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Global Learning By Design: The Business of Architecture

Posted on Wednesday, October 9th, 2019 at 6:18 pm.

By Katelynn Ziegler-Hall, Cultural Vistas
A version of this story was original published on Cultural Vistas Blog

Dalia Raad (left) Katelynn Ziegler-Hall (middle), and Shams Qais (right) at Gensler’s Washington, D.C. offices

A long-sought dream became reality for Dalia and Shams in September 2017 as they arrived in Washington, D.C. to begin their internships with Gensler a global design and architecture firm. Read More ›

Categories: Participants, Program Spotlight

Au Pair’s Helping Hands Assist Host Family during Hurricane Harvey

Posted on Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 at 6:10 pm.

By Katrina Vanderhulst, Executive Vice President, Au Pair International

Martin receiving Au Pair of the Year Award at Annual Work Experience
Travel Market and International Au Pair Association Conference (WETM-IAC)

Each year, the International Au Pair Association (IAPA) gives an Au Pair of the Year Award. The 2018 recipient, Martin Toth, is a bright and energetic young man from Hungary who lived with a family in Houston, Texas. Soon after joining his host family, the unthinkable occurred. Martin and his host family were forced to deal with the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey. Read More ›

Categories: Participants, Program Spotlight

Becoming a Civically Engaged Global Citizen

Posted on Wednesday, June 5th, 2019 at 6:07 pm.

By Tebogo Serepong, Trainee from South Africa

Left: Tebogo getting ready for the Global Pathfinder Summit | Right: Tebogo chatting with other leaders before morning session commences.

When I left South Africa to begin my cultural exchange program in the United States, not only did I get a new physical address, I figuratively also acquired an address which has endearingly placed me outside of my comfort zone. I have made new friends and colleagues and linked up with some old ones, all while discovering and becoming a distinct version of myself. Personal growth has been coupled with tremendous professional development as my career as a Chartered Accountant keeps evolving and being constructively challenged through experience first obtained in California and now Washington, D.C. Read More ›

Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants

Building a Dream: Architecture Student Gains International Experience

Posted on Wednesday, June 6th, 2018 at 2:39 pm.

By Pablo Ambrossi, Intern alumnus from Madrid, Spain
A version of this story was original published on CIEE blog

Pablo Ambrossi at the Flat Iron construction site, Brickell neighborhood, Miami

My name is Pablo Ambrossi and I was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. I am a 22-year-old student set to graduate in 2019 at the School of Architecture in Madrid, the ETSAM. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to continue my father´s legacy and become an architect. When I graduate, I plan to obtain some international experience working abroad before eventually returning to Madrid to work alongside my father. Read More ›

Categories: Participants, Program Spotlight

Au Pairs Join the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Posted on Thursday, January 25th, 2018 at 6:36 am.

By Cristina Barraza, Marketing Manager, AuPairCare
A version of this story was published on AuPairCare

Au Pairs sitting together

Au pairs celebrating the end of their 5k walk. They were thrilled to take part in such a great cause.

Last fall, AuPairCare au pairs and team members from Westchester County participated in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Purchase, NY. The au pairs made up a diverse group, being from Spain, Colombia, and China. It was a memorable day, as they had the chance to walk with 20,000 people and raise awareness and funds to save lives from breast cancer.

Read More ›

Categories: Participants, Program Spotlight

J-1’s Accept the ‘Be a Changemaker Challenge’

Posted on Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 at 9:29 pm.

By Kate Verey, CIEE Senior Director of Work & Travel USA

group of participants

2016 Civic Leadership Summit participants contributing their ideas!

This August a select group of 62 students from the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program gathered at American University in Washington, D.C. for the CIEE Civic Leadership Summit, a three-day event that brings together passionate, young leaders from around the world for a dynamic exchange on leadership, social entrepreneurship, and cultural understanding. This group of Fellows represented 33 countries from three different designated J-1 sponsor organizations (CENET, Spirit and CIEE).

A highlight of the Summit was a daylong workshop called the ‘Be a Changemaker Challenge’ led by Ashoka’s Youth Venture, an organization that inspires and supports teams of young people to launch and lead their own community benefiting initiatives. During the Challenge, Fellows identified their passions to create change for social issues, and then worked in groups to develop plans for launching their own social ventures in their home countries. Read More ›

Categories: Participants, Program Spotlight

Making Peace One Exchange at a Time

Posted on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 at 9:07 pm.

By Marcellin Niset, J-1 Secondary School Student from Belgium
This story was originally featured on Rotary Voices

participant standing in front of sign saying Welcome to Alaska

Belgian Exchange Student Marcellin Niset in Alaska

The Italian-American author and actress Vanna Bonta wrote, “There’s no hospitality like understanding.” That quote stuck with me as a Rotary Youth Exchange student to Alaska in 2015-16. I arrived in Alaska, a wilderness filled with beauty and love, determined to make my exchange purposeful and beneficial for myself, my host community, and the world.

An exchange is not only about a student going abroad, it is about all the people that make this exchange possible, and the ones that are impacted, directly and indirectly. Read More ›

Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, Program Spotlight

J-1 Intern Sees Democracy in Action from the Inside

Posted on Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 at 8:53 pm.

Written by J-1 Intern Chi Fai (Tony) Chau from Hong Kong

tony chau at desk smiling

Tony Chau interning at New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim’s office.

During my internship with Assemblymember Ron Kim (District 40), I worked as a constituent liaison, helping to address and resolve the everyday issues that many New York residents, including immigrant communities, often face. It was an unforgettable time for me because I have not participated in this sort of experience, even in my hometown.

Through this experience I found myself much more confident than I believed, and I realized I was good at communicating with people, even when they were of different races and backgrounds.

It was a pleasure to have my supervisor’s and visa sponsor’s trust bestowed in me. Throughout my 10-week internship, I had many opportunities to oversee different kinds of tasks. It gave me a chance to get in touch with people from all walks of life. Putting myself into other’s shoes was a good mindset for dealing with diverse constituents’ inquiries. It helped me handle many unexpected situations with an ultimate goal of creating a productive platform that brings results and resolutions to every concerned body and individual in the constituency in an amicable, but professional, fashion. Read More ›

Categories: Participants

U.S. Embassies Engage J-1 Participants to Strengthen Relations

Posted on Thursday, March 24th, 2016 at 2:22 pm.

J-1 alumni and prospective participants having conversation in front of a photo display

J-1 Summer Work Travel alumni and prospective participants socialize and enjoy the photo exhibit.

The State Department is serious about relationship building with our exchange participants. That’s why we support alumni networks around the world. Recently, many of our embassies have increased efforts to engage participants from J-1 privately-funded jexchanges, so that the investment participants have made in their futures can be leveraged through association with other participants. We are excited to include these participants in our long-term alumni networks and outreach, and have seen much interest from participants to stay in touch with our embassies overseas.
Read More ›

Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, Program Spotlight

In Florida, Au Pair Cultural Activities Are A-maze-ing

Posted on Friday, March 11th, 2016 at 5:36 pm.

Au pair and family at corn maze

Learning about American culture and building life-long memories is at the heart of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, including for au pairs. Au pair program sponsors facilitate monthly meet-ups, where local and regional coordinators engage au pairs in cultural events, such as city tours, holiday celebrations, sporting events, volunteer activities, and many others. Here is an example of one such activity that took place in Jacksonville, Florida:
Read More ›

Categories: Participants, Program Spotlight

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About Nicole Elkon

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange

Nicole Elkon

Nicole Elkon joined the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange in September 2021. Until June 2021, Ms. Elkon was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Human Rights First, an independent advocacy organization focused on human rights and the rule of law. Prior to her position as COO, Ms. Elkon was a Senior Advisor at Results for America (RFA), a non-profit organization focused on advancing data-driven, evidence based public policy at all levels of government. She also served as Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary of ECA and was Director of the Office of Public Private Partnerships at ECA working to leverage strategic partnerships to enhance Administration foreign policy priorities.

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