We love to share stories about our Friendship Force experiences! Here are some anecdotes from our members about exchanges in other countries, and visitors here at home.

A Return Visit

Three years ago (May, 2010), our FFNI chapter hosted Friendship Force Ambassadors from Kalispell, Montana. I had the good fortune to host Patty Sevier, a delightful lady who enjoyed a week here in the 'burbs'. We had a great time, tooling around the area, seeing the Botanic Garden and Chicago sights in Millennium Park such as Cloud Gate ("the Bean"), the unique fountains, the music pavilion, and on and on. More

A New Look at the United States

Our exchange to Cedar Rapids/Iowa City was a domestic exchange - within the United States. But for Taiwan-born Sheila Liao, it was a chance to experience a different aspect of America. Click here to read her story.


Chance Meeting in Cappadocia, Turkey

Click here to see a fantastic picture, and read about how two women from different countries became friends and met by chance in a third country. A story of the true meaning of Friendship Force!


Americans and the Thai Artists' Colony

When we met our host family in Chiang Mai, Thailand, our host told us that many of the Friendship Force of Chiang Mai members were professionals, e.g., doctors, professors.

But he was just a painter. Well, it turned out that he was a famous painter. His current project was a portrait of the king and queen of Thailand. More


International Conversation Conundrums

Participation in discussions around the table after a meal, when there is no rush to go somewhere, is my favorite time in any exchange. Sharing ideas and ideals is the best way to learn about other cultures. It soon makes one realize that all humans have the same problems. However, we have arrived at different solutions which conform to our own culture. This realization makes it easier for hosts and guests to understand each other’s culture and to become friends. More


Memories From Japan

Our Japanese home-host was a live-wire! He directed, he commanded, he orchestrated – all with side-splitting humor.

With a quizzical look, he would grab his little pocket dictionary; zip rapidly through it and gleefully shout, A-HA! when he found the right word. More

Window to the World

Over the years the Friendship Force has provided me with a wonderful WINDOW TO THE WORLD...

Sleeping in a tent at a refugee camp, under the brilliant starry Algerian desert sky, sipping tea and having camel for dinner - Where can you get that on a tour? More


First Trip

It was a dream come true! My first trip with Friendship Force.

Where did I (we) go? Japan, with some beautiful experiences. I was so pleasantly surprised at the welcome we received by our hosts in Tokyo, Matsuyama (near Hiroshima), and Osaka. We were immediately immersed in the families and cultures of the country. More



True Friendship

In 1992 my wife Marilyn and I were visiting friends in Ottawa, Canada where we attended a crafts show. At this show Marilyn bought an interesting brooch made from a postage stamp mounted on a polished piece of thin copper plate and then protected by a coating of polyurethane.

When we got back home to Lake Forest, Illinois Marilyn challenged me to make an even better brooch. My first ones were made from a stamp commemorating the Chinese new year which I made ten of to give to our guests at a New Year’s party we held. I continued to make them to give to relatives, friends and acquaintances.


A Trip Well Enjoyed

What an adventure we had on a trip with Friendship Force Northern Illinois in 2009--to New Zealand and Australia!

After many hours of flying, we landed on the north island of New Zealand, boarded a smaller plane to the beautiful south island, and started our first leg of this adventure. We took a week to view mountains, glaciers, rain forests, sheep and deer farms, waterfalls and lakes. More



Of Christmas and Kookaburras

I just received my first Christmas card from abroad. It was from treasured friends, Allan and Jeanie Cupitt, from the Blue Mountains, Australia.

I first met them when their club, Friendship Force Blue Mountains, came to visit us at Friendship Force Northern Illinois in 2008. It was love at first sight--they liked us and we liked them--instantaneously! More


Living Life Fully

When FFNI visited Rotorua, New Zealand, there was a shortage of home hosts. So our hosts Kathy and Ralph Dixon graciously agreed to host 4 ambassadors instead of the usual two. Their very comfortable ranch is located in a beautiful setting at the bend in a river. Their home has 3 small bedrooms and 1 and ½ baths and a large dining room and family room overlooking the river where kayakers and canoeists could be seen early in the morning trolling for trout. Kathy gave us a tour of her lovely garden and many beautiful potted orchids that she tends. More


Two Teachers

Maria surprised me with her ability to speak excellent English—until I discovered that she had been an English professor in Rio de Janeiro and São Carlos, Brazil.

We quickly found other traits in common, including the fact that we had both been language teachers (though different languages.) More


High Tech Fire Hydrants?

A Friendship Force guest from San Antonio was commenting on the high tech fire hydrants he observed in Lake Bluff and Lake Forest. He was very tech savvy, having helped solve several of our members’ computer problems. But we were very surprised to learn that he thought our fire hydrants had any special technology. More