YARMOUTH — In an effort to promote world peace and global understanding, a group of Rotarians have been participating in an exchange program for about 30 years.
Carolyn Johnson, Rotary member and district governor nominee, said the organization sends four or five non-members and a Rotary representative somewhere around the world for a month-long visit.
“This program is based on a trust factor,” she said. “That something good will come from it.”
Some groups have a specific focus, like a medical or vocation-inspired trip. Some, like an upcoming trip to northern Germany, are more about the experience of meeting, learning, and living with people in a different culture.
“It’s really an eye-opening experience,” Johnson said. “Spending four weeks in an unfamiliar place, visiting a number of large cities and small villages and staying in homes while you are there is a great unifier for people.”
The team traveling to Germany will consist of young professionals between the ages of 25 and 40, she said. The Rotary pays for everything, with the expectation that the group will learn something significant and share their experience with others.
“It is a dual benefit,” Johnson said. “We never know what will happen as a result, but we expect something good.”
Johnson said next year’s group is expected to travel to Africa with an educational focus. In the future, she said she hopes more business owners will support opportunities for young employees to take part in the program.
“It’s a huge asset for (business owners) to allow their employees to participate in an exchange program and come back to the community with something to offer,” Johnson said.
Applications for the exchange program can be found on the Rotary’s district website, rotary 7780.org.