Five Tauranga families are preparing to shed their share of tears as they farewell their teenagers in January.

The five high school students have been selected to take part in the year-long Rotary Youth Exchange Programme.

Georgia Healy, 16, has been furiously learning German since she found out her home next year would be in Willich, Germany.

"It's a little rough at the moment," she said. "I'm excited but I'm nervous at the same time."


The Otumoetai College student will complete her final year of school in Germany and stay with three different host families during the year she is there.

Georgia said she was excited to be accepted for the programme in Germany as it was her first choice of places to go.

"I definitely wanted to go to Europe. I know some [German] people and they told me a lot about their country," she said. "I'm looking forward to learning about the culture over there because it's going to be completely different to New Zealand different traditions."

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby yesterday presented the two Bethlehem College and three Otumoetai College students with letters of introduction to hand on to the mayor in the city they are going to and a DVD from Tourism Bay of Plenty.

"It's going to be a wonderful experience for you and you will be all the better for it when you come home," he said.

Rotary district governor Roger Miller said it was unusual but exciting for five of the 14 students from the central North Island district to be from one city. They would be among 8000 students from around the world taking part in a Rotary exchange next year, he said.

"These students who go away fairly quiet students at this stage, they don't really say a lot when you get them up to speak, but in 12 months' time I don't think we'll be able to shut them up."