Route J-1


I Heart Camp!

Posted on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 at 9:32 pm.

By Lauren Rees, Marketing Assistant, Camp America
A version of this story was originally published on Camp America.

February 1st was “I Heart Camp Day!” To celebrate, Camp America pulled together its team to talk about why they love camp so much. See why these current J-1 exchange visitors and alumni from the United Kingdom love working as camp counselors.

Left: Adam Squire, Canyon Creek Summer Camp (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) | Right: Emma Burns, YMCA Camp Takodah (2015, 2016, 2017)

Left: Adam Squire, Canyon Creek Summer Camp (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016) | Right: Emma Burns, YMCA Camp Takodah (2015, 2016, 2017)

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Exploring Music City – Nashville, Tennessee

Posted on Friday, February 17th, 2017 at 8:21 pm.

By Faith Nyamakwere, J-1 Summer Work and Travel participant from Zimbabwe

Faith poses with the Recording Angel Statute at entrance to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center Nashville.

Faith poses with the Recording Angel Statute at entrance to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center Nashville.

During my J-1 program, I had the privilege to work at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Centre, which is reported to be the largest non-casino hotel in the Continental United States outside Las Vegas, and is also ranked as 28th in the list of largest hotels in the world.

Most people come to the resort to experience the unique “Country Christmas” offered by the Gaylord.  As a Gaylord star, I provided all the guests with the flawless services that they deserved and at the same time got to see and explore amazing places and attractions in Nashville, Tennessee. Some of the amazing things that I experienced at the Gaylord “Country Christmas” celebrations included snow tubing and ice skating, seeing the hotel decorated with thousands of twinkling lights and ornaments, the General Jackson Showboat lunch and dinner cruise, and the ICE! Sculpture exhibits of the Nutcracker and the Grinch (where scenes from these classics are hand carved from 2 million pounds of ice!).

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Categories: Program Spotlight

J-1 Encourages Exchange Visitors to Be Open-Minded and Step Outside Their Comfort Zone

Posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 at 8:30 pm.

By Stephanie Scholz, J-1 Intern from Germany

Stephanie poses with New York City Skyline from Roosevelt Island.

Stephanie poses with New York City Skyline from Roosevelt Island.

Editor’s Note: We asked J-1 participants to answer a few questions about their experience. Below are responses from intern Stephanie Scholz.

What surprised you most about your Exchange Visitor Program experience?

I was amazed how fast I adapted to everything. After a couple of days I felt really comfortable living in the U.S. This is because my sponsor organization made the transition easy for me. I was immediately introduced to a lot of people, including other interns, at work and was given rewarding projects and assignments to work on such as taking care of the whole visa process for future interns and helping to organize events.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Love at Third Sight, Deep in the Heart of Texas!

Posted on Friday, February 10th, 2017 at 3:42 pm.

By Marta Lange, J-1 Intern from Latvia

Marta admires the statue of cardiac surgeon Michael E. DeBakey at Houston Methodist Hospital.

Marta admires the statue of cardiac surgeon Michael E. DeBakey at Houston Methodist Hospital.

It was a cold and windy December morning when I left my beloved, snowy Latvia and landed in sunny Texas. Houston greeted me with skyscrapers, palm trees with Christmas lights, and a swimming pool in my backyard. In the so-called Lone Star State, one can find surprises on every corner. At first, as a person hailing from a country of two million people, getting used to Houston was difficult. Attempting to understand the people and their culture, the lifestyle, the city itself, and the food portions was quite a challenge. I stubbornly refused to admit that I was experiencing culture shock, but upon further reflection, I now realize that I was.

At first I struggled with making small talk in elevators and getting used to the fake-smile “how-are-you” culture. To be honest, this positive attitude sticks, and after a year I am able to admit that I will miss saying “hi” to complete strangers on the street. The Southern hospitality in Texas is something that a very Nordic person like me will never forget. That is one thing I could not fathom at the beginning, but now I really enjoy it! That is one of the factors that really made me love Texans: being polite and really meaning it, opening the doors for each other, saying “ma’am” and “sir” to everyone regardless of their age. I fell in love with Houston only after twice being away from it. I had to leave Houston and return in order to finally acknowledge how much I love it. At the same time, the importance and magic of the city really lies in the Texan people.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Sharing Technology Experiences in a Texas High School

Posted on Tuesday, February 7th, 2017 at 9:17 pm.

Interview with Scarlett Palomo, J-1 au pair from El Salvador

A version of this story was originally published on AuPairCare.

Scarlett and two high school students in front of Belton New Tech High School in Texas

Scarlett and two high school students in front of Belton New Tech High School in Texas.

