2007-06-22 / Community

Rotary 'GSE'Team Returns From Mexico

Taking a break from working on their group presentation, GSE team member Kane, a yoga instructor, leads fellow team member Andrew Chan through some poses in a hotel room in La Paz. Taking a break from working on their group presentation, GSE team member Kane, a yoga instructor, leads fellow team member Andrew Chan through some poses in a hotel room in La Paz. Associate Editor Brian Magoolaghan rejoined the staff of The Wave last week after completing a month-long group study exchange program in Mexico.

From May 5 through June 4, Magoolaghan, three other young professionals and a Rotarian group leader toured Baja California and parts of the Mexican mainland. They were the guests of Rotary International members from District 4100.

The group visited Ensenada, Rosarito, Tijuana, Mexicali, La Paz and Cabo San Lucas on the Baja California Peninsula, and Hermosillo, Obregon and Los Mochis on the mainland. In all, they covered about 1,300 miles, visiting about a dozen Rotary clubs, and traveling the vast majority of that distance by automobile.

"It was an amazing journey, and a very unique way to see a foreign country," said Magoolaghan. "As the guests of native Rotarians - usually staying in their homes - we received first-rate treatment and were able to sample the very best in each area."

Group Leader Bill Jacobs, a member of the Locust Valley Rotary Club, said he was "incredibly pleased" with the team's performance. Group Leader Bill Jacobs, a member of the Locust Valley Rotary Club, said he was "incredibly pleased" with the team's performance. The other members of Rotary District 7250's Group Study Exchange (GSE) team were: Andrew Chan, a law student and courts worker; Lauren Kane, a yoga instructor; and Mali Locke, a foundation program officer. Their leader was Bill Jacobs, a retirement consultant and member of the Locust Valley Rotary Club.

The group's activities included visits to government offices, museums, Rotary-sponsored programs, and local points of interest, such as historic sites, fairs and natural areas and beaches. The members also had several vocational days each, where they met with people in their profession.

"I toured my first daily newspaper, went on assignments with reporters and was interviewed on television and radio," Magoolaghan said. "Our program was very full but it was educational and fun as well."

The journey culminated with the GSE team's presentation at District 4100's district conference in Cabo San Lucas. Magoolaghan, Chan, Kane and Locke assembled the best images from their trip and provided narration for the audience, which responded with laughter, applause and a standing ovation.

Mali Locke, a member of the GSE team, enjoys the atmosphere in Ensenada. Mali Locke, a member of the GSE team, enjoys the atmosphere in Ensenada. Group leader Jacobs, who has hosted GSE participants from Thailand, Argentina, India, Brazil, Germany, Australia, France, Mexico and led a group to Switzerland in 2000, said the exchange was a genuine success.

"I am incredibly pleased and proud of how this team acted and responded and I believe that is borne out by the response the team and I received from our hosts all along the way, culminating with the conference's reception to [the group's] program," said Jacobs.

The GSE team celebrated their return to New York with a barbecue hosted by Magoolaghan and a cocktail party hosted by local Rotarian and GSE Chairperson John Howley. The team members have also been invited to help screen the next batch of GSE candidates.

Team member Andrew Chan at a stunning waterfront home in Ensenada. Team member Andrew Chan at a stunning waterfront home in Ensenada. "Besides a long break from newspaper reporting and the unique opportunity to see Mexico with people who know it better than anyone, I was able to make new friendships with wonderful people I would not have otherwise met, including my teammates," Magoolaghan said. "I'd definitely recommend the program to anyone who works well in a team."

Rotary GSE team member Lauren Kane and friends have fun at the Expo, an outdoor fair in Hermosillo. Rotary GSE team member Lauren Kane and friends have fun at the Expo, an outdoor fair in Hermosillo. Magoolaghan (right) is interviewed by television host Marta Elena Cantua (second from right) and staff members of El Vigia, a daily newspaper in Mexico. Magoolaghan (right) is interviewed by television host Marta Elena Cantua (second from right) and staff members of El Vigia, a daily newspaper in Mexico. GSE team members with their hosts on Day One of their visit. Bottom row, from left to right, Mali Locke, Brian Magoolaghan, Andrew Chan and Lauren Kane. GSE team members with their hosts on Day One of their visit. Bottom row, from left to right, Mali Locke, Brian Magoolaghan, Andrew Chan and Lauren Kane.

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