Rotary district seeks exchange candidates

Published 7:55 pm Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rotary District 7720’s Group Study Exchange team for 2012 visited Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. Team members are (from left) Katrina Bishop, Udeshi Hargett, Wanda Smith, Misty Rasmussen, Mary Hall and team leader Chip Chagnon. (Submitted Photo)


Rotary District 7720
News Release
Rotary District 7720, which includes 41 clubs in eastern North Carolina, announced applications are available for the Rotary Foundation’s Group Study Exchange program.
It is a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for business people and professionals from ages 25 to 40 and 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, the team members will experience Japan’s culture and institutions, observe how their own vocations are practiced in Japan, develop personal and professional relationships and exchange ideas.
Rotary District 2780 is located in Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan along with another Rotary District, and they have 69 clubs and nearly 2,500 members. It has a mixed commercial base that includes a heavy manufacturing base of steel mills, shipbuilding and auto manufacturing as well as agricultural efforts.
GSE teams are composed of four non-Rotarian team members, usually of various business and professional backgrounds, and one Rotarian team leader. The GSE experience typically spans four to five weeks. During the exchange, teams will visit local businesses, government offices and community organizations in the host district, tour historical and cultural sites, stay with Rotarian host families and make presentations about their home countries and professions.
Chip Chagnon, District 7720 GSE team leader in 2012, led his team to District 1930, located in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. “When you think about the expression ‘Made in Germany’ you immediately think of a product that was produced with focused planning, excellent engineering, superb craftsmanship and superior quality. That is the best way to sum up our exchange with District 1930. The planning was very detailed and carefully engineered to be tailored to our team’s vocational and cultural requests and goals. The host District 1930, host city Rotary clubs and host Rotarian families spared no expense in making our exchange experience superb with quality memories,” he said.
2010 District 7720 GSE team leader Jim Wendling said, “The GSE experience was a tremendous opportunity for me and the others on the team to learn about the culture and history of Brazil, plus learn about the Brazilian economy and the role agriculture plays in the economy, which is my personal vocational area. Other team members, who had other vocational interests, likewise benefitted from the experience gaining a unique perspective on issues in their respective field.”
Team members will receive orientation and cultural preparation from the sponsoring Rotary District 7720 before their departure. This may include language training, practice of oral presentations, visits to Rotary clubs and background about Rotary International’s mission and the programs of its foundation.
Candidates must be fully employed with at least two years of work experience in their chosen fields and be in the early stages of their careers. GSE can be an excellent way to recognize top-performing staff or provide exposure for potential young leaders with limited international experience. Candidates must reside in or be employed in District 7720 and be citizens of the United States. In addition, candidates should be personable, articulate, cooperative, motivated team players and enthusiastic about their vocations. Rotarians and their families are ineligible.
Those chosen for the team will visit Kanagawa on or around March 15, 2013, to April 14 2013. In turn, the GSE team from District 2780 in Japan will be visiting District 7720 on or around April 20, 2013, to May 19, 2013. If you would like to apply, contact Jim Wendling, with the Rocky Mount Rotary Club and GSE chairman, at or contact your local Rotary club by visiting the District 7720 website at and click on “Club Information.”