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Welcome to Rotex Chicago!

If you have been a Rotary exchange student, or are interested in becoming an exchange student, or would like Rotex Chicago to speak to your group, we invite you to take a look around!

We hope that our experiences give you some insight into other cultures or spark your curiosity to travel and explore. If you have had your own incredible experiences as a Rotary exchange student, please take a look at what our Rotex group is up to now. Maybe you’d like to join our mentor program, meet some fellow exchange students, or speak to schools and clubs about your experiences.


Rotex is dedicated to:

  • Supporting the current in-bounds
  • Giving guidance and support to future out-bounds
  • Increasing the awareness of the Youth Exchange Program in the community
  • Maintaining the close connection to other past exchange students
  • Connecting potential host families with the Rotary Clubs
  • Coordinating with Rotary Clubs in surrounding districts to promote the Youth Exchange Program


Links to Central States Rotary Youth Exchange and Rotary International.  Please click on images.




This Year’s Projects

“Adopt An Inbound”

  • We decided it would be cool if each of the in-bounds had someone to take them places and introduce them to people and someone they could count on if they had questions. Anyone who feels like they have the time to dedicate to this (maybe plan on doing something with them once a month) can be part of this project. It is probably a little more time consuming than “adopting an outbound,” but it could be a lot of fun.


  • We will have at least a few people attend the interviews so that people can begin to see us and recognize us. Julia likes to have us there and usually asks us to help with the interviewing process. Otherwise we can just mingle and talk with the students and the parents.

Halloween Party

  • Halloween is one of those crazy American traditions that they don’t really celebrate anywhere else. Having a Halloween party for the inbounds will help make sure they get the chance to experience this Holiday.
  • This may be replaced with a day trip to Six Flags Fright FEST

Christmas Party

  • This is the overnight party in the city that most of us attended when we were going out. It is overnight downtown and not everyone can go, so let me know early if you are available. We want to have at least a few members attend so that they get used to seeing our lovely faces around. We should also come up with a few fun ice- breaker games as well since this is the first time they’re all together and they’re still getting to know each other.

“Adopt An Outbound”

  • We will at this point “adopt an outbound” so these letters / emails will each come from a different one of us. Contact is still open to all Rotex people, but whenever emails are sent, it will be you who are responsible for sending it to your “adopted outbound(s)” so that it is a little more personal and hopefully they will feel more comfortable talking to that person.

Congratulation Letters

  • We will send a letter of “congratulations”/ acknowledgement to each outbound when they find out what country they’ve been assigned to. This way we are opening up contact nice and early and giving them a resource for asking questions.
  • This is part of “adopting an outbound”

Contact List for Parents

  • This is just a list of District Contacts, our contacts, contacts of other parents, and contacts of each other so that they can have a support group going.
  • Ask your parents if they want they are willing to answer questions and put their contact information on this list.

Find Language Resources / Classes

  • After the out-bounds are given their countries, we will help with research, especially for those students who are assigned to obscure countries so that they have a chance to prepare for their year and to get excited about it
  • If you have any language learning resources (especially online free ones) that helped you, send them to me so they can be added to the list
  • Emails will be sent from the ones who “adopted an outbound”

February Orientation (overnight)

  • Here we have a fun presentation/ session to get the out-bounds more comfortable with Rotex. We will simply tell them who we are and what we do and what we are there for. They have to do a lot of boring stuff this weekend, so I want something that’s going to make them excited to go!

Plan Grand Rapids ROTEX break- out session

  • Rotex had nothing in last year’s Grand Rapids schedule. We want to be the club that hosts a break- out session for all Central States Rotex groups.

Presentations In Schools

  • To inspire interest in the program
  • To find host families
  • We will offer to make presentations in as many schools as we can. We will target the freshman classes (so that they can have half a year to think about it, one year to apply, and then leave on their junior year), and the foreign language classes (who obviously already have an interest in foreign events) and Dennis suggested geography classes too.
  • I would like this presentation to be fun and interesting! Each person can have their own presentation, but we’ll have a meeting to discuss all the things that should be mentioned and to bounce ideas off each other.

