Bandy-Hefler Exchange Program
Since 1977, the Rotary Club of Southborough as part of Rotary District 7910 have hosted Rotarians between the United Kingdom and the United States (Greater Boston/Metrowest Area) to share what it is like across the pond.
To learn more about the Exchange program, click the button below and watch the video to learn more about this wonderful program opened to Rotarians in District 7910 in Massachusetts and District 1110 and District 1145 in the U.K.
This program has truly a wonderful opportunity to be selected to host and to spend some time learning about the different cultures and Rotarian experiences
Here are some of our Rotarians' experiences shared below.
This was such a wonderful experience that we will host again!
When I joined the Rotary Club of Southborough, I had no idea this fellowship would foster a way for me to make international friends. But, this is exactly what happened when Brian and I volunteered to host a couple under the Bandey-Hefler program. This is a fun-filled exchange between Rotarians near Boston and London.
Penny Hamel and Tom Pinney are the Bandy-Hefler co-chairs for the program. Penny & Tom did a wonderful job having applicants fill out a questionnaire and matching Rotarians who have similar hobbies and interests. We had the good fortune to host Igor and Diana Obrastsoff-Rutinsky. What does hosting involve? Open your home to your guests and take them around to some of your favorite places for a few days.
The adventure begins in mid-September when we met Igor and Diana We then took them to some of our favorite places. Igor and Diana enjoyed the Big E state fair in Springfield, MA, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary.
Igor presented us with a gift of hand painted note cards of a variety of birds. Brian and I are members of the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary in Natick so this was a perfect place to take them to look for birds and enjoy the hiking trails. Igor loves to cook and Diana loves to bake; both things that I like to do. You can imagine we had a lot in common including the exchange of recipes. That said, Igor spent an entire day cooking a specialty Russian salmon dish in puff pastry. So delicious!
Brian and I mentioned to Igor and Diana how much we enjoyed watching Downtown Abbey. Diana and I have been staying in touch through WhatsApp. She said upon returning to the UK, Igor spoke about his Bandey-Hefler experience and already requested that they host us next year. Diana lives near Hierclere Castle where Downtown Abbey was filmed as well as Stonehedge. We would love to visit them in the UK through the Bandey-Hefler program and even if we don't get selected, we would love to go. We have made good friends. And, we encourage Igor and Diana to visit us again so we can take them to see Niagara Falls since that was the one thing they were unable to fit in this trip. We have so much to look forward to on their next visit. We plan to visit Igor and Diana in 2024 and we look forward to them coming back so we can all go to Niagara Falls. They will always be welcome in our home.
Our club has members who have hosted Bandey-Hefler before and have expressed interest in hosting Sweden. Rotarians in District 7910 will host Rotarians from Sweden (provide food & lodging in May 2024) and then in May 2025 Rotarians from District 7910 will go to Sweden where they will host Rotarians from our District.