Rotary International District 5580 - to - Rotary International District 2760


Share our Excitement & Join our Journey

Welcome to the travel blog of Rotary District 5580's Group Study Exchange (GSE) Team which will embark on an exciting five week goodwill / vocational exchange to Nagoya, Japan in November, 2009.

Here, our hybrid American-Canadian team of enthusiastic and adventurous young professionals, along with our lovely, talented and fearless team leader, will share cultural experiences and engage in unique vocational learning opportunities.

If you have come to this site, you are likely: a Rotarian, family member, friend or colleague of one of the team members, or... are just plain blog-curious. Either way, we encourage you to check our site often to learn about us, follow our progress as a team and of course, keep in touch as we explore Japan.

We thank Rotary in advance for the adventure of a life time and to all readers, we invite you to share our excitement and join our journey.


GSE Team Japan 2009








GSEチーム ジャパン 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Journey Begins Over Sushi and...Chocolate Cake

Our Group Study Exchange (GSE) Team had the first real opportunity to meet and get to know one another over a weekend in Duluth, Minnesota in June.

Over the course of our “orientation weekend”, we learned about Rotary and the Group Study Exchange Program from Rotarians and GSE alumni. From alumni we heard that the exchange is a unique experience that can be life changing. It is expected to open our eyes to things we never thought possible. The alumni also imparted words of wisdom: be flexible, say yes to everything and metaphorically speaking, don’t be the only one wearing clothes on the nude beach (while the point was made, there are some limits).

In addition to learning about Rotary and the GSE we also learned about the culture, demographics and economy of Japan. Our learning was accentuated by our first official sushi lunch together where we encouraged one another to try something new. Practicing the “try everything” philosophy, we dined on eel and octopus among other pieces of succulent sushi and sashimi.

After a comprehensive day of training, Team Japan was slated for a relaxing evening of bonding. It became apparent early on however, that our team is driven. After a delicious meal of lasagna prepared by team member Ben and his wife Kate, topped off with Ben’s decadent chocolate cake, we settled immediately back into work mode. Against a background of crooner Michael Bublé, we hashed out numerous ideas for our exchange.

While, it was only our first meeting, Team Japan made a great deal of progress and this is just the beginning. We can expect more meetings (and hopefully many more pieces of Ben’s chocolate cake) before embarking on our journey, so stayed tuned.With parting words from one of our Rotarian hosts, “it’s all about opening your brains and your hearts”.


  1. Orientation was OUR pleasure, I assure you. While we can not prepare you for everything, and neither do we try, we can say emphatically that what you shall experience is IMPOSSIBLE to comprehend, so be prepared to be wowed!

    Jill, myself, George, and the rest of the GSE subcommittee are proud of you, proud to have you represent our district, and proud to have helped you start your journey.

  2. Wow! Thanks Chris!