Rotary Friendship Exchange - What's involved

What's involved for a member, either hosting or travelling

After some 20+ years of inactivity on the RFE front within D1020, in June 2017 we restarted our exchange programme.  To date, we have had exchange visitors from D3141 Mumbai, India (and a great return visit by a D1020 team) and visiting teams from D5520 Texas/New Mexico, USA and D9800 Melbourne, Australia.  We are still to make return team visits to these two Districts.  In June 2019, we will welcome an exchange team from D5610 Dakota/Minnesota/Iowa/Nebraska, USA and a team from D1020 will travel to D5610 in August 2019.  Our RFE experiences to date have been superb.  The purpose of this article is to provide those interested in hosting or travelling with a brief overview of what is involved in a RFE.

RFE provides Rotarians and partners the opportunity to visit other Rotarians at much reduced costs as accommodation and many meals are covered by hosts.  Local Rotarians ensure a programme of visits and experiences that normal tourists would never encounter.  New friendships are forged that will last a lifetime. 


Visitors are expected to cover costs of flights, meals outside of homes and travel/entry to places of interest.  Hosts provide accommodation, breakfasts and some evening meals.  Hosts also normally take guests to their own, and sometimes other Rotary Clubs. 

D1020 hosts have come from all parts of our District so please do not feel this only applies to those who stay in and around Edinburgh.  Feedback from guests has told us that there is more than enough in the furthest parts of D1020 to keep them fully engaged and extremely happy!  The District provides a range of ideas for guests to visit and do. 

Hosts are not required to take guests to places but if they are able to do this then this is much appreciated.  Often guests will team up with fellow guests to travel together or with other hosts.  Guests are adults, not students, and are well-versed in finding their own way around by local transport if necessary.  Other than the initial meeting in a hotel (which District covers costs of) and the hand-over lunch (where everyone pays their own way), District does not set out a required programme or require the entire party to meet up again together – this approach has been found to work very well.

A standard RFE normally lasts for 2 weeks.  A host is asked to provide a week’s accommodation for a single or couple of Rotarians.  On occasions, a local Rotarian will offer to provide accommodation for two weeks and/or for more than one single/couple if they have the space.  Ideally, we like to move guests after a week to another host, often in another part of the District.  On Day 1, all hosts and guests usually meet up around 10.30 am at a hotel (usually on outskirts of Edinburgh with ample parking) to introduce each other, learn about our Districts etc before moving off to host family locations.  At the end of week 1, we bring all hosts and visitors together for a lunch in another hotel (usually just outside Peebles) and a hand-over to new host families. 

Interested in Hosting or Travelling?:

Please contact PDG Alistair Marquis, D1020’s RFE Coordinator for more info via – you will never regret getting involved!

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