"We're here to get to know the country and create a network of friends," said Linda Paulsson, a police officer and one of four team members and one team leader who are part of the Rotary Group Study Exchange from Sweden visiting the area.

The five visitors are from Rotary's Sweden District 2390 that are visiting Rotary's Ohio District 6650 for one month.

"They're here for five weeks and only six hours in our district," Newcomerstown Rotarian Don Norman said about their visit to the Newcomerstown area.

He said the group started their travels that day in New Philadelphia and journeyed around the area to end back in Canton that night. While in Newcomerstown, they visited the Olde Main Street Museum and Social Center as well as the USS Radford National Naval Museum. Newcomerstown historian and native son Vane Scott led the group on a tour of the two museums.

The Rotary Foundation's Group Study Exchange (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 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.

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

"We want to learn a little more about our profession and take things back (home)," Annika Nilsson said about the exchange program. Nilsson owns and manages her own gym in Sweden.

Besides Nilsson, other team members' professions include police officer, a business controller, production and engineering management within the lighting industry and a civil engineer. Their exchange program experience will be suited towards their profession, Norman said. Other Sweden team members include Johan Tonell, Linda Fasten and Jan E. Eriksson (team leader).

During their stay in Ohio, the exchange members stay in a fellow Rotarians house and enjoy the lifestyle of Americans.

Norman, who was part of an exchange program with Korea a few years ago, said the experience is great to learn about the country and meet new people.

The Sweden team will return home on April 19.