Farewell to our new friends from Mississippi.

October was a busy month at the Rotary Club of Hall as many club members played host to a Group Study Exchange (GSE) Team from District 6820 in Central Mississippi.

GSE team

Paul Foster, Judy Lyons, Katie Frantes, Alonda Wright and Matt Goddard

Led by Judy Lyons, the team were in Australia for a five weeks where they were hosted by Rotary Clubs in Goulburn, Southern Highlands, the NSW South Coast, the Snowy Mountains and of course, Hall.

The GSE program is designed to provide a unique cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for young business and professional men and women between the ages of 25 and 40 in the initial years of their professional life. During their month in Australia the team studied our way of life with particular emphasis on observing their own vocations, as practiced here, thereby giving them an opportunity to exchange ideas and develop international personal and professional relationships.

Matt Goddard

Matt Goddard has a go at throwing a fleece

Whilst in Canberra the group stayed with Hall Rotarians and the Club arranged visits to local businesses, government offices, and community organisations. The team visited Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve (where they saw a red-bellied black snake and duck billed platypus in the wild) and enjoyed a private tour of the War Memorial.

For Matt Goddard, an agricultural researcher in Mississippi, one of the highlights was a visit to Moorelands Bio Dynamic Lamb, one of the 200 odd registered stallholders at our Capital Region Farmers Market.

mountain bikes

Matt Goddard and Katie Frantes setting out for a mountain bike ride with Rotarian Bill Watson on their last day in Canberra

It wasn’t all work and on the last day of their visit the team went kayaking on Lake Burley Griffin and mountain bike riding on the tracks on Black Mountain with two of our adventurous club members.

The exchange has allowed the Rotarian and the visitors to develop understanding of each others’ culture and build long-term friendships.

Our district will send a GSE team to Mississippi in 2013.