Group Study Exchange
One of the most popular programs of the Rotary Foundation is the Group Study Exchange (GSE). Since the first exchange between the districts of California and Japan in 1965, the program has provided educational experiences for more than 44,500 business and professional men and women who have served on about 9,000 teams.
The Starkville Rotary Club has hosted several GSE teams in recent years: a team from St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1999; a non-Rotarian team from China in 2000, and teams from Australia in 2001, Brazil in 2002, India in 2003, Japan in 2006, and the Netherlands in 2007.
The Group Study Exchange program pairs Rotary districts to send and receive study teams. Since 1965, over $79 million has been allocated by the Rotary Foundation for GSE grants.
One of the attractive features of the program is the opportunity for the visiting team members to meet, talk, and live with Rotarians and their families in a warm spirit of friendship and hospitality.
In addition to learning about another country through visits to farms, schools, industrial plants, professional offices, and governmental establishments, the GES team members serve as ambassadors of goodwill. They interpret their home nation to host Rotarians and others in the communities they visit.
In recent years, teams of a single vocation or cultural group have been exchanged. Some GSE teams help create humanitarian projects between their countries. Many of the personal contacts blossom into lasting friendships. The GSE program provides Rotarians with a most enjoyable, practical, and meaningful way to promote world understanding.