What is Friendship Force?

Why is travel with the Friendship Force 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.

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.

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!

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.

Must I belong to a Friendship Force club in order 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.

What are Friendship Force clubs?

Friendship Force exchanges are organized through a volunteer network of 350 chapters (clubs) in 58 countries. The clubs are connected globally through Friendship Force International (FFI), a non-profit organization with offices in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

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.

What does it mean to be committed to the FF mission?

FFI has a thirty-year history of bringing people together in friendship across the barriers that separate people. We think of ourselves as ‘citizen ambassadors’, each of us having the power to promote good relations at a personal level.