Presentations at Clubs

  • To Encourage Hosting and Sponsoring in Clubs that have never done it or considered it or who know only a little bit about Youth Exchange
  • I have already made this presentation several times, and I generally get a good response. I’ve attached the presentation in written form so feel free to read it, adapt it, adopt it, use it as an outline, or do whatever you want. I’m working on getting in contact with other clubs who would be interested in having someone speak at one of their meetings. Let me know if you are interested in making these presentations so that I can call you when the opportunity arises.

Trip for In-bounds Not Traveling Across Country

  • We will have a small trip for those In-bounds who can’t afford to make the big cross- country trips. Carl suggested Indiana Beach which I think sounds fun! He says that he’s done it before and knows all about what to do! We have no dates yet, but the trip will be in June.

Silent Auction

  • This is our big fundraiser. We hold the auction at the district conference. This project will include finding things to put up for auction and so we will talk to businesses and to Rotarians who are willing to donate items.
  • We’re still looking for ideas for more fundraisers. Linda suggested a cookbook. I think that sounds like a good idea. Let me know if you guys like this or have input!
  • Last year this was replaced with a 50/50 raffle because we could not collect enough items in time. Julia was not happy about this raffle, so we need to work harder on collecting items this year.

Book for Outbounds

  • This is a gift book we’ve made for this year’s out-bounds and will work to expand for next year. We make these books and present them to the out-bounds at Grand Rapids. It is meant to give them something to look at and make them feel better during those rough times. We’ll put in our contact information in case they want to talk to one of us, but we’ll also put pages of advice.
  • I would like for everyone to write a page long story of the most difficult time during your exchange. Though we’re writing about difficult times, it should still be uplifting and explain how you got through it so that they see: even though it seems tough now, it’ll seem like nothing later on. You could also write about the best time, the most embarrassing time, or anything you want to share.
  • You have almost a year to write something. Please work on it so that I don’t have to nag in those later months. I would love for everyone to contribute at least one story, but feel free to write as many as your heart desires.
  • We’ve also started brainstorming ideas about other little things to include. Things like a world map, a scavenger hunt of things from their host country, and just fun stuff. Let me know ideas!

Rebounds Welcome Home

  • Have another party / Get together before school starts



Meet the Members


Sam – The Fearless Leader

Sam was an Outbound to Poland in 2005- 2006 and Brasil in 2007- 2008.
She graduated from Bolingbrook High School in 2007. She is currently a Ballet
teacher in the Chicagoland area. Some things that Sam loves are Dancing, Capoeira,
Ice Cream, Paul Simon, and Manatees.


Carlito – The Bouncer

A man of mystery from Mexico.


Maria – Director of Theatrical Events

a.k.a. Concetta
Maria was an Outbound to France in 2007- 2008. She graduated from Plainfield North in 2008.
She is studying at UIC to become a business tycoon. Maria enjoys acting, expressing her creativity, and laying in flour beds.


Ian – Jedi Master

a.k.a. ‘ In ‘
Ian was an Outbound to Mexico 2007- 2008. He graduated from York High School in 2007.
He is currently studying Biology at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Ian enjoys the benefits of running,
tacos, little sombreros, being a big help, and pointing out when Sam is wrong.


Dennis – Tropical Plant Tamer

I grew up in Oak Lawn in the South West suburbs.
I went to Oak Lawn Community High School.
I was an exchange student to Brazil in 08-09 with Rotary during my Junior Year of High School.
Currently I’m an undergraduate student at DePaul University studying Business Management and minoring in International Business
I enjoy biking, learning other languages, and collecting specialty key chains.


Becca – Barista In Resident

Becca was an exchange student to Spain in 2010 – 2011. She was originally assigned to Thailand and still considers herself part Thai. She currently attends Columbia College in Chicago, studying game art and design. Video games, drawing, riding Spanish horses, and leveling up her Pokemon are some of Becca’s favorite things.