Route J-1


Professional Au Pairs Experience the California Dream during APEX 8th Annual Surf Outing

Posted on Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 at 11:08 pm.

By Heidi Mispagel, Executive Vice President, APEX PROaupair
A version of this story was originally published on PROaupair.

Four professional au pairs with surfboards (left to right): Marina Da, Julia Hinderhofer, Saskia Derkow (all from Germany), and Eva Spielbichler (from Austria), professional au pairs with APEX PROaupair

Four professional au pairs with surfboards (left to right): Marina Da, Julia Hinderhofer, Saskia Derkow (all from Germany), and Eva Spielbichler (from Austria), professional au pairs with APEX PROaupair

For many exchange visitors in the au pair program, California beach culture epitomizes the American dream – warm sunshine, sandy beaches, tall palm trees and talented surfers.

In December, APEX PROaupair held its 8th annual Surf Outing. Eighty-three professional au pairs living with host families all across the U.S. joined 14 staff members from the U.S. and Germany for a weekend of sunshine, surfing and “California dreaming” in San Clemente, California.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

State Department Publishes New Proposed Rule Notice for SWT

Posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2017 at 10:48 pm.

By Nathan Arnold, Director of Press Relations for Educational and Cultural Affairs

The Federal Register for January 12, 2007

The Federal Register for January 12, 2007

Today, we published a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Summer Work Travel Program” to the Federal Register. Through February 27, 2017, the State Department will be taking comments on proposed changes to the regulation that governs the J-1 Summer Work Travel Program. Read More ›

Categories: J-1 Visa

J-1 Host Family Celebrates a Dynamic Decade of Hosting Exchange Students

Posted on Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 at 9:47 pm.

By Sarah Bailey, Marketing Manager, EF High School Exchange Year
A version of this story was originally published on EF High School Exchange Year blog

Antonia- shown on the far right (EF Class of ‘08-09) joins the Schutte - Vanderzee wedding (Photo courtesy of EF High School Exchange Year)

Antonia- shown on the far right (EF Class of ‘08-09) joins the Schutte – Vanderzee wedding (Photo courtesy of EF High School Exchange Year)

Meet the Schutte Family from Rushmore, Minnesota, who are celebrating a decade of hosting exchange students!

What is the best part about hosting a J-1exchange student?

The special relationships that develop are priceless. Our three daughters have also benefitted immensely from these exchange experiences. We get just as much out of it as the students do. I regularly wake up to e-mails from my students, and we Skype with them weekly. This past fall, two of our daughters got married and each had a former exchange student as a bridesmaid in their weddings! Our students will always be like daughters to us and hold a special place in our hearts. Someday our girls will host too – it’s a no-brainer.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Sharing a Passion for Handball with “Family Away from Home”

Posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2017 at 8:48 pm.

By Steve Roberts, Marketing Coordinator at AuPairCare
A version of this story was originally published on the AuPairCare website.

Stefan, an au pair from Germany

Stefan, an au pair from Germany

Stefan had two goals in mind when he planned his stay in the United States: to be a great au pair for a very special family and to share his passion for the sport of handball with others in his new home. Having played handball since the age of five back in Germany, he felt that involving himself in something familiar would help ease the transition of moving to a new country.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Contributing to Marine Conservation, Making a Difference

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 at 9:00 pm.

By Alba Garcia Rodriguez, J-1 Intern from Spain

A version of this story was originally published on the InterExchange Blog.

Alba taking conch measurements in the Caribbean.

Alba taking conch measurements in the Caribbean.

Alba Garcia Rodriguez previously interned at the Ocean Conservancy and is now pursuing a graduate degree in marine management. She hopes to attend the 69th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Conference in the Cayman Islands to present her important work and is raising money to do so.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

The Best Life Experience

Posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2016 at 9:51 pm.

By Xiaowen Niu, J-1 Summer Work Travel participant from China

Wen celebrating the 4th of July in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin.

Wen celebrating the 4th of July in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin.

The J-1 Summer Work and Travel Program has been the best life experience I‘ve ever had.

During the summer of 2014, I worked at an ice cream and candy store in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin in scenic Door County. It was the first job that I had ever held in my life. Everything seemed so challenging, especially communicating with customers in English. At the beginning, I had trouble understanding my supervisor’s instructions and customer orders. My boss noticed that I was struggling and gave me a lot of training to help. She also knew I was interested in early childhood education, so she helped me find a volunteer opportunity once a week at a nearby day care center.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Hosting: American Connection, Bridges of Friendship

Posted on Friday, December 23rd, 2016 at 8:16 pm.

