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Embarking on Leg Two of Route J-1

Posted on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 at 7:06 pm.


I just returned home from the beach leg of Route J-1 and have my bag packed for the mid-west and western leg. I have swapped my sundresses for jeans and my sandals for hiking shoes as I am looking forward to farms, lakes and mountains. As a proud west coaster now living on the east coast, I don’t get to the central states nearly enough. I look forward to this exploration and to seeing new places through the eyes of J-1 exchange visitors. On this leg, I will visit interns, trainees, camp counselors and more summer work students.

Every region of this country offers something unique and special; however, not all states see an equal amount of international tourism. Most international exchange visitors prefer to travel to New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Las Vegas; but the J-1 program does a fantastic job of shaking things up and scattering exchange visitors throughout all our regions.

Our programs are open to qualifying hosts from across the country so a student who never imagined going anywhere west of the Atlantic, north of the panhandle, or east of Lake Tahoe may actually find themselves in a warm and welcoming community in Michigan, Wisconsin, or Texas – where their boots and hats may never come off again!

The best way to get to know American hospitality is to experience it. The J-1 program provides that experience to our international visitors. On the other side of the coin, the program also increases the experience of diversity for Americans.


In Ocean City, I met Murajdon from Uzbekistan and Yevgeniy from Kazakhstan (pictured above). Muradjon was a bit shy to speak at first, but over lunch he told me that he hopes to one day join his country’s diplomatic corps. He came to the U.S. to build his confidence in speaking American English and to learn about our culture firsthand. The value of such experience for a future diplomat, and for our future diplomatic relations with Uzbekistan is immeasurable.

Another visitor and a happy and easy-going guy, Yevgeniy, told me that he hopes to be an interpreter one day. An interpreter must know more than just a language; he must be able to interpret meaning and much of that meaning derives from a culture. Thanks to the J-1 program, we have representatives from all over the world, including Central Asia in the U.S., and the American experience will be carried back home with them across the globe.

Categories: Everyday People, J-1 Visa, Participants

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.