TWO Wells residents recently welcomed international visitors from the United States as apart of a program that gives members opportunities to explore new countries and cultures.
Friendship Force Salisbury and Northern Districts is a club that provides members with chances to be hosted and connect with other Friendship Force clubs worldwide for one week.
President Glenys Middleton, who lives at Lewiston, was one of the seven local hosts who recently had guests stay from Dubuque, Iowa and Flathead Valley, Montana, USA.
Mrs Middleton held a Melbourne Cup luncheon for the 18 visitors to the district and said it was a great success.
“They were shocked at the experience of the Melbourne Cup but it was an excellent day,” Mrs Middleton said.
“This was their first experience at such a horse race and running of sweeps was foreign to them, they don’t have anything like that back at home.”
Friendship Force works clubs decide where they would like to travel and then contact clubs in their designated country to host 10-20 people in their homes for one week.
As well as the luncheon, the group visited Virginia Nursery, the D’VineRipe Glasshouses as well as local tourist jaunts such as the whispering wall.
“To see the kangaroos and have a photo with a koala was a highlight (for them),” Mrs Middleton said.
Mrs Middleton travelled to Cape Town, South Africa earlier this year, and has also visited Japan, Russia and Brazil since joining the club in 1997.
“We’re off to Germany next year to stay with a club and then onto England with another,” she said.
“It is breaking barriers that countries separate us by.”
Mrs Middleton said the experience has been amazing.
“I have made great friendships out of it and you see different culture and the country properly,” she said.
“Because we are in their homes, we experience everything; for example, what they have for breakfast, so we really experience the culture properly rather than staying in a hotel.”
Mrs Middleton has been club president for five years and said it is open to everyone, including families.
“They (Friendship Force) are trying to set up for the next generation so families could be involved,” she said.
There are about 360 clubs worldwide and 25 in Australia.
Anyone who enjoys travelling or is interested in hosting overseas visitors should contact Mrs Middleton on 8520 2675.