Frequently Asked Questions

Don’t see your question here? Reach out to contact@friendshipleague.org and we will help you out.

Who can participate in the Friendship League?

Short answer – everybone who wants to use their vacation to make friends through a shared passion or sport. We don’t exclude anybody based on factors such as gender, ethnicity, age, nationality, sexual orientation, sporting background or ability. However, there are a few things to note:

  • Friendship-Leaguers under the age of 18 will need to be accompanied by an adult.
  • Some countries do place restrictions on who can enter, this is out of our control. If a country won’t let you in, we can’t change that.
  • In some situations, the host program may require a minimum skill level due to safety concerns. These situations are rare and will be clearly indicated on promo material. For the vast majority of our events it makes no difference to us whether you’re a pro or a rookie.
  • Unless it’s stated otherwise in an events promo material, we do not provide equipment. Therefore, if the sport or passion has a standard set of equipment, you will need to own/rent this equipment in order to participate.

Do you provide travel insurance?

No, all participants are required to have their own insurance that includes coverage for the sport or passion in question. If your normal provider won’t provide coverage let us know and we can give you some recommendations.

Are flights included?

No, as our participants come from all around the world, it’s not possible for us to include international flights in our packages. Some tours may include certain domestic flights, but it is always the participants’ responsibility to get themselves to the tours starting point.

What about visas?

This changes depending on the destination so we recommend that you reach out to contact@friendshipleague.org if you have any questions. For most destinations we do not provide visa assistance and it is the participants’ responsibility to obtain a visa. We do not provide refunds on the basis of rejected visas unless otherwise in accordance with our refund policy.

Can I sign up as an individual?

Yes! That’s the beauty of the Friendship League. You don’t need to play on a team or have a group of fellow enthusiasts with you to join in on a Friendship League event. Just sign up and we will put you on a team with other like-minded adventurers who share your passion. Many of our keenest Friendship-Leaguers first joined as individuals and became friends with other players on the trips. Now they travel together!

Do you run private trips for full teams or groups?

Yes! We run private trips to all of our destinations, although there may be requirements for a minimum group size depending on the sport/destination. If we don’t currently run tours to the destination you had in mind, that doesn’t mean we can’t make it happen. We’re confident that we can arrange a mind-blowing exchange in literally any country on the planet. If you’re up for the adventure, we’re up for making it happen! Reach out to contact@friendshipleague.org and let’s start planning!

How much free time and flexibility is there on your tours?

This largely depends on the country we’re visiting. We usually keep our tours quite busy so that people can make the most of their time in-country. That being said, we also try to provide some participant free time during the day so that Friendship-Leaguers can relax or visit sites of personal interest that were not on the itinerary. It is worth noting that while we encourage participants to join for the full itinerary, we understand that travel can be tiring. All activities are optional if you need to rest up at the hotel.

Is it possible to get discounts?

Yes! There are several ways to reduce the cost of your trip:

  • Early-bird discounts – each event will have its own version of an early-bird discount. This is typically offered to all participants who register before a pre-determined date. Information about early-bird discounts can be found in the events promo materials.
  • Referrals – each event will also have its own referral system. So if you think that some of your friends/family/coworkers/teammates might be interested, make sure you inquire about the events referral system. A lot of Friendship-Leaguers have earned themselves free trips by helping us spread the word!
  • Social media – follow us on social media for details about contests and other ways to win additional trip discounts!

Are you a business or a charity?

We consider ourselves to be a social enterprise. To us, that means that we’re neither a charity nor a business, but rather something in between. We’re motivated solely by the impact we have as an organization. But we also feel that charities are not always the ideal vehicle for creating change as they are often dependant on donations and grants. We’re not asking you to join us for altruistic reasons; we’re providing an unforgettable adventure tourism service and the chance to leave a lasting legacy.

Are your events co-ed?

Yes! We encourage participants of all genders to participate in our events. In rare situations the event may be divided into a men’s/women’s format as required by local/sport specific regulations. However, whenever possible our events will not be segregated.