By Judy DuCharme, J-1 host family from Door County, Wisconsin

Cooking Chinese-style

Cooking Chinese-style

My house was full of smoke and laughter as six Chinese girls cooked all of their favorite dishes for my husband and I. They barely fit in my little kitchen, but they were having a wonderfully crazy time cooking the foods they missed from home.

Three things amazed me that night: the way the girls prepared the meal, slicing each green bean very carefully into five or six slices; how they set our table, like Thanksgiving but with foods we never imagined; and how they were so appreciative, so happy to cook for us and to be with u Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

Lessons Learned by J-1s: An Understanding of Yourself and Others

Posted on Tuesday, December 20th, 2016 at 8:20 pm.

By SunJeong Lee, Client Relations Officer, Cultural Vistas
A version of this blog post was originally published on the Cultural Vistas Blog.

A Korea WEST exchange participant teaches an American student in Jefferson High School in D.C. how to use chopsticks and a play Jegichagi (Korean hacky sack).

A Korea WEST exchange participant teaches an American student in Jefferson High School in D.C. how to use chopsticks and a play Jegichagi (Korean hacky sack).

Editor’s Note: How have your perceptions about America changed following your U.S. exchange program?

This is the question we’ve been asking J-1 exchange visitors as we explore how interactions between Americans and citizen of other countries are helping to strengthen individual ties and promote cooperation. J-1 exchange visitors are demonstrating that they are evolving into cultural ambassadors: individuals who will serve as leaders in their communities by bringing people together and fostering intercultural learning and understanding.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Leaving Your Comfort Zone to Help Kids as a J-1 Camp Counselor

Posted on Friday, December 16th, 2016 at 10:39 pm.

By Erik, J-1 Camp Counselor from Iceland
A version of this story was originally published on Camp America.

Nick and Erik behind the “Pleebs”.

Nick and Erik behind the “Pleebs”.

Hi everyone, my name is Erik and I’m from Iceland. I went to Camp Letts in Maryland during the summer of 2012, and I will never forget it.

I have a lot of good memories from camp! Being a camp counselor is more than just clocking in and out. You actually become a very important part of the children’s lives. Believe me when I say it, they will remember you for a very long time. The reason I know this is the fact that I had a very special moment at camp. I had a 12 year old kid in my cabin that was extremely shy and really didn’t want to be there…at all! He didn’t want to be a part of the activities, so I felt a bit sorry for the little guy.

I tried everything I could to get him to participate in activities. After a couple of days, he went from being a shy kid to the center of attention. It was a great week for both me and him.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Lessons Learned by J1s: Building Lifelong Friends and Networks

Posted on Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 at 7:57 pm.

By SunJeong Lee, Client Relations Officer, Cultural Vistas

A version of this blog post was originally published on the Cultural Vistas Blog.

During his athletic media relations internship at Binghamton University Jaehyuk (Jake) Lim, now a Korea WEST alumnus, formed a close bond with other WEST interns looking to gain experience with a Division I athletics program.

During his athletic media relations internship at Binghamton University Jaehyuk (Jake) Lim, now a Korea WEST alumnus, formed a close bond with other WEST interns looking to gain experience with a Division I athletics program.

[Note: This is part of a series featuring reflections from J-1 exchange visitors about how their perceptions of America changed after living, working, traveling and studying in the United States. This week, J-1s discuss how their cultural exchange experience helped them build lifelong friendships and networks.]

Time and time again, when we evaluate our programs we learn about the many meaningful friendships made, as well as the close contact that continues with colleagues and locals alike. Nearly 80% of our Train USA participants state that they will stay in touch with their personal and professional contacts. Case in point, a J-1 Trainee from Leipzig, Germany, said he has developed a more positive perception of the U.S. He will stay in touch with his American colleagues for professional advice once he is back in Germany, and also to share best industry practices.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

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About Keri Lowry

Deputy Assistant Secretary, Private Sector Exchanges


Keri Lowry is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchanges, where she oversees the Exchange Visitor Program, which brings over 300,000 foreign citizens to the United States annually to teach, study, hone their professional skills, strengthen their English language abilities, connect with Americans and learn more about the United States.

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