekend is critical for the successful completion of your exchange year. It is your first opportunity to meet fellow Rotary exchange students, receive an orientation to our District program and meet the District Youth Exchange Committee members.
October and November, Outbound Student Selections:
You can assist in Outbound student selections at Club and District levels.
November, a Canadian or US Get Together:
Two weekend get togethers, one for the American based students in the United States and one for the Canadian based students in Canada, or a combined event in either the U.S. or Canada.
January, Ski and Snowboard Event:
You will have a wonderful opportunity to get together with other students for a weekend of skiing and snowboarding. Lessons for all levels are offered and you can enjoy the mountain experience that so many of us enjoy in this area. This weekend is not mandatory although the vast majority of our students register. The cost is usually born by the host club. It is the first opportunity you will have to meet the new arrivals from Australia (if any) and possibly some of the newly selected Outbound students.
May or June, District Bus Tour:
In years where this Spring Tour is offered, attendance is mandatory for all inbound students. This will allow inbound students to see and experience many wonderful adventures all over the District.
Other Rotary Directed Tours:
You will be given an opportunity to participate in Rotary directed tours in California, Florida, Hawaii, New York or other places. Costs for these optional tours are paid for by the student. Early registration is advisable.
You and your parents need to sign and return the “Inbound Student Travel Permission Form” for you to participate in these events.
Rotary exchange students are expected to abide by Rotary International, the hosting district’s and their home district rules. Failure to abide by Rotary rules may result in a student being sent back to his or her home country.
Students are required to maintain an “emergency fund”, in Canadian or US funds, depending on hosting country, which will be under the joint control of the student and the host Rotary club. You will be notified of the exact amount. When any money is spent from this fund, the total must be brought back up to the original amount. Any remaining money in this fund will be returned at the end of your exchange.
Inbound exchange students will receive a monthly “allowance” from their host Rotary club. You will be notified of the exact amount. Your host family will provide you with room and board. You will be responsible for all other personal expenses.
The District 5080 rules and finances are included in the“Inbound Student Agreement” you and your parents to sign and return.
Students are required to purchase health and accident insurance through District 5080 unless otherwise agreed in advance with the sponsor Rotary District. If you are required to purchase health and accident insurance from District 5080, an information package and application form will be sent to you.
Further Travel Assistance
Prior to arrival in District 5080, you will be notified of the host club contacts and your first host family. Your sponsoring Rotary club will assist you in preparing for travel to District 5080.
Your Host Rotary Club
In many ways, your host Rotary Club can open the door to lots of exciting opportunities during your year in North America, all you need to do is get involved!
Shortly after you arrive in our district you will be invited to attend a meeting of your host Rotary Club. Later, after you have become adjusted to your new surroundings and more comfortable with the English language, your club will request that you make a presentation about your home country. These Rotarians are interested in meeting you and learning about your home country. You should expect the Rotary members to be welcoming and friendly.
You can also expect to be asked to participate in other activities that are sponsored by your host club, such as special projects or fund raising events scheduled throughout the year. Rotary is an active organization and many important local community projects have been funded and completed by Rotary Clubs. All of these projects are fun activities. They will give you the opportunity to better understand our way of life, and they will give you the opportunity to meet lots of interesting people.
District 5080 is proud of its record of achievement in International Youth Exchange. It is through the hardworking and sincere efforts of the District Youth Exchange Committee and the Clubs that the program is so successful. Because these fine young people truly are improving world peace and understanding, Rotary International and District 5080 continue to support this important program.