The Brattleboro Rotary Club hosted a Group Study Exchange (GSE) team from Pakistan on May 14-16, 2011. 
 
The five-person team included a Rotarian group leader named Satwat Butt, who earned his MBA in Michigan and is an executive in the insurance industry, and four young professionals -- Ms. Amina A. Chughtai, Ms. Sobia Nosheen Saleh, Mr. Ali Ashtar Naqvi, and Mr. Syed Irtaza Ali Shah. They stayed with Rotarian host families in Brattleboro and Dummerston for two nights and took part in the local food and culture, including a performance at the New England Center for Circus Arts, a tour of Main Street, lunches at the Brattleboro Food Co-op and Chelsea Royal, and a potluck dinner with Brattleboro Rotarians and their families. On May 16, GSE team members each spent the morning with a professional peer in the areas of education, governance, law, insurance, and fuel.

Offered by the Rotary Foundation, the GSE program is a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for businesspeople and professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 who are in the early stages of their careers.

The four- to six-week program provides travel grants for teams to exchange visits in paired areas of different countries. 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.

The team consists of one Rotarian group leader and four non-Rotarian team members who typically represent various professional fields. Team members receive orientation and cultural preparation before departing for the host country. The team also works together before departure to plan for their program abroad and to prepare a presentation to be given at host clubs during the tour.

In a typical four-week tour, participants live with host families and engage in five full days of vocational visits, make 15 to 20 club presentations, participate in 10 to 15 formal visits and social events, spend two to three days at the district conference, enjoy three to four hours per day of cultural and site tours, and have three to four hours per day of free time with host families.  
 
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