Route J-1


Changemaking in Action

Posted on Friday, August 18th, 2017 at 8:35 pm.

By Lynette Evans-Tiernan, Communications Manager for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

During the first week of August, a select group of participants from the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program gathered on the campus of the American University in Washington, D.C. for the fifth annual CIEE Civic Leadership Summit. This is the third time two different designated J-1 sponsor organizations, CENET and CIEE, have partnered to bring together participants. This year, 45 fellows from 40 countries participated in the activities. This diversity of the participants intensified the richness of the summit experience as fellows worked together across country, culture, and language borders.

The three day program was comprised of a series of dynamic workshops designed to build intercultural awareness, social entrepreneurship skills, understanding of civics, and rule of law. To attend the summit, these young leaders were chosen from more than 2,100 applicants. Here is a sampling of their observations, told in their own words.

Mahmoud Abdelkareem from the West Bank


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Categories: Program Spotlight

Eat. Play. Give. International Exchange Community Celebrates J-Day

Posted on Friday, August 11th, 2017 at 8:14 pm.

By Lynette Evans-Tiernan, Communications Manager for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

J-1s participate in beautification project of New York City’s East River Promenade. “We celebrated and had fun doing good things like gardening in New York.” – J-1 Au Pair Yuliet Velasquez Orozco from Colombia

Stewardship Coordinator Melinda Billings thrusts her hand into the air with a bunch of emerald weeds in her hand, fresh mounds of earth still attached to the base exposing wild spaghetti strand roots. “This is Crab Grass, Dyers Woad, and Mugwort,” her voice booms over the crowd. She holds the weeds up for the group to see and I raise my hand to shield my eyes from the bright rays of the sun to get a closer look.

It’s Sunday morning and I’ve traveled from Washington, D.C. to join a J-Day beautification volunteer project in New York City. We’re there to remove invasive weeds and plant species from the brick-lined East River Promenade, where many New Yorkers come to cycle, run and enjoy the great outdoors. Armed with gardening gloves, pruning and digging tools, shrub rakes, and wheel barrows, our group was ready to banish these harmful weeds. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

Unity in Diversity: Celebrating Ramadan in America

Posted on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017 at 4:33 pm.

By Caroline Dewi, J-1 Trainee from Indonesia

I’m a program assistant at the Ohio State University. I was excited when I was offered the opportunity to travel to New York City to meet other J-1 trainees placed at Summerhill Landscape, Glover Perennials, and Old Westbury Garden in Long Island who are studying greenhouse and landscape management. It was a life changing experience.

Left: Atmosphere during Eid prayer at Al-Hikmah Mosque, New York| Right: Bagus, David, and Dara in front of the Mosque

The J-1 program is allowing me to explore worldwide knowledge and share my passion for horticulture. It also has given me the opportunity to experience Ramadan outside my home country, Indonesia. Even though I am not Muslim, many of my family members are. That’s why I celebrate Ramadan. Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam or a core ritual of the faith, and takes place during the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Throughout the duration of the month, Muslims abstain from food, water and sexual relations from dawn until sunset. It’s not just about abstaining from food and drink, but about learning to be a better and more patient person. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

Japanese High-Intensity Training Research in Colorado’s High Altitude

Posted on Friday, July 28th, 2017 at 2:51 pm.

By Cecile Schoberle, Director of Marketing and Communications, University of Colorado Denver

A version of the blog was originally published on International Newsroom

Dr. Tabata and his daughter in a fitness center at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus

Dr. Tabata and his daughter in a fitness center at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus

Dr. Izumi Tabata, PhD, and “father of high-intensity interval training (HIIT)” is currently a visiting J-1 scholar at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

“If you’re seeing stars and feel as if you can’t take another step, you’re doing the exercise right—but it is all worth it.” Variations of this theme are expressed by enthusiasts of the Tabata Training method worldwide. Also dubbed “The Four-Minute Miracle”, the system incorporates high-intensity interval training workouts within short bursts of time to create maximum aerobic and anaerobic benefits. VO2 max, which is the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense exercise, increases; resting metabolic rate after the exercise and glucose metabolism are also improved. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

International Exchange Experience leads to Career Choice

Posted on Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 at 5:40 pm.

