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Frequently Asked Questions

Also see Friendship Force Terminology

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[accordion type=’1′] [accordion_tab title=’Why is Friendship Force travel called an exchange?’]The word exchange comes from our organization’s early history when communities would actually exchange large delegations of citizen ambassadors. In some cases there were several hundred people traveling in each direction. We still use the word exchange to emphasize the cultural exchange that takes place when you become a temporary citizen for a few days, through our home hospitality program. We think this gets you straight to the heart of a country and its people. An “outbound exchange” is when we visit another club. Often an optional tour of the area follows an exchange. An “inbound exchange” occurs when a club visits us.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=”How are exchanges organized?”]Each year, clubs decide where in the world they would like to go to be hosted (outbound exchanges), and when they would be prepared to accept clubs from as ambassadors (inbound exchanges). This information goes to our international office in Atlanta where the staff do their best to match up the chapters. Exchange directors of the chapters pair hosts and ambassadors (trying to match up people of similar ages and interests if possible). Committees of chapter members will work to organize outings and entertainment for the ambassadors. The success of all exchanges depends on both chapters working together. Exchanges may include visits to two or three different chapters (two or three one-week phases.)[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’Are members required to host or go on outbound exchanges?’]There is no requirement for our club for members to host visitors or go on outbound exchanges. We hope though, that those joining would want to actively participate in those events, as they are how we can best learn about people in other cultures. If you cannot host or travel, you can still day host or participate in other ways.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’What is a home stay, or home hospitality?’]Home hospitality is the signature program of Friendship Force. This means that, on most exchanges, you will have the opportunity to be a guest for a few days in someone’s home, where the real power of citizen diplomacy can be experienced. You will learn first-hand the difference between travel as a tourist and the experience of being a temporary citizen.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’Who are the host families?’]Host families are members or friends of Friendship Force in the host community. They are not paid to provide hosting but do so because of their interest in getting to know “citizen ambassadors” from other countries. Your host and their family become your inside guides to the country and its people.There is no better way to explore the world![/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’Is there a typical itinerary?’]Each exchange itinerary is unique, but most will combine a Friendship Force home stay with an active program of taking in the local sites while learning first-hand about the culture by establishing a personal relationship with your hosts.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’Do you travel as a group?’]Yes and no; the group usually consists of 10 to 25 individuals, known as “ambassadors.” Travel arrangements vary from departing the local airport as a group to meeting at a specific location in the host city. The latter provides the most flexibility and could save money for some, but group travel can contribute to a more rewarding experience. The method of travel is a decision made by the exchange director.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’Must I belong to a Friendship Force club to participate in an exchange?’]No. You may apply directly to the leader (exchange director) for any exchange listed in the catalog. (In some cases, your exchange fee will include a one-year membership in the sponsoring club.) If you live in a community where a club exists, you may want to consider joining so you can participate in the ongoing programs that promote global understanding through friendship.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’What do you mean by “apply” to go on a trip?’]Each exchange is led by an experienced Friendship Force exchange director. They will ask you to fill out an application prior to accepting you as an exchange participant. This application process ensures that travelers are physically healthy enough to make the journey and also that they are committed to the Friendship Force mission of bringing people together in friendship across the barriers that separate them.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’I don’t see myself traveling in the next year or so, should I still join?’]Certainly. Friendship Force is not a travel club; there are many other aspects of involvement. The mission of Friendship Force is building global goodwill through personal friendships. This can be accomplished in other ways. You might consider being a home host, a day host, a small group dinner host, or someone who attends social activities to build friendships with others who have an interest in the goals of Friendship Force International.