Student's Survey Project


January 23, 2013


We have made good progress with our Students‘ Survey. More than one thousand reports have been returned till the end of December with valuable information. I have prepared a summary for you, see attachment

150  German  reports  received  recently  did  not  change  the  general  pattern  at  all;  we  can  therefore  conclude  that  the  existing number of reports is sufficient for very reliable average results of worldwide conditions in Youth Exchange.

However,  average  results  are  not  representative  for  all  districts,  deviations  to  the  maximum  or  minimum  values  are enormous. Where do you think does your district stand?
The only way to find out about conditions of Exchanges is to do this survey yourself.

We  have  made  some  modifications  to  the  survey  version  1.5a  (June  2012).  We  have  added  a  few  more  questions  on Host  Parents’  Support”.  Whilst  there  is  high  general  satisfaction  with  them  a  good number  of  students  who  experienced problems during their exchanges claim their origin to be with their Host Families. We want to find out more.

Two more questions were added:

  • Q30 asking for the number of hours they spend on social media
  • Q31 on alcohol and drugs.

These topics were always prominent as reasons for early returns in the annual reports by RI

For your familiarization with the questionnaire please look at

Erwin Zeller
RIYE Project on Students’ Survey, Chair


This is the FIRST GLOBAL REPORT on results from all surveys made so far from all districts that were taking part in our STUDENTS' SURVEY i.e.

  • 1033 Students' reports from
  • some 80 Districts


Initiation for this project:

  • The RI Annual Report 2007/08 showing 502 Early Returns (ER), rising over the years. And this, in spite of having addressed this topic at every major conference and pre convention.

    A small team started to look for a different approach to make progress. Starting with questionnaires for those who returned early - ending up with monitoring the quality of RI Youth

    Exchange in general, looking at reports from every student involved in this Survey.
  • The RI Annual Report is based on reports made by YEOs

    Reasons of ER are reported mainly as faults of students (i.e. homesickness, drugs/alcohol, and host family problems - no details).
  • The Students' Survey adds another dimension ofinfonnation. It delivers quantifiable information on the quality of exchanges allowing us to enter into Quality Management in RIYE with a better chance for success.
  • Most of the written additional details in their reports could not be included in this gross average report.

    However, those important details are available to every district doing this Students' Survey themselves.


SUPPORT BY ROTARY CLUBS: There is much room for improvement in a number of points of their responsibilities, HOST PARENTS: are seen from two different angles: in general (66%) their support and care are highly appreciated. From those students who experience problems (some 25%) more than half of them (or some I 2% of all students) see the origin for them in their Host Family. Written comments tell stories on relationships.


1.FIVE MAJOR QUESTIONS to all students


Inbounds and Outbounds (Questions Q 9, Q 10, Q 13-16, Q 17, Q 18)

The PERCENTAGE FIGURES indicate the students’ degree of satisfaction to our questions: 1 % is the lowest positive rating, 100 % indicates complete satisfaction.


  • Average information of reports is not much help for individual districts because of the enormous spread between best and worst districts (see graph)!
  • Districts need to do a survey of their own to get to know where they stand.
  • Best districts that are evaluated very favorably (with 80% and above, green columns) and others with very low performances (23% for “Club Support” and 12 % for “School Experience”, blue columns)
  • On average STUDENTS
    appreciate highly the VALUE OF THE EXCHANGE, indicating good personal attitude and preparation of students
    - are also very contented with their HOST PARENTS
    - are not very satisfied with the CLUB SUPPORT (down to 23%!)
    have difficulties in SCHOOL (details show that students with higher language starting skills of their host language are also doing much better in school) the RELATIONSHIP WITH SPONSORS and PEOPLE BACK HOME is halfway.

Assessments for “CLUB SUPPORT” and “SCHOOL Performance” are rather low 
We have a detailed look at the first topic “CLUB SUPPORT”; it is our own “home yard”.


