Route J-1


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

J-1 Host Family Celebrates a Dynamic Decade of Hosting Exchange Students

Posted on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 at 9:47 pm.

By Sarah Bailey, Marketing Manager, EF High School Exchange Year
A version of this story was originally published on EF High School Exchange Year blog

Antonia- shown on the far right (EF Class of ‘08-09) joins the Schutte - Vanderzee wedding (Photo courtesy of EF High School Exchange Year)

Antonia- shown on the far right (EF Class of ‘08-09) joins the Schutte – Vanderzee wedding (Photo courtesy of EF High School Exchange Year)

Meet the Schutte Family from Rushmore, Minnesota, who are celebrating a decade of hosting exchange students!

What is the best part about hosting a J-1exchange student?

The special relationships that develop are priceless. Our three daughters have also benefitted immensely from these exchange experiences. We get just as much out of it as the students do. I regularly wake up to e-mails from my students, and we Skype with them weekly. This past fall, two of our daughters got married and each had a former exchange student as a bridesmaid in their weddings! Our students will always be like daughters to us and hold a special place in our hearts. Someday our girls will host too – it’s a no-brainer.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Sharing a Passion for Handball with “Family Away from Home”

Posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2017 at 8:48 pm.

By Steve Roberts, Marketing Coordinator at AuPairCare
A version of this story was originally published on the AuPairCare website.

Stefan, an au pair from Germany

Stefan, an au pair from Germany

Stefan had two goals in mind when he planned his stay in the United States: to be a great au pair for a very special family and to share his passion for the sport of handball with others in his new home. Having played handball since the age of five back in Germany, he felt that involving himself in something familiar would help ease the transition of moving to a new country.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Contributing to Marine Conservation, Making a Difference

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 at 9:00 pm.

By Alba Garcia Rodriguez, J-1 Intern from Spain

A version of this story was originally published on the InterExchange Blog.

Alba taking conch measurements in the Caribbean.

Alba taking conch measurements in the Caribbean.

Alba Garcia Rodriguez previously interned at the Ocean Conservancy and is now pursuing a graduate degree in marine management. She hopes to attend the 69th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Conference in the Cayman Islands to present her important work and is raising money to do so.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

The Best Life Experience

Posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2016 at 9:51 pm.

By Xiaowen Niu, J-1 Summer Work Travel participant from China

Wen celebrating the 4th of July in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin.

Wen celebrating the 4th of July in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin.

The J-1 Summer Work and Travel Program has been the best life experience I‘ve ever had.

During the summer of 2014, I worked at an ice cream and candy store in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin in scenic Door County. It was the first job that I had ever held in my life. Everything seemed so challenging, especially communicating with customers in English. At the beginning, I had trouble understanding my supervisor’s instructions and customer orders. My boss noticed that I was struggling and gave me a lot of training to help. She also knew I was interested in early childhood education, so she helped me find a volunteer opportunity once a week at a nearby day care center.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Hosting: American Connection, Bridges of Friendship

Posted on Friday, December 23rd, 2016 at 8:16 pm.

By Judy DuCharme, J-1 host family from Door County, Wisconsin

Cooking Chinese-style

Cooking Chinese-style

My house was full of smoke and laughter as six Chinese girls cooked all of their favorite dishes for my husband and I. They barely fit in my little kitchen, but they were having a wonderfully crazy time cooking the foods they missed from home.

Three things amazed me that night: the way the girls prepared the meal, slicing each green bean very carefully into five or six slices; how they set our table, like Thanksgiving but with foods we never imagined; and how they were so appreciative, so happy to cook for us and to be with u Read More ›

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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