Welcome to Rotary Club of Rajkot Midtown
Welcome to Rotary Club of Rajkot Midtown
Welcome to Rotary Club of Rajkot Midtown
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  Rotary Club of Rajkot Midtown  
                                      ROTARY FRIENDSHIP EXCHANGE
  DISTRICT 3060  
                                          SO, YOU’RE HOSTING AN RFE!    
Good news and a great opportunity for your Club, and for you personally, to experience international friendship through Rotary Friendship Exchange within the global family of Rotary. A rewarding experience is assured, through your role as a Club-host or a home-host of visiting Rotarians and their partners.

The aim of the Rotary Friendship Exchange is to extend international friendship and understanding through the Rotary experience of meeting with overseas Rotarians, one-on-one, to exchange information, ideas, hospitality, lifestyle and cultural experiences.

  What is the Role of a Host Club ?  
The role of a host club is to develop an interesting and varied program of activities for the visitors giving them an insight into our Bharatiya lifestyle, club activities, Rotary projects and features of the community they visit. It is important that as many club members as possible are engaged in the exchange – not just those that home-host the visitors.

One of the opportunities for club members and their partners to become involved in the visit is by acting as escorts and companions during the daytime activities arranged by the club. This releases home-host families from full-time involvement with their guests. Additionally, it also allows the visitors to interface closely with a few other Rotarians and their partners widening the scope for personal friendship and experience.

Although your club is responsible for developing and conducting the program locally, the opportunity for home hosting can be shared among a number of local clubs where this is practical. This also applies to escorts and companion activities in the local area and in transit.

Ideally, where multiple clubs exists in close proximity, the visit program should actively engage Rotarians from these clubs, to also reinforce bonds between the clubs and Rotarians locally in a spirit of friendship. This also lets the visiting team meet and interface with more Rotarians and permits greater interaction between local Rotarians as an outcome from the RFE visit. For instance, there might be a combined meeting or social function involving partners, or a sightseeing rally and fire night or picnic, or a cultural visit or event, perhaps a trip to an art gallery or museum or to a handicraft market.

When transiting the District, arrangements can be made between clubs along the route to provide hospitality during journey breaks. This could include hosting a lunch, afternoon tea or showing a special local feature the visitors might otherwise miss.

  Home Hosting?  
Home hosting is an essential element of the RFE program. It is certainly not included to save accommodation expenses for the visitors, but rather, to let them experience first hand the real
Bharatiya lifestyle.

We can do this simply by letting our visitors share for a short time in our day-to-day home life, to meet with our families and to get an understanding of just what makes Indians tick.

There is no requirement to go over the top and the best guideline is to treat our guests in our home the same ways we would wish to be treated in theirs. So the bottom line is, make them welcome as part of the family.

During their stay they might well appreciate a little time and privacy to themselves and access to the washing machine etc to do those little chores that can often be so difficult when travelling. They might enjoy just sitting down for a chat, or participating in some of your activities at home or going out for a bit of shopping or a stroll.

  Who’s who?  
You will be provided with a profile on your guests in advance of their visit so you will have a good idea about their likes and their dislikes or whether a particular food disagrees with them. Meals don’t need to be lavish and they will appreciate simple home-style meals that we enjoy in our everyday life. They don’t need to have “truly” Bharatiya food at every mealtime, but rather, just what your family might usually eat – having roasted paneer, three veg and gravy (Dal) every night for two weeks can be a bit boring, even though cooked to perfection. Maybe ask them if there is any particular food they would like as a change from what they have had elsewhere. Pl do Not hesitate to say NO to Non vegetarian food if you are strict vegetarian.
  Communications . . . .  
The visitors might appreciate access to an email to maintain contact with back home, so if you have this facility you might invite them to use it. On the other hand, if you don’t, perhaps you can arrange access through a friend or colleague.
  Avoiding controversy . . . . .  
You should avoid raising or engaging in controversial topics of conversation or criticising their country’s policies. Such matters will undoubtedly cause discomfort and unease in the visitor. Remember, they don’t create international policy and have little say in its implementation. RFE’s are about creating friendships, not issues!
  What’s in it for them?  
The visitors will be interested in experiencing the fabric of our society so an insight into local industries, places of interest, flora and fauna, social programs and area events are all good to build into a visit – even a visit to a local school or some time for a walk through a park or a shopping centre.

