Rotary Friendship Exchange

The Rotary Friendship Exchange program gives Rotarians and their families the opportunity to experience other cultures firsthand, by participating in reciprocal visits with Rotarians from other countries and their families. Introduced in 1984, this program aims to advance international understanding among Rotarians.

It provides Rotarians with the opportunity to form personal contacts and make long-lasting friendships while exploring different areas of the world.

Types of Exchanges

There are two main types of Friendship Exchanges, the visitor exchange and the team exchange. The number of people or couples participating and the length of stay are flexible in either exchange. However, both are to be determined and agreed upon by the two districts involved. Rotary Friendship Exchanges are expected to be reciprocal.

Visitor exchange

The visitor exchange gives individual Rotarians, who may be accompanied by family members, the opportunity to spend a few days in the home of a Rotarian in another country. The typical visitor exchange ranges from three to seven days.

Team exchange

The team exchange provides the opportunity for several Rotarians or Rotary couples to travel to different communities in a host district for a period of up to one month.

Univocational exchange

A unique aspect to incorporate into either the team or the visitor exchange is the univocational exchange, in which both guest and host Rotarians are of the same profession. A univocational exchange gives the Rotarians involved the opportunity to expand their views on a common interest.

Exchange Participants

Only Rotarians and immediate family members (partner and children) are eligible for the visitor exchange. For the team exchange, only Rotarians and their partners are eligible. For either type of exchange, both districts should agree on the participants in advance.

Friendship Exchange Chair

All Friendship Exchanges are arranged through the district chair, appointed each year by the district governor to oversee all of the Friendship Exchange activity within the district. The recommended minimum term for a district chair is two years.

Funding

Rotary Friendship Exchange is funded entirely by the program participants, and exchanges are carried out at no expense to Rotary International. Generally, guests are responsible for their travel expenses and personal spending (for example, souvenirs, snacks, toiletries, camera film, etc.), while hosts are expected to provide housing, meals, and sightseeing opportunities — the same courtesies that would be extended to a visiting friend.

In establishing the program, the district Friendship Exchange chair may wish to develop a modest funding plan within the district to cover implementation costs. District chairs should expect to cover communication costs, such as mail, fax, and telephone.

Resources:

Learn more in the Rotary Friendship Exchange Handbook.
Find exchange partners through the Rotary Friendship Exchange Matching Board.
Questions? Email us at friendshipexchange@rotary.org