The Rotary Club 99 of Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, sponsors a programme in which they host two college-aged students from a foreign country for several weeks to promote international goodwill and fellowship. This programme is unique to their club and is called the Ottenheimer International Youth Exchange. The programme was established by a grant from member Gus Ottenheimer in 1948 and is funded through the Ottenheimer Foundation and Club 99 Foundation.
Each summer, Club 99 hosts two young people to travel to Arkansas and stay with Rotarian families for approximately four weeks, followed by a three-day trip to Washington, DC before returning home. This gives the young people an opportunity to learn about American culture as it is experienced in Arkansas and also gives Club 99 Rotarians the chance to learn about their visitors' culture. All expenses are paid by Club 99. Each year the committee selects a country and region to invite applicants to their programme and this year they have selected New Zealand, in particular the area around Wellington. In past years, they have hosted young people from France, Czech Republic, Canada, Wales, Costa Rica, Rwanda, Slovakia, Iceland, Poland, Hungary, Romania, England and Tanzania.
This is the chance of a lifetime for two young men between the ages of 21-23 (as of 1 August 2015) to apply to travel to Little Rock for four weeks, followed by three days in Washington DC. The Rotary Club 99 of Little Rock is seeking applications by the end of March 2015 so that they can select the final two candidates who will be offered places on this programme.
Applicants will be male (young women are sponsored in alternate years). They will be able to travel to Arkansas for four weeks, followed by three days in Washington DC. All travel and accommodation will be paid for by the host Rotary Club. The ideal timing is for August 2015 although some flexibility is possible.
Applicants will be able to speak English conversationally and have a current passport with a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). They will have an interest in learning about Arkansas and the United States, have an interest in meeting new people and making new friends and be willing to make a brief presentation to Little Rock Club 99 about their home city and country, their families and about their trip to Arkansas.
Little Rock Club 99 will provide the round trip airfare from Wellington to Little Rock, lodging and meals with Rotary families, sightseeing around the State of Arkansas, opportunities to explore the careers of Rotarians and the air fare, hotel and spending money for a three-day visit to Washington DC.
Applicants do not necessarily need to be children of Rotary members although this is preferred. An application form is available here.