GSE and Rotary International

Thursday, March 12, 2009
Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States
Some of you have asked what a Group Study Exchange is. It is a program through Rotary International, and it has been going on for many years. I found out about this opportunity through my friend, Katie, who belongs to Green Bay West Rotary. Here is a little more information, from the rotary site.

T he Rotary Foundation's Group Study Exchange (GSE) program is a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for businesspeople and professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 who are in the early stages of their careers.

The program provides travel grants for teams to exchange visits in paired areas of different countries.
In a typical four-week tour, applicants participate in five full days of vocational visits, 15 to 20 club presentations, 10 to 15 formal visits and social events, two to three days at the district conference, three to four hours per day of cultural and site tours, and three to four hours per day of free time with host families.

I applied for this program in September, interviewed with a panel and found out later that day I was selected to go! I will be going to Morocco with our team leader, Diane, as well as three other non-Rotarians like myself; Katie, Jason and Lori. We have already met on several occasions and have gotten to know each other well. None of us knew one another prior to this experience! None of us know what families we will be staying with, or if we will be alone or partnered with someone. That should be pretty interesting!

Through this exchange, I'm hoping I will get to visit some public libraries in Morocco to see a) how they provide children's services b) how they provide services to rural areas (much like we do!). I'm hoping I can interview a few librarians and make some lasting contacts and friendships! When I return, I'll be conducting some programs at area libraries on my experience abroad.

We have heard a GSE is the experience of a lifetime - and it definitely sounds like it!

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