But I can’t.
Many many many years ago (when I qualified because I was under 40 yrs old), I saw a story in the Laredo Morning Times for a program run by the Rotary District that covers Laredo. It was called Group Study Exchange where a group went to a foreign country and a team from that country came here.
I applied without really knowing much about it other than that if selected, I would be traveling a foreign country for about a month and doing presentations about life in South Texas. Our team was selected and I along with one other person represented Laredo. We had a team members from Brownsville, Victoria and our team leader from Edinburgh. Obviously, I was selected or I couldn’t tell you that it was a grueling month but it was one of the best experiences of my life. This is the basic description from the Rotary District 5930 website:
The 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. For four to six weeks, team members experience the host country’s culture and institutions, observe how their vocations are practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships, and exchange ideas.
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.
Nowadays, I serve as a host to those that come from other countries. Not as fun as traveling but just as fun to learn from those with different perspectives and culture.
The deadline for this coming year’s Group Study Exchange is coming up at the end of this month. The exchange is to the Philippines. I hear from two very special people who participated in GSE to the Philippines about 15 years ago the wonderful time they had. Don’t get me wrong – it is WORK but it is FUN. Also note, it is competitive so if you apply… that application is the impression you make to the selection committee, make it good.
The team from Australia who went to the Philippines blogged about their experiences. Check it out here.