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Rotary clubs exchange travelers to further world culture understanding


Jenny Coon Peterson March 13th, 2008

Four women have been chosen to represent Oklahoma in Poland this spring as part of The Rotary Foundation's Group Study Exchange " or GSE " for Oklahoma's District 5750:" Megan Elliott," Sheri Guyse, "...

rotary

Four women have been chosen to represent Oklahoma in Poland this spring as part of The Rotary Foundation's Group Study Exchange " or GSE " for Oklahoma's District 5750:
" Megan Elliott,
" Sheri Guyse,
" Laura Ballard and
" team leader Danna Szymanski.

Although Elliott's a bit nervous to be leaving her job and family for an entire month, her excitement outweighs any trepidation.

"I'm really looking forward to be able to see Poland in a different light, something beyond being a tourist," she said.

INTENT
The Rotary GSE program is set up for young professionals like Elliott for exactly this reason.

"The purpose of the program," said Randy Goodman, GSE Chairman for District 5750, "is as a vocational and cultural exchange to promote a better understanding of world cultures."

Every year, the district chooses a different Rotary district with which to exchange young professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 who are not Rotarians themselves. In the past, the program has gone to places such as:
" India,
" Australia,
" Turkey and
" Brazil.

EXPERIENCE
Each trip lasts from four to six weeks. Goodman understands that not everyone can take that time away from their family and career, but he said "for those who can, they will have the experience of a lifetime."

Stepping past the boundary of being a tourist was the draw for Guyse to participate.

"The food, the people, the customs " I cannot wait to see how different their world is from ours," Guyse said. "In that same vein, however, I cannot wait to see how similar our lives can be." "Jenny Coon Peterson

 
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