Saturday, June 11, 2011

Free for All

I just got an email yesterday about an upcoming opportunity to go to Finland for a month - for free! Then I realized that I forgot to include this great opportunity to travel and serve in my recent presentation - Seeing the World Through Service. I think I forgot to mention this one because it's not the traditional volunteering vacation you might think of - it's more of an ambassadorship.

Rotary International was founded in Chicago in 1905. By 1921, clubs had spread to six continents with a focus on business, socialization and the shared vision of "Service Above Self."
Why do I tell you this? They have an awesome, world-wide professional exchange program open to 25 to 40 year olds called Group Study Exchange (GSE). This program takes delegates from one community and places them in a host country for four to six weeks to exchange culture & ideas, business practices and friendship. The program is paid for by local Rotary Clubs and interested participants need to apply and, if selected, interview with the selection committee. During the trip you also get to learn about your chosen profession in a different context - so if you're a teacher you would visit a school in the host country to see what it was like there.

From the GSE website: "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."

Finland, host of the upcoming NE Kansas Rotary GSE.
I was selected last year for the Australian GSE but had to turn it down due to a work commitment - still kicking myself for that, as the work commitment was eventually canceled, argh! With my work/school schedule I'm not sure I will be able to apply this time around, but I really hope to have the opportunity to apply again in the future - still have some years to go before 40! Also, just a quick FYI - you can't be a current (or past, I think) Rotarian to apply - it's a program to introduce new people to Rotary. Let me know if you have heard anything about this program. Thanks for checking in.


  1. What's the matter with 50 year olds? LOL

  2. I think they figure 50 year olds know what's up! Us youngins still have a thing or two to learn. :)

  3. Ok, that was a well thought out, politically correct answer! LOL