Are your events open to the LGBTQ+ individuals?

Absolutely! The Friendship League encourages LGBTQ+ individuals to join us at our events and we will not tolerate any hatred or discrimination from our participants. Some countries in which we operate do have laws that prohibit certain activities, if you are concerned please reach out to us for guidance. If there is anything we can do to make our trips more inclusive we would love to hear your feedback!

Are your events open to people with disabilities?

100%! The Friendship League was founded as a means of engaging the DPR (North) Korean government to promote sports programs for people with intellectual disabilities. Community inclusion is something that we care deeply about, and we believe that sport/passions are a great way to change perceptions about the capabilities of people with disabilities. Not all destinations will have universally designed facilities. But if you’re interested in joining us, we’re willing to be creative and put in the effort needed to make it work!

Destinations and hosts

Is there anybody you won’t play with?

In principle no. We believe firmly that regardless of nationality and politics, the world’s people should be free to engage socially and forge friendships. Sport and shared passions are tools by which we can heal division and promote the values we hold closely. It is our opinion that they should never be used in a ‘carrot and stick’ fashion to achieve political objectives. Rather, they should be used as an equalizer and icebreaker to create a level playing field on which ideas can be exchanged and values projected without tension.

For proof of sports ability to have an impact across political lines, look no further than our in-house efforts to promote sports for people with intellectual disabilities in the DPR (North) Korean. By using sport to sidestep political differences, we succeeded where others failed.

Is there anywhere that you won’t go?

Also no, at least in principle. We take the safety of our participants and host communities very seriously. We would never run an event if we felt that it placed anybody at serious risk. That being said, from our experience international tourists perceive risk in odd ways. Few seriously question the safety of a drunken pub crawl through a European capital. Yet when we visit monuments in Pyongyang we’re taking unnecessary risk? A quick glance at the numbers makes that seem pretty silly from our perspective. The truth is, most, if not all countries have some regions that are safe for tourists. Likewise, most, if not all countries have a few places that aren’t safe for tourists. In the end, it comes down to extensive (and ongoing) research, planning and networking. You can trust the Friendship League to do all three!

Is it possible to stick around after the trip is over?

Yes, but the logistics involved change drastically depending on the destination. In the DPR (North) Korea for example, anybody looking to stay longer would need to let us know well in advance and purchase a private tour for their remaining days. Conversely, in Kenya once the tour ends you are free to do whatever you want! Reach out to contact@friendshipleague.org if you have any questions about a destination.

I want to play my sport/passion in a country that you don’t currently go to, what can I do?

The first thing you can do is tell us, it’s always helpful to know what Friendship-Leaguers want as we plan for the future. Beyond that, we recommend reaching out to your friends and assembling a team for a private trip. We’re confident that we can arrange a mind-blowing exchange in literally any country on the planet. If you’re up for the adventure, we’re up for making it happen!

I would like to host an event in my community, would you be interested?

We’re very grateful for all of the communities around the world who have offered to host us. If you are interested in having the Friendship League visit your program or community please reach out to contact@friendshipleague.org and let us know your thoughts!

If the destination becomes unsafe after I register, but before we leave, what happens?

The world is a dynamic place, and somewhere that is safe today may be a warzone tomorrow. Our team will continually monitor the situation on the ground in all of our destinations. If we feel that a trip can no longer be run safely, all participants will be given a full refund. We encourage all participants to purchase trip cancellation insurance to cover additional expenses incurred (ie. international flights, visa fees, third country hotels etc). The Friendship League will not reimburse you for purchases made through third parties. For more information please see our Terms and Conditions.

What if I need to cancel my place on the trip?

Sometimes plans change, we get it! Unless otherwise stated, all deposits are fully refundable up until two months prior to the trips commencement. After that point all refunds will be determined in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.

Sports and Passions

I’ve never played the sport/passion before, but the trip looks awesome. Can I come?