When J-1 au pair Scarlett Palomo learned that her area director’s daughter was studying Spanish in her Texas high school, Scarlett jumped at the chance to visit the school and speak with the students. She wanted to tell them about El Salvador, the beautiful country that she knows and loves. The students were beginning a project on Central America, so they were excited to learn about the region from first-hand experience.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Building Peace through Art: An Interview with J-1 Scholar Hyppolite Ntigurirwa

Posted on Thursday, January 26th, 2017 at 10:20 pm.

A version of this story was originally published in International Arts and Artists.

Hyppolite Ntigurirwa and fellow Artist Leaders Andrea Gordillo and Chanel Matsunami Govreau. Photo by Kyle Klein Perler and courtesy of Arts Connect International.

Hyppolite Ntigurirwa and fellow Artist Leaders Andrea Gordillo and Chanel Matsunami Govreau.
Photo by Kyle Klein Perler and courtesy of Arts Connect International

Hyppolite Ntigurirwa has a vision for peace. After witnessing the horrors of genocide, he turned to the transformative power of art to help spread his message of peace. He formed a theater group at his school in Rwanda as a way to unite students from different ethnic groups. “We witnessed the power of performing arts to bring people together, challenging the status quo and starting the long process of social change,” he said of the experience. Since then, Hyppolite has continued to use theater as a tool for healing, reconciliation, and peacebuilding in post-conflict communities both in Rwanda and abroad.
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Categories: Program Spotlight

J-1s Share Passion for Horticulture and World Travel

Posted on Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 at 8:45 pm.

By Adrianna Rutkowska and Beata Jażdżyk, J-1 Interns from Warsaw, Poland

Left: Beata taking care of indoor plants | Right: Adrianna moving fertilizer bags

Left: Beata taking care of indoor plants | Right: Adrianna moving fertilizer bags

Upon first meeting the both of us, we may seem like two completely different people. However, having two passions in common—horticulture and a curiosity about the world—has sparked a close friendship.

We first met as students of the University of Life Science in Warsaw. After graduation, we both decided to apply for a J-1 internship via an international exchange program at Ohio State University specializing in horticulture, agriculture and turf grass. Upon being accepted, we were placed in Oakland Nursery in Delaware, Ohio, to study ornamental plants.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Au Pair Finds Meaning Through Volunteering

Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2017 at 10:19 pm.

By Camille Ferland, J-1 Au Pair from Canada
A version of the story was originally published in Au Pair in America

Camille volunteering for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at the Chicago Triathalon

Camille volunteering for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at the Chicago Triathalon

Camille is an au pair from Canada living with her host family in Illinois and is also a State Winner for the 2016 Au Pair Community Service Awards. She shared the following observations on her extensive volunteer work at many fundraisers and community events. 

During this past year working as an au pair, I volunteered for many different causes and events. My first volunteer experience was with a community event, the Sheffield Music Festival and Garden Walk, where I worked as a beverage server. Inspired by the positive feeling that resulted, I explored online and signed up to help out at a charity event called THE Breast Cancer Fundraiser, a fun event raising money to provide care packages for people undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. I sold tickets at the main entrance, helped run the silent auction, and listened to inspiring stories of strength and bravery.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Professional Au Pairs Experience the California Dream during APEX 8th Annual Surf Outing

Posted on Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 at 11:08 pm.

By Heidi Mispagel, Executive Vice President, APEX PROaupair
A version of this story was originally published on PROaupair.

Four professional au pairs with surfboards (left to right): Marina Da, Julia Hinderhofer, Saskia Derkow (all from Germany), and Eva Spielbichler (from Austria), professional au pairs with APEX PROaupair

Four professional au pairs with surfboards (left to right): Marina Da, Julia Hinderhofer, Saskia Derkow (all from Germany), and Eva Spielbichler (from Austria), professional au pairs with APEX PROaupair

For many exchange visitors in the au pair program, California beach culture epitomizes the American dream – warm sunshine, sandy beaches, tall palm trees and talented surfers.

In December, APEX PROaupair held its 8th annual Surf Outing. Eighty-three professional au pairs living with host families all across the U.S. joined 14 staff members from the U.S. and Germany for a weekend of sunshine, surfing and “California dreaming” in San Clemente, California.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

State Department Publishes New Proposed Rule Notice for SWT

Posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2017 at 10:48 pm.

By Nathan Arnold, Director of Press Relations for Educational and Cultural Affairs

The Federal Register for January 12, 2007

The Federal Register for January 12, 2007

Today, we published a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Summer Work Travel Program” to the Federal Register. Through February 27, 2017, the State Department will be taking comments on proposed changes to the regulation that governs the J-1 Summer Work Travel Program. Read More ›

Categories: J-1 Visa

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About G. Kevin Saba

Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange


G. Kevin Saba serves as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange at the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). In this capacity, he oversees the Exchange Visitor Program, which brings around 300,000 foreign citizens to the United States annually to teach, study, and build skills. He is the Director for the Policy and Program Support Division in ECA’s Office of Private Sector Exchange.

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