Young people always dream about what they will be when they grow up. Will they bring about world peace? Will they end poverty? Will they win an Oscar for their moving documentary? Will they invent the next big thing that radically changes technology? Here in the J-1 world, we jump out of our seats and cheer each time the J-1 internship program brings those young dreamers closer to their life-changing goals. It is a noisy place around here.
I took Route J-1 to California’s Silicon Valley recently, where the world’s most innovative tech companies are hosting J-1 interns and turning dreams into action. I sat down with up-and-coming tech whizzes from all over the world at Cisco and Facebook. Through these J-1 programs, international students supply the dreams while their hosts teach them to turn their big ideas into programs and tools.
This week, I wrote a State Department blog outlining a few things you should know about the J-1 Visa program, in hope of reaching a larger audience. While the program is well known abroad and to the readers of Route J-1, many Americans are unaware of the amazing work being done by J-1 participants. Read More ›
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 ›
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!
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.
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.
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.
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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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 ›
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.
|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.Read More
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