Group Study Exchange
Aimed at building global understanding and peace, Group Study Exchange is an international program of The Rotary Foundation that annually sponsors four-person teams of young professionals to host countries for a month. GSE team members stay in the homes of Rotarians of those host countries, meet with their vocational peers there and learn of that country’s culture first-hand. GSE teams from the Kalamazoo area in recent years have gone to Central America, where they climbed Mayan ruins and visited remote villages, and Korea, where they experienced Asian institutions and culture. Young teachers, medical professionals and environmentalists are among those chosen for the teams from Southwest Michigan. GSE team members are non-Rotarians who are led and trained for the journey by a Rotarian.
Nominated by Kalamazoo Rotary and selected for the April, 2009 GSE exchange to the Buenos Aires, Argentina area was Linda Tkaczka, a Spanish teacher at Lawton High School. Linda says that the opportunity would greatly broaden her ability to bring the language and culture to life for her students. She was joined by three other young professionals and led by Ron Haas, a Rotarian from Lansing.
In May 2009, a team of four young professionals from Argentina were hosted by Kalamazoo Rotarians in this reciprocal program. The team, which included two English teachers, a speech therapist and an attorney visited Chicago, Lincoln International School, Western Michigan University’s speech pathology center and was hosted at several social events. Deep friendships and life-long insights grow out of the GSE experience.