New Member FAQs
1. What is a home stay? Or home hospitality? Home hospitality is the signature program of Friendship Force. This means that, on most journeys, 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.
2. What are the responsibilities of a “home host?” A home host invites his/her guest to be a part of the family for the time the journey is in Lincoln. Involve your guest in the activities of your family. Participate in all official functions that are planned and attend all scheduled workshops. If you have an obligation during the journey that is of such a nature that you are unable to take your guest, inform the Host Coordinator and a “day host” will be arranged to accompany/entertain your guest on your busy day.
3. What can I expect when I am “home hosted” by an individual or family? You become a part of the family during your stay. The host club will have planned a number of activities for the entire group with a few “free days”. On these “free days” you and your host might visit areas in which you have a mutual interest as well as time spent with your host’s family and friends. Often this involves dessert or meals with neighbors, family celebrations & special outings.
4. Since I am a single woman, would I be matched with another woman? It depends, but it is your decision. Frequently, the number of bedrooms and type of bed(s) available play a part in matching hosts and ambassadors (guests) as do interests & occupations.
5. Will I have the opportunity to communicate with my host or guest prior to his/her arrival? Usually that is the case. It is amazing how many foreign guests and hosts have email or whatsupp. Important: As soon as possible, contact your host/ambassador by email, letter, or phone. For many, friendships, communications, & private visits continue for years and even a lifetime.
6. What is a Day Host? A club member who is not home hosting, but one who takes a home host’s ambassadors for a days activities. The Day Host provides vital assistance to home hosts who work or have a previous commitment during one or more days, and are unable to participate in the journey events.
7. What Is a Small Group Dinner? A small, informal at-home dinner party for one or two ambassadors plus their home hosts. The dinner is hosted at his/her own expense by a club member who is not home-hosting during the current journey. The ambassador and home hosts will be assigned to a specific home. The dinner hosts tells the committee the number of people she can accommodate. The menu is your choice and you may ask any non-hosting invited guests to bring a salad, dessert, appetizer, or wine. It is entirely up to you. The whole idea is to share the guest and give them the opportunity to visit another home in Austin. When space allows, new and potential members are included as guests. Sharing, fun, laughter and conversation are the goals for the evening.
8. Is there a typical itinerary? Each journey 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.
9. Do I have to “apply” to go on a trip? An experienced Friendship Force Ambassador Coordinator leads each journey. They will ask you to fill out an application prior to accepting you as a journey 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.
10. Do you travel as a group? Yes and no; the group usually consists of 15 to 20 individuals, known as “Ambassadors.” Travel arrangements vary from departing Austin as a group to some, or all, of the individuals making their own travel arrangements & meeting a specific location in the host city at a definite time. The latter, provides more flexibility but group travel can contribute to a more rewarding experience.
11. Am I required to host or go on Outbound Journeys if I am a member? There is no requirement by our club for members to host visitors or go on outbound journeys. We hope though, that those joining would want to actively participate in these events, as they are how we can best learn about people in other cultures. If you cannot host or travel, you may still be a day or dinner host or participate in other ways.
12. What are the costs associated with a Journey?
The fees will be identified by the Ambassador Coordinator during the planning information and meetings prior to the trip. It will include a fee to Friendship force International, a small fee to your local club, and a cost identified by the hosting club for activities and meals during the journey. In addition it is expected that you would take your hosts out to dinner during your stay. Transportation costs to the host city is usually not included unless the ambassador coordinator arranges for a group rate.