Program - Group Study Exchange to India - November 15



Melanie DeLasmutt



Rotary International organizes Group Study Exchanges with Rotary Districts all over the world.  The Rotary Foundation’s Group Study Exchange (GSE) program is a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for business people and professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 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, team members experience the host country's culture and institutions, observe how their vocations are practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships, and exchange ideas.

Melanie DeLasmutt, a banker from Pocatello, Idaho, applied for and was selected by the Rotary Foundation to be a member of a GSE team that visited 3 states and 8 cities in India over a period of about 5 weeks in January and February 2011.  This visit was concentrated primarily in the northeastern part of the country.  While in India, Melanie and the GSE team members stayed in Rotarians' homes and had the opportunity to meet their professional counterparts at a District Conference. They also gave presentations to Rotary clubs and other groups about the United States and Idaho.  The Rotary Foundation arranged the lowest round-trip airfare to and from India and Rotarians in India provided the meals, lodging, and group travel in their district.

For the BFRC, Melanie provided an extensive slide and video presentation of several aspects of her trip. She discussed over 20 different aspects of what she called “My Big Adventure To India”. These included a large Rotary Eye Hospital sponsored by one Rotary club in India, a home for the aging, polio awareness, a surgical camp, the Delhi Public School, schools for the blind, schools for the deaf and dumb and for spastic and the handicapped, orphanages, banks, high courts, publicity, religion, weddings, funerals, manufacturing, food, the arts, and many additional social, economic and cultural aspects of daily living in those areas she visited. Although her presentation ended at 1:00 PM, she could have taken at least 2 more hours to speak about her experiences. 

More information about the GSE to India in District 5080 and other GSE trips can be found at the Rotary District or Rotary International websites.  Both can be found on our website: