Route J-1


Building Bridges with Cuba

Posted on Thursday, September 17th, 2015 at 7:46 pm.

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Sitting on a panel during the “Building Bridges: Strengthening Educational & Citizen Exchange Linkages” symposium

Last week we held a symposium at George Washington University, here in Washington, D.C. on “Building Bridges: Strengthening Educational & Citizen Exchange Linkages,” following the opening of official diplomatic relations with Cuba. The idea was to bring together those who work with exchange programs to discuss our new U.S. approach on engaging people-to-people with Cuba – of which J-1 plays an integral role. Read More ›

Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants

Take Me Out to the Ballgame: J-1 Participants Experience America’s Pastime at Nationals Park

Posted on Monday, August 31st, 2015 at 4:30 pm.

J-1 exchange visitors pose with George Washington – one of the Running Presidents at Nats Park. (Photo credits to Kevin Morgan)

J-1 exchange visitors pose with George Washington – one of the Running Presidents at Nats Park. (Photo credits to Kevin Morgan)

Recently, my colleagues Ethan Bursofsky and Julia Saltzman joined more than 200 J-1 lifeguards, their sponsor, and host employer representatives at a Washington Nationals game to experience a great American pastime: baseball.
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Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, Program Spotlight

J-1 Participants Champion Disability Rights

Posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 at 8:16 pm.

The United States has been a longtime leader in promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. In fact, championing disability rights is a core part of our foreign policy goals. The State Department recently commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and we used this opportunity to promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in international exchanges. This summer, my colleagues Carolina Pena and Stephen Hill from the Office of Compliance had the privilege of visiting a camp for children with disabilities in Southampton, New York, which hosts several J-1 Camp Counselors and SWT (Summer Work Travel) participants each year. You can read all about their visit below!

Compliance staff members Caroline Pena and Stephen Hill with Camp Directors David Billingham and Thomas Naro and camper

Compliance staff members Carolina Pena and Stephen Hill with Camp Directors David Billingham and Thomas Naro and camper

Southampton Fresh Air Home, a camp for physically challenged children, has been an oasis for kids with special needs since 1901. With a range of activities uniquely adapted for them, children with physical disabilities grow their self-confidence, learn new skills, and develop positive attitudes. The camp hosts J-1 Camp Counselors and Summer Work Travel (SWT) participants, who bring cultural diversity and make meaningful connections with the staff and campers.

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Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, Program Spotlight

Summer Work Travel Exchange Visitors Bring International Flavor to the Yellowstone National Park

Posted on Thursday, August 20th, 2015 at 1:48 pm.

In addition to the rodeo, my colleagues Stacey Gomelsky and Nadine Zaatar also made their way to Yellowstone National Park, the second leg of their tour of Wyoming. You can read about their visits with J-1 exchange visitors at this famous and historic location.

Old Faithful, a cone geyser in Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful, a cone geyser in Yellowstone National Park

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Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, Program Spotlight

J-1 Exchange Visitors Experience a Legendary Western Tradition – the Rodeo

Posted on Tuesday, August 18th, 2015 at 3:00 pm.

Earlier this summer, my colleagues Stacey Gomelsky and Nadine Zaatar traveled to Wyoming, where they attended a rodeo event with J-1 participants.  You can read all about it below.

Bison roaming in front of the Grand Tetons

Bison roaming in front of the Grand Tetons

Wyoming is a state best known for its diverse ecosystems of scenic mountain ranges interspersed with sparkling rivers and alpine lakes, vast green landscapes stretching to the horizon, free-ranging herds of bison, and frequent human encounters with bears.  Wyoming is also known for its enduring “Western spirit,” which for Americans summons images of pioneers heading across the open range into the new frontier of early America.
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Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, Program Spotlight

Scholarship Programs Make Dreams into Realities for Participants

Posted on Monday, August 10th, 2015 at 8:09 pm.

At the Civic Leadership Summit with Mahmoud Sadek, Aly Metwaly, Ghadeer Abu-Rass, and Manuel Guerrero

At the Civic Leadership Summit with Mahmoud Sadek, Aly Metwaly, Ghadeer Abu-Rass, and Manuel Guerrero

J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs leave a lasting impression on both participants and host communities. I see it everywhere I go. This year, I was excited to meet four amazing participants who have dreamed of building their skills in the United States, but needed some assistance to make their dreams a reality. Through an innovative new program developed by their sponsor, these four received scholarships to participate in the SWT program – and are now excelling in their respective placements. The scholarship idea was a way to support stellar participants from countries that have historically lower participant levels in the program. Read More ›

Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, Program Spotlight

Celebrating J-Day 2015: Eat. Play. Give.

Posted on Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 at 5:56 pm.

For the past few years, a number of sponsors across the country, in partnership with the Alliance, have encouraged their participants to take a whole day – or even a few hours – and participate in something bigger than all of us, giving back while having fun. Called, “J Day”, it has become a tradition, and is a part of the broader emphasis on cultural activities within the Summer Work Travel program. Yesterday, people across the country used the hashtags #CelebrateJDay and #eatplaygive and showed us some of the amazing ways J-1 participants impact U.S. communities.

First, my colleagues Grace Cho and Michael James stopped by J Day activities at the Family Kingdom Amusement Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  The day began with a scavenger hunt organized that encouraged participants to spread throughout the amusement park and to explore the different rides and games..

First, my colleagues Grace Cho and Michael James stopped by J Day activities at the Family Kingdom Amusement Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The day began with a scavenger hunt organized that encouraged participants to spread throughout the amusement park and to explore the different rides and games.

Read More ›

Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, Program Spotlight

J-1 Trainees Get a Professional Start in the White Mountains

Posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 at 3:55 pm.

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire welcome sign

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire welcome sign

As I wrote from Florida, I am on the lookout for J-1s wherever I go this summer. While up in New England visiting family last week, I made my way to the iconic Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. A living history book, it opened in 1902 as a luxury summer residence for wealthy city dwellers who were carried by train almost straight to the hotel doors. Nestled in the White Mountains, it is a popular destination for hikers, as well as ghost hunters, international monetary policy wonks, and J-1 Summer Work Travelers and Trainees. Read More ›

Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, Program Spotlight

In Shenandoah National Park, Hosting J-1 Participants is a Privilege

Posted on Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 at 3:32 pm.

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DAS Lerner and J-1s at Skyland Lodge at the Shenandoah National Park

Last week, my colleague Grace Cho joined me for a visit to the Shenandoah National Park and wrote about our visit below. Happy reading! Read More ›

Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, Program Spotlight

Au Pairs Help Package Meals for Children in Need

Posted on Tuesday, July 14th, 2015 at 3:32 pm.

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Au pair volunteers sifting rice into bags for meals.

In this post, my State Department colleague Stacey Gomelsky describes her recent experience volunteering with J-1 Au Pairs in Washington, D.C.  (Photo credits to Yupa Khin Nyunt.)

“We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill Read More ›

Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, 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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