Route J-1

A Diplomatic Reception

Posted on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 at 8:36 pm.

By Sasha Gerhardson, J-1 Manager, The Washington Center


Group photo of J-1s Interns in Thomas Jefferson State Reception Room

On Tuesday, May 25, seven J-1 interns from Mexico and two staff members from the Washington Center participated in a meet and greet roundtable discussion with State Department staff followed by a one hour guided tour of the Department’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms. In this blog entry, J-1s share their reflections about their visit.

Graciela standing in the Hall of Nations, located in the main lobby of the U.S. Department of State

Graciela takes a photograph in the John Quincy Adams State Drawing Room

Graciela Corral Hernandez

I loved learning about the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, the fine and decorative arts of the 18th and 19th centuries found in the Reception Rooms are rich in history and each painting and piece of furniture has an interesting story behind it. One interesting historical fact that surprised me was that Benjamin Franklin thought that a turkey would have been better as the national bird of the United States than the eagle. The staff was welcoming and informative throughout the tour and I absolutely recommend any other J-1 visa holder to visit this historic and astonishing place whose mission is to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world.

Georgina and Hector pose for a picture in the John Quincy Adams State Drawing Room

Hector Santiago Aldama Gonzalez

The highlight of the tour was when State Department staff asked us about our internship experience in Washington D.C. The State Department is really interested in what we’ve learned [in the US] and how we can improve Mexico with all of the knowledge and skills that we learn. This experience is a memorable part of my exchange experience. My internship program has come full circle by visiting the place where the idea for this kind of program started.

Georgina Martínez González

The tour was amazing. I learned more about American history and to be at one of the most important places in the United States is an amazing experience. I’m excited to share my experience with others.

Jesus Padilla Moreno

I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone who wants to fall in love with diplomacy, each and every one of the rooms will inspire you to become an active citizen that one day might make contributions to strengthening relationships among countries.

Daniel Elizalde Mireles

Being at the State Department was a remarkable experience – the diplomatic reception rooms were surreal and thinking of all the big decisions and events that happen in those rooms was amazing. I would like to work in the diplomatic field sometime during my professional career so it was inspiring to be in rooms where so many diplomatic personalities and representatives have been before. I was also really impressed that none of the items [in the rooms] were purchased but that they were donated.

I felt hopeful to share my experience with the staff of the State Department and explain how the program is helping [Mexican students] and making important changes. It’s important to have communication between the two countries. I felt privileged to be invited and definitely would recommend the tour to other J-1s!

Categories: Program Spotlight

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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