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Eat, Play, and Give: Exchange Day 2023! 

Posted on Friday, August 11th, 2023 at 5:42 pm.

Today, we are highlighting community stakeholders and exchange visitors from around the world who came together to celebrate Exchange Day 2023.  For nine years, the exchange community has celebrated Exchange Day annually on the first Monday of August and it has grown to become a worldwide celebration of the power and breadth of cultural and academic international exchange.  On Exchange Day, participants, alumni, and their communities are invited to take part in service projects, reflect on the ways in which exchange programs have impacted their lives, and to continue to promote cross-cultural understanding.  Check out how Exchange Day 2023 was celebrated around the United States and round the world.

Designated sponsor American Work Adventures, along with other sponsors Alliance Abroad Group, Foundation for Worldwide International Student Exchange, American Exchange Organization, Inc., LifeTRAVELED, CSB International, and Intrax hosted a charity event in Germantown, MD, aimed to help those in need while allowing for participants and community members to get to know each other. BridgeUSA exchange visitors from Kazakhstan, Columbia, Jamaica, Turkey, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Jordan participated in swimming races as part of a “Lifeguard Olympics.”

In Longwood, FL, designated sponsor LifeTRAVELED hosted an event called “Wekiva Island & School Donations​.” At this event, BridgeUSA exchange visitors embraced the Eat, Play, Give theme by sharing American breakfast foods, playing field games and swimming in natural springs, and giving school donation items to local elementary schools.

In Branson, MO, the Taney County Partnership hosted the “Beach Bash at Moonshine Beach.”  This celebration included American-style barbecue and snacks, cultural activities, games, sports, and prizes.  This tradition celebrated the incredible international community in the Branson area.

In Baraboo, WI, designated sponsors Spirit Exchange, the Alliance Abroad Group, InterExchange, and IntraxUSA partnered together for an Exchange Day volunteer activity at the International Crane Foundation, which conserves cranes and the ecosystems, watersheds, and flyways on which they depend. BridgeUSA exchange visitors helped with landscaping, cleaning, and were given a free tour.

In Myrtle Beach, SC, more than 50 BridgeUSA exchange visitors, designated sponsors, and members from the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce enjoyed the day at Myrtle Waves Water Park.

BridgeUSA exchange alumni gathered in Kosovo for Exchange Day to share a meal and stories about their time in the U.S. on cultural exchange programs. They were joined by representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Pristina.

We are so grateful to everyone who participated in Exchange Day 2023! To see more celebrations from around the country, check out the hashtags #ExchangeDay2023 #ExchangesImpact and #CelebrateExchangeDay on social media platforms.

Categories: J-1 Visa, Program Spotlight

About Rebecca Pasini

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange

Rebecca Pasini

Rebecca A. Pasini joined the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchanges in July 2023. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister - Counselor, Ms. Pasini has been an American diplomat since 1997.

Ms. Pasini previously served as the Director of Public and Congressional Affairs in the Bureau of Consular Affairs from 2021-2023. Other Washington assignments have included positions in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, the Office of Foreign Missions, and as a liaison to the Department of Homeland Security. She has also completed multiple overseas tours, including as Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs in Islamabad, Pakistan, and as the Consular Chief in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Other tours included Mexico City and Kuwait.

A Maryland native, Ms. Pasini has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University, a master’s degree in National Security and Resource Strategy from the Eisenhower School, National Defense University, and an undergraduate degree from Mary Washington College.