Sarah Sampaio, J-1 Trainee Alumnae from Brazil
A version of the blog was originally published on the CENET blog

Sarah in Salt Lake City, UT

I decided to participate in the J-1 program to obtain more professional experience and learn about practices and culture in the United States. To me, the idea that I could gain cultural and life experiences along with improving my professional skills in one program really attracted me to the J-1 status.

The program showed me that I was a lot stronger than I had given myself credit for. It also made me more independent and proactive in my learning and professional experiences. It gave me the opportunity to build rapport with people from different cultural, socio-economic and professional backgrounds and it inspired me to learn from my colleagues and build a solid work relationship and even friendships. Since my J-1 program completed in 2013, I am still in contact with the friends I made in Salt Lake City, Utah while living there, even though I’ve been pursuing my PhD and working in London for the past two years. I made friends for life and learned so much. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

Impressions of the Windy City

Posted on Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 at 2:27 pm.

By Javier M., J-1 Intern from Mexico
J-1 Intern Javier M. from Mexico talks about his experiences living in Chicago:

What does your exchange experience mean to you?

One of the most amazing things that can happen to a human being is to have the opportunity to travel; to live new experiences, meet new people and a new culture. It is the door that takes you to another world and definitely when you come back home, something has changed, in some inexplicable way, you are not the same anymore.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Four Months as a New Yorker

Posted on Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 at 1:00 pm.

By Nick Hvidtfeldt, J-1 Intern from Denmark

Nick enjoying the fall foliage in New York’s Central Park

During my four months in New York City I made sure to take advantage of all the exciting opportunities this place has to offer. I rarely had a dull moment, and my friends would often ask me, “Are you even interning?!” because of all the cultural activities and traveling I did. I promise I was! But I utilized every second of my free time to go somewhere new and do something fun.

I made it a priority to visit every New York City borough and explore every neighborhood of Manhattan. I found that an excellent way to do this was to go on guided theme tours. You can find all sorts of different ones that suit your interests. I went on a bubbly tour of Greenwich Village with a drag queen, a fascinating historical tour of Harlem, the Sex and the City hotspots tour, a tasty pizza tour in Brooklyn and many more. I was continually surprised by the myriad of stories each place has and how many different ‘flavors’ can be found in this city. And speaking of flavors, the numerous street food markets I visited around town always satisfied my culinary cravings and opened my eyes to levels of deliciousness I never knew existed!

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Au Pair Finds Herself on Route 66

Posted on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 at 2:01 pm.

By Joanne Hritz, Director of Marketing at AuPairCare

A version of this story was originally published on AuPairCare

Tamires at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona

As if leaving her family, friends and her familiar life in Brazil to come to America as an au pair wasn’t adventurous enough, au pair Tamires also decided to take on the challenge of a solo cycling trip through Historic Route 66!

Tamires in New Mexico – Land of Enrichment

From its golden days in the 1930s, to the decline in the 1960s and the resurgence in recent years, Route 66 has always had a prominent spot in popular culture. Known also as the ‘Main Street of America,’ it was built in 1926 and was one of the original roads within the U.S. Highway system. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

Inspiring and Teaching Using Robotics

Posted on Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 at 3:09 pm.

Jody Mayo, Communications Manager, Alliance Abroad Group
A version of this story was originally published on Alliance Abroad

Teacher and Robotics coach Wilmar Lee (left) with sixth grade students holding mobile robots

Wilmar Lee is a robotics fanatic and she’s passing her infectious passion to middle school students in Houston, Texas.  She is a Filipino citizen participating in a J-1 visa teacher exchange program.  Back home, on the other side of the world, Wilmar taught math, computer and MAPEH (Music, Art, PE, & Health) classes for 12 years. She was also an innovator and proponent of using robotics as a way to engage students and promote science, technology, engineering, and math studies.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

A Cross-Cultural Gateway to America

Posted on Thursday, May 25th, 2017 at 9:13 pm.

By Leslie Costa, J-1 Intern from France

Leslie Costa visiting U.S. Senate Office Building

In 2007, I graduated from the University of Montesquieu in Bordeaux, France, with a degree in economics and law, before moving to Paris to study a Masters degree in corporate finance. During my studies, I undertook multiple internships that provided a strong foundation of knowledge for entering into the financial world.  However, in a post-recession business world, I found it difficult to get an entry-level job. Employers repeatedly told me I needed additional experience. Determined to acquire the skills I needed and propel myself into a new realm of experience in a stubborn European marketplace, I set my sights on the United States and a corporate world that would open many more doors of opportunity.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

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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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