Totally! It doesn’t matter to us if you’re an Olympic level competitor or total rookie. Stepping out of your comfort zone is wholeheartedly encouraged at the Friendship League. We only care that you’re interested in making new friends and bring a positive attitude to the table. There are very rare occasions where a minimum skill level will be required for safety reasons, but this will always be clearly indicate on the event promo material. Even in these cases you’re still more than welcome to come and be a part of the team. Most trips we have a few spectators that join.

My friend/family member/significant other wants to come but refuses to/can’t play. Can they still come?

Yup! There are plenty of reasons why a person might not want to participate in the sport/passion, but still be very keen on participating in the overall exchange. This is encouraged as long as they see themselves as “part of the team” and don’t just do their own thing. Not everybody needs to play, but everybody can cheer and make friends!

You don’t offer my sport or passion, will you?

We’re always looking for new trip ideas and are very open to pretty much any sport or passion out there. If you have a full team that wants to make a trip happen, we offer private sports tours to all of our destinations. Just let us know where you want to go, and what sport or passion you want to engage in, and we will take care of the rest!

How do I get my equipment there?

In most of our destinations it’s not possible to rent sports/passions equipment once you’re there, so you’re going to need to bring it with you. This can be a bit difficult on airplanes, especially for a sport like ice hockey that has bulky equipment. If you’re concerned, reach out to us at contact@friendshipleague.org and we can give you some suggestions for how you can make it a bit easier.

How serious are the games/passions taken?

First off, it’s important to restate that we encourage players of all abilities to participate. That, however, does not mean that we don’t take our sports/passions seriously. Out of respect for your fellow participants and the host communities, we expect all participants to compete to the best of their ability, regardless of what that may be. We go to the final whistle and fight for every inch! It’s not whether or not we win that matters, it’s whether or not we can be proud of our attempt.

If I don’t want to join the tour but want to participate in the games/passion, is that allowed?

No. While we want to be as inclusive as possible, we work very hard to maintain an atmosphere of comradery and friendship. With the exception of host country nationals, we find that ‘walk-ons’ detract from the overall participant experience.

Impact Programs

In what ways do you create a lasting impact?

At the Friendship League our impact on host communities is at the heart of what we do. Prior to every event, we start by listening to local community members. We attempt to learn what their priorities are in terms of the growth of their sport or passion so that we can align our capabilities with those priorities. This often involves equipment donations, creating opportunities for competition and training, and generating exposure for the program.

Who are your target beneficiaries?

We work with host communities to allocate our assistance based on need. That being said, we primarily seek to support the growth of youth sports/passions and the inclusion of marginalized communities.

Where does the funding/resources come from?

We allocate a small portion of the tour fees from each event participant towards the events impact program. These funds are often partnered with in-kind donations that we solicit prior to the event. Participants then have further opportunities for donations, as well as opportunities to use their skills and networks to create their own legacy. Are you an expert coach? Why not run a few training sessions? Does your community want to help out? Why not organize an equipment drive? Get in touch with us at contact@friendshipleague.org and we can give you some suggestions for how you can support our efforts!

Will I get to see how the money is spent?

Yes! Details about our impact program will be made available in the trip brochure prior to registration opening. If you have any questions or comments about how the money will be spent you’re encouraged to reach out to us for clarification. After the events we will be sure to post pictures and updates on social media so that you can see your legacy in action.

Can I choose how the money is spent?

We devote a small portion of the tour fees from each participant to each events impact program. While it is possible to see how these funds are spent and make recommendations, we are not able to guarantee requests as we need to ensure that our funding is sufficient for our planned impact program. If you would like to make a supplementary donation towards a project of your choice, we would be more than happy to facilitate that!

I can’t make it on a trip, but I’d still love to help. Is there anything I can do?

Of course! We’ve had plenty of non-travelling Friendship-Leaguers create meaningful change in our host communities. For example, one young hockey player from the USA managed to raise enough funds to get the Kenyan hockey program their first ever skate-sharper. How cool is that? Got an idea? We’d love to hear it and will help if we can!