Rotary Friendship Exchange (RFE)

2018 Exchange


        USA (New England) – District 7850


This District covers the states of Vermont and New Hampshire in the USA and a section of Southern Quebec Province, Canada. The dates are now set for District 7850 to host 1070 in the North east USA during the “ fall leaf season” October 6th to 20th 2018 and after 1070 hosted 7850 Rotarians May 19th to June 2nd 2018.  The visit will be to New Hampshire and Vermont. The results from the first half of this exchange are described below:

Rotarian Friendship Exchange Visit summer 2018: A group of twelve visitors from the USA east coast states of Vermont and New Hampshire (District 7850) visited District 1070 from mid May to early June as part of an International Rotary Friendship Exchange. The Exchange programme gives Rotarians and their families the opportunity to experience other cultures first-hand, by participating in reciprocal visits with Rotarians and their families from other countries. This programme aims to advance international understanding and provides Rotarians with the opportunity to make long lasting friendships while exploring different areas of the world. There have been exchanges between our District and New Zealand, Brazil, Australia, India, Canada and Sweden over the past ten years or so.

This particular Exchange (see photos above) involved eleven clubs across the District who worked closely together on this project. Visiting Rotarians and their partners stayed with forty six hosts during their two week exchange. Our visitors travelled as far east as the Sandringham Estate (just outside our District) and as far west as the Battle of Bosworth Field over the two weeks. In between there were visits to castles, museums, Cambridge and much more. District Governor Chis Davies took part in the local events as did the presidents of many of our clubs and Joel Weaver International team, leader of District 1070.

We were impressed with District 7850’s commitment to Rotary Foundation and interestingly their Charitable work within the USA particularly in tackling the opioid crisis in their states. In October thirteen of us from across the District will be visiting District 7850 to experience the famous “Fall” leaf season, the local sites of Vermont and New Hampshire as well as learning much more about the work that the clubs there do to help struggling people in the USA and around the world. We will be presenting the many projects undertaken by District 1070 to them. The exchange programme is open to all District 1070 Rotarians who can apply to be part of forthcoming exchanges.

Already the plans have started for an exchange with South Africa and Namibia and Chile in the coming years. My sincere thanks go to all the hosts and the RFE team from across the district.

Rtn. Ian Clarkson – District 1070 RFE leader

Other exchanges being considered (still in the planning stage):

South Africa: The exchange will cover a territory from the Cape of Good Hope to Angola. We will focus on South Africa for the exchange because of the large geographical area involved; however, contacts in the Rotary clubs in South Africa could be useful for private visits to Namibia as a possibility for part of the two week exchange.

Even more exchanges are in the early stages of planning: Chile, South America, and Croatia

If you have any questions, please contact the RFE lead organiser (information just below…)

Rotary Friendship Exchange Lead Organiser: Ian Clarkson (Market Harborough)

Background Information on RFE:

The Rotary Friendship Exchange programme gives Rotarians and their families the opportunity to host and visit Rotarians around the world. This chance to experience other cultures and make lasting friendships may also provide opportunities for other international activities and service projects. Friendship exchanges may evolve from individual Rotarian, club or district initiatives. This article relates to district friendship exchanges.

Photograph: Rotary District 1070 Friendship Exchange visitors in Melbourne.Exchanges are arranged by District Organisers who in our district are members of the District International Committee, chaired by Joel Weaver. Districts throughout the world may signal their interest in visiting another district and their willingness to host an incoming team. Visiting teams outbound and inbound normally comprise 6 Rotarian couples or the equivalent, staying in the host district for approximately 2 weeks as the guests of 4 different clubs. Each club involved provides host families for 3 or 4 nights and prepares a varied programme of sight seeing, entertainment and cultural visits etc., sometimes with the cooperation of neighbouring clubs. Information on age, background and interests of participants is communicated in advance and every effort is made to ensure compatibility of host and guests.

District 1070 is one of the most active participants in
Rotary Friendship Exchange within the UK and in recent years successful exchanges have been completed with USA, Canada, Brazil, India, Australia, Sweden and others, and we will be hosting an inbound team from Australia in June An inbound team will not necessarily comprise the same host Rotarians or the same clubs participating in the previous outbound visit, but they will be from the same district if it is a reciprocal visit.

Photograph: Visitors from Sweden are shown around Foxton Locks, Leicestershire.District Rotary Friendship Exchanges are funded entirely by the participant Rotarians. Guests are responsible for their own travelling costs, personal spending and in addition should be prepared for the following possible expenses:-

  • Admission to tourist sights, entertainments, cultural events etc. in the programme prepared.
  • Overnight stays in any hotels that may be required on an itinerary prepared by the host district.
  • Modest gifts for host families.
  • Meals purchased outside hosts’ homes.
  • Transportation between clubs in the host district.

It may be that some of these expenses are borne by host families and/or their Rotary clubs. This will of course influence the planning and budgeting for a reciprocal visit when the guest district becomes the host district. As a result
Rotary Friendship Exchange organisers in many districts choose to develop a modest funding plan to cover costs associated with arranging and hosting an exchange. This is by agreement with, and the responsibility of, the participants. Such a fund is usually held in a ring-fenced account with the District Organisers’ Rotary Club. District does not fund or hold any
Rotary Friendship Exchange account.

Photograph: Rotary District 1070 Friendship Exchange visitors in India.When an exchange has been agreed in principle all clubs in the district are notified, and in District 1070 always have been, to seek host families or outbound team members as appropriate. If this results in more than 6 couples applying for a place on the outbound trip, there will be a draw for places in the team and a reserve list. Teams of more than six couples are not viable. If a Rotarian is lucky enough to win a place on an outbound team then it is a reasonable expectation that his club will provide or arrange hosting for up to six couples on an inbound visit to their area.

Being a host cannot be considered as a method of securing a place on an outbound team. In the event of an exchange being under-subscribed, which has happened on more than one occasion, it may improve chances. However it is a fact that many Rotarians in our district have hosted several times without any aspirations to be on an outbound team. Hosting visiting Rotarians and their spouses/partners and participating in the prepared programs is just as much a part of the Rotary Friendship Exchange spirit as travelling abroad as a guest. It is our hope that more clubs in our district will want to become involved in Rotary Friendship Exchange, maybe more exchanges will increase the opportunities for those who do wish to be guests abroad.

The Rotary International Exchange Handbook contains much useful information and guidelines and can be downloaded from the website . Our District Rotary Friendship Exchange website contains reports on previous exchanges.

Photograph: Old gold mining town - Ballarat Photograph: Paddle steamer on river at Echuca.
Photos above are from past RFE trip to Melbourne, Australia (District 9800).
  • Hanging Rock – subject of famous novel/film “Picnic at Hanging Rock”
  • Old gold mining town – Ballarat.