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’What does being a “home host” involve?’]You agree to share your home for typically five to seven days and nights with someone from another country or state. Learn about another culture without leaving home. You will have the opportunity to participate in a number of group/club outings so you won’t have to plan everything for you and your guest. The cost of events, admissions and outside meals for group activities is paid for our visitors using the fees the visitors have paid in advance. But as you would host a friend in your home, you host without compensation for meals at home and transportation in your car. You also will have time to involve your guest in the activities of your family and to visit and share with your guest individually. In advance of the exchange, you might be expected to attend meetings and help make preparations. Although it is encouraged, you needn’t participate in every day’s events. The exchange director can arrange for a “day host” instead.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’How can I participate in an inbound exchange if I work all day?’]You could provide accommodation on a “bed and breakfast” basis and let another chapter member assist you by day hosting. Or you could contribute by inviting a couple of ambassadors to join you for a meal one evening, or just provide some food for the welcome or farewell party. There are many ways to be involved in an exchange.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’Exactly what is a “day host?”’]This individual volunteers to escort an ambassador for one or more days to a scheduled activity or, if it is a day when no group activity is planned, decides (in consultation with the ambassador) how and where to spend the day. Being a day host is a good way to be introduced to how an exchange works before acting as a home host.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’How about a “small group dinner host?”’]These people decide how many guests, in addition to the number in their family, they feel comfortable having for dinner on an evening specified by the exchange director. The menu is their choice and generally they provide the main course and arrange for the invited guests to bring a salad, dessert, appetizer, or wine. It is entirely up to them. The evening is for them to plan, whether to play a game or just visit. The whole idea is to share the culture of your guest and give them the opportunity to visit another home and meet others. When space allows, members, new and potential new members are included as guests. Of course, the guest’s host family accompanies them to your dinner, sharing, fun, laughter, and conversation are the goals for the evening.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’How are single travelers and home hosts matched?’]While couples will normally be matched with another couple, singles possibly will be hosted by a couple or a single. There are exceptions, but it is your decision. Frequently, the number of bedrooms and type of bed(s) available play a part in matching hosts and ambassadors. Often, (guests) are matched by common interests and occupations. Also, traveling as a single is easier when you are with a group and a family; you are not alone.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’Will I have the opportunity to communicate with my host or guest prior to his/her arrival?’]Usually that is the case. As soon as possible, contact your host/ambassador by e-mail, letter, or phone. For many, friendships, communications, and private visits continue for years and even a lifetime.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’Does it matter if I cannot speak a foreign language?’]No, not at all. If you can smile, mime and point, you’re going to do just fine. Even mundane events can sometimes become hilarious that way. Remember that everyone in The Friendship Force is a member because they WANT to communicate and learn. They will be trying as hard as you. Learning just a few words in the host’s or ambassador’s language will guarantee a delighted smile, no matter how badly pronounced. You can also get voice translation programs for smartphones to help you out.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’What are Friendship Force members really like?’]They are ordinary people of all ages who like to do something rather special. We have no religious or political associations, just a desire to learn more about other people in other places and be friends with them, no matter what their creed color or background.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’Do I have to be wealthy to join Friendship Force?’]Absolutely not. When Friendship Force members travel to another club, they do so to meet the people and learn, not judge how they live. A Friendship Force exchange will cost you a little less than a package tour to the same location — the difference is that you will go home with so much more.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’What does it cost to join The Friendship Force?’]Current annual subscription for FF New Mexico is $30 per person.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’What should I expect financially when I go on an outbound exchange?’]On an outbound exchange, we pay for our own transportation to and from the host country and a fee to Friendship Force International for the exchange; some of that fee is paid to the hosting club to entertain us. If there is a tour following the exchange, you would pay the cost of the tour if you choose to go.[/accordion_tab] [accordion_tab title=’In addition to exchanges set up by FFNM, are there other ways for me to travel with the organization?’]Yes. You may travel with another club from this country if they have room for you. There are humanitarian and discovery trips that include people from several countries in which the ambassadors travel somewhere and stay mostly in hotels but meet people from that country to interest them in forming Friendship Force clubs. Several festivals are held each year in different parts of the world where all are welcome to come to stay in a hotel but meet people from the area. Home stays may or may not be offered after the festival. Regional and international conferences are held each year, with limited spots available.[/accordion_tab] [/accordion]