Rotary Friendship Exchange (RFE) has been a program of Rotary International since 1988 that promotes goodwill, peace, and understanding by bring Rotarians from different parts of the world together through exchanges between Rotary districts in different parts of the world. But it is not only Rotarians who can benefit from this program as it includes family members of Rotarians and can also include friends of Rotarian.
How it Works
Most RFEs are culturally oriented exchanges where two districts from different parts of the world send teams, typically made up of up to five or six couples, to the other district.
The team members are hosted by Rotarians of their partner district and stay in the homes of Rotarians. Their stay in the other district is planned by their hosts. The exchanges are variable in length from 10 to 15 days.
The sites toured are quite variable and can include industrial tours, natural scenic areas, and cultural or historic sites. Did I mention shopping opportunities? We cannot forget those!!! These trips are more than just a vacation! These trips are an opportunity to see another country through the eyes of the people who live in the country visited.
Hear from a Participant—
The last RFEs that our district participated in were in 2019. I had the opportunity to participate in an exchange to Rotary District 4640 in southern Brazil. My son accompanied me on the trip. We traveled to the city of Foz do Iguaçu were we were visited a park were two rivers came together. Across one river was Argentina and across the other was Paraguay. We spent a day hiking along the Iguazu River on the border between Brazil and Argentina were we witnessed the largest waterfall system in the world, Iguazú Falls. Iguazú comes from a native language meaning “Big Water”. We also toured the Itaipu Dam, a hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River, the second largest dam in the world. While in the dam, we could stand with one foot in Paraguay and on in Brazil. We met visited a number of Rotary clubs along the way, enjoyed local food, and made lasting friends.
Your Opportunity is Here!
Our district has arranged a Rotary Friendship Exchange with Rotary District 3261 in India. District 3261 is in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Orissa in Northeast India. The district has 72 Rotary clubs and you can go on a virtual tour. The trip to India is scheduled for late January/February 2024. The return exchange will take place May/June 2024. Independent travel before or after the exchange can be arranged on an individual basis. Indian Rotarians may be willing to help make arrangements for travel to places of interest, such as the Taj Mahal.