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J-1 Participants Gain Cutting Edge Experience in Silicon Valley

Posted on Thursday, October 22nd, 2015 at 4:21 pm.

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.


DAS Lerner meets with J-1 Interns at CISCO.

The CISCO International Internship Program (CIIP) is basecamp for innovative training in Silicon Valley. The CISCO brand draws applicants from far and wide, and the CIIP model sends them back home ready to take on the world. CISCO interns get advanced training that focuses on developing skills, such as computing, platform/software design, product development, network services, and business analytics. They are integrated completely into their teams, and they learn the value of collaboration.

Facebook Interns take a group photo with founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook Interns take a group photo with founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The Facebook J-1 internship program encourages participants to take initiative and unleash their creativity while immersed in innovative work and product design. They expose their students to every aspect of Facebook, including interacting with the most senior leadership. Facebook is famous for its mission to connect the world. Connecting the world is a major by-product of the J-1 internship program. As a large host, Facebook introduces students from around the world to each other, working together and collaborating.

J-1 interns hold a scavenger hunt in the de Young museum in San Francisco as part of their cultural activities.

I had the chance to see the impact of the Facebook internship program during a recent visit to Cape Town, South Africa. There, I met brilliant South African students who confirmed that their J-1 Facebook internships were a dream come true. They are spreading America’s entrepreneurial spirit back home in Cape Town and, I am sure, already building the next big thing in technology.

DAS Lerner meets with J-1 Intern alumni in Cape Town, South Africa.

DAS Lerner meets with J-1 Intern alumni in Cape Town, South Africa.

Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, 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.