Most AVERAGE RESULTS are below 60%! (average 46%), NON SATISFACTORY,  (Highest score: “I received my monthly allowance on time”!). The lowest results (blue columns) need DEFINITE IMPROVEMENT! Some results are extremely low:

I was included in Club activities  1%
I had regular contacts with Rotarians  6%
Sufficient support by Counselor & YEO  8%
Assistance in improving language skills  0%
Relationship with the counselor  4% *
Assistance by the district YEO 11%
My host parents WANTED to host me 14%! (only)

* only 44 % of students meet their counselor at least once per month

On average only 49% (with a span from 14% to 84%) of all students reported that their host arents were hosting voluntarily!!   In other words: on average 51% of them (16% up to 86% in different districts) were with host parents who were in some form PRESSURIZED TO HOST. Most of them perform well; some 13 % of them do not! (see: II Second part of survey)

Consequently it is not surprising to read in the written reports of students on their Host Parents expressions like: “I was ignored, ridiculed; they were running me down, made a fool of me, did not want me, yelling at me; there was no family togetherness, no communication; they made me think of returning early, ruined my exchange, …”

Even if the number of those host parents is “only” around 13 % of all host parents we have to prevent to send students to parents who are not willing or not capable to host!

2.Additional Questions

Answers of 509 Students, some with significance

  Did you suffer from Homesickness? 194   44%!
  Were there any Deaths, serious illnesses in Family at home?  89   20%!
  Did you suffer from pre-existing Health Conditions 41   9%
  Any other problems 41   9%
  Did you suffer from a serious Illness 29   7%
  Did you return early for qualifyig Exams 32   7%
Q 20 Was there any kind of Sexual Harassment to you? 303 9 3%!
Q 21 Did you consider an Early Return during your exchange? 436 106 24%!
Q 22 Did you return early on your own free will? 399 28 24%!
Q 23 Were you sent home by Host Club? 421 6 1,5%


1)Q 26  THE ORIGIN OF PROBLEMS  (Reports up to December 2012)

  Stud. answers  
Total 148  
Host Family 81 55%!
Homesicknes 48 32%
Host School 46 31%
Other 31 21%
Adaption Problems >28 19%
My own Attitude >27 18%
Rotary Club 20 14%
People back home 21 14%
Club Counselor 17 11%
Boy/Girlfriend back home 9 6%
Pressure from natural Parents 5 3%
Political Unrest 5 3%
Natural Desaster 3 2%


The main source of problems originates in the Host Family! (55%)Accepting responsibility themselves with 19% or 18% for “Adaption problems” or “My own attitude” indicates HONESTY IN REPORTING


  Stud. answers  
Total 208  
Talk with other Inbounds 108 52%
Host Family 95 46%
People back home 73 35%
Nobody 42 20%
Club Counselor 36 17%
Rotary Club 28 13%
Other 27 13%
Host School 24 12%


  Stud. answers  
Total 198  
Very much 123 62%
Somewhat 51 26%
Not at all 18 9%


  Stud. answers  
Total 172  
Talk with other Exchange Students 110 64%
Get a new Host Family 66 38%
Talk with Family and Friends back Home 46 27%
Other 45 26%
Talk with my Counselor 43 25%
Meet with School Officials 6 3%


  • The importance of friendship with other Exchange Students!
  • The hope for improvement in a new/different Host Family
  • Expectation of help from Club/Counselor is not very high; let alone from school officials
    (not really to be expected).(44% of students met their counselor LESS THAN ONCE IN A MONTH!)

Dear Youth Exchange Officer, this report gives you information about what is going on in Youth Exchange   worldwide. Like scrolling thru a magazine it tells us about enormous differences of conditions in different districts and satisfies our curiosity. And we all would like to have conditions like the green graphs prevailing in our own districts.

However, the only way to get to know where we really stand is to put the magazine aside and do the survey with your own exchange students!” You find it under

The final report will be supplied to you under strict confidentiality. Individual districts’ results will never be disclosed publicly.

Erwin Zeller
Jan. 23 / April 15, 2013

for the working group (with Dennis White, Peter Golombek and Norm Samuelson)

Rotary Youth Exchange
Working group on Exchange Students' Survey, Chair
Appointed by the RIYE Committee

D 1910 - EEMA President 2010-12