As they say ‘variety is the spice of life’ so a varied and interesting program should be the target. Although as hosts we need to provide accommodation and meals, the visitors will be quite amenable to meeting their out of pocket expenses and such things as entry fees – so don’t leave something off the program just because there is a cost involved.

It is worth remembering that some visitors may have special interests or requirements, so arrangements for them to pursue these outside the set program might need to be considered an arranged. However, this should not become the focus of their visit and they should be encouraged to share in the group activities as much as possible.

An RFE should not become an ordeal for visitors so the visit should not be conducted at a frenetic pace. Adequate rest periods and free time should be factored in to the club arrangements. Where a visitor is finding they need a rest they should be released from the activities of the program until they are fit and ready to participate again.

  The Friendship Business. . . .  
Rotary Friendship Exchanges are a great way to publicise Rotary and the international scope of our organisation. Accordingly, we should get as much Public Relations benefit as possible from the RFE visit.

Setting up a special formal welcome by your mayor or other local dignitary, meetings with the beneficiaries of local Rotary programs, a visit to a school with a short presentation by the visit team, or a meeting with a local character, are all great media opportunities. These can be rewarding and memorable for the visitors also.

A media release about the Friendship Exchange and the visitors will generally in itself, assure media coverage. A news item, radio mention or television feature is a powerful way to bring the international face of Rotary into focus within the local community. This can be good for Rotary business and good for your Club particularly membership.

Souvenirs . . . . . . .
The visitors will probably want some mementos of their visit to your community, so some time at your Visitors Centre and stops at photo opportunity points are worth remembering.

Remember that the commonplace to us might be a unique experience for the visitor, so a visit to a shearing shed, a well or Bullock cart / ambassador Car or a club project might well be worth including. Even a look through display homes is worth considering.

  Gifts . . . . . .  
Personal gifts are a feature of RFEs and it is customary for visitors to leave a small gift for their hosts. This is not expected to have any great monetary value but rather is extended as a gesture of appreciation. Hosts might wish to reciprocate with a small memento, but this is not essential. Remember too that heavy books or large articles are difficult for travellers and international flight luggage restrictions.
  RFE is a two-way street . . . .  
Most RFE teams will wish to have an opportunity to tell local Rotarians about their clubs and activities, even if a Rotary meeting is not on the agenda. Somewhere within the program the visitors should be invited to share their information and to make banner exchanges with the Rotary clubs they have been involved with locally.
  Involving others . . . . . .  
Where an Exchange student is being hosted locally, they should be involved in some way with the visitors even if they are not from the same country. The exchange student should be given an opportunity to brief the visitors on the experience of an exchange from their perspective and what the highlights of the exchange to India have been. There might be people locally that come from the same country as the visitors, perhaps try to involve them in the RFE activities also.
  Getting the visitors between hosts?  
Wherever possible it is nice for the hosts to transport their guests half way between stops. Maybe a morning tea stop can be incorporated at some interesting spot. Maybe a Rotary Club located at the change over point may like to be involved. This will widen the interaction between Rotarians from our District and our guests.

If this is not possible the guests may have to provide their own transport. If at all possible it is a good practice for host clubs to provide a pilot or escort to accompany the visitors to the next hosting point on their itinerary. This can be a great day for someone from the club that has some spare time or is retired, to spend with the RFE team while transiting between hosting points. This is not essential, but is certainly a nice thing to do if you can, something that will be greatly appreciated by the visitors – it takes some of the uncertainty out of the trip, especially when you are travelling on the wrong side of the road and have no idea of where you’re going or who you are going to meet- if you get there!!

If you can make sure that the visitors have a sound understanding of their travel routes, meeting point and who will be meeting them and at what time, this will help them greatly. Give them a “mud-map” and also the phone numbers of key contacts.

  Many thanks . . . . .  
Your support for the RFE program as a Club and as individuals is a very important demonstration of international friendship. It helps to gain international understanding, not only of Rotary, but also other cultures and lifestyles.

Through this program you have the opportunity to showcase your country, your district, your club and yourself. I am sure you will be keen to make a positive and lasting impression on our guests and above all, one of friendship. Good luck with your hosting and I do hope that it is a mutually beneficial experience. Lets hope that you too will think about representing your District on an international Rotary Friendship Exchange. Remember its not like GSE, any Rotarian can get to go and also to take their partner (preferably Wife!!!).

  Many thanks in advance for your participation as hosts,  
  Yours in Rotary,  
  Deepak Agrawal
District Chair R.I. D3060
Rotary Friendship Exchange
Rotary Club of Rajkot Midtown
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