Route J-1


J-Day Reflections: Volunteering in Action

Posted on Friday, September 22nd, 2017 at 1:00 pm.

By Samantha Dille, Program Director at International Culture and Career Exchange (ICCE)

Exchange Visitors reflect on giving back to their local communities for J-Day,(https://j1visa.state.gov/eat-play-give-international-exchange-community-celebrates-j-day/) a nationwide event that raises awareness about cultural exchange and diversity. It also gives participants of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) the opportunity to give back to their communities and experience volunteerism in the United States.

J-1 participants with local volunteers and staff at L.A. Kitchen

In Los Angeles, J-1 participants joined forces with L.A. Kitchen. This inspiring local organization believes that neither food nor people should ever go to waste, and as a community, they should provide and give healthy meals to any Los Angeles community member who is in need of help. J-1 participants worked alongside local volunteers and chefs, chopping fruits and vegetables, to prepare meals for the hungry. After the community service activity, staff and J-1 participants gathered at nearby Los Angeles, historic park for pizzas and games. Later, participants broke into teams and made posters to share and express their opinions of what they have learned through community service.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Friendliness and Natural Beauty in North Carolina

Posted on Friday, September 15th, 2017 at 3:53 pm.

By Daria Romanovskaia, J-1 Summer Work and Travel participant from Russia

On top of Crowders Mountain, Crowders Mountain State Park North Carolina

This photo was taken on the top of Crowders Mountain, which is situated in Crowders Mountain State Park near Charlotte, North Carolina, where I am working as a lifeguard. It was one of my days off, which I spent with my coworker, a friend from Russia whom I met during my Work & Travel experience this summer. We went with an American family (a mother and her two sons) we got acquainted with at work. The family is really lovely, friendly, and funny.

We spent half of the day at the State Park and it was a beautiful time. It wasn’t as hot as it usually is, so it was perfect weather for hiking. And by the way hiking was an awesome workout! It took about an hour going up the cliff and the road itself was great because we were getting to know about the nature and wildlife of USA.  The best part awaited us at the top of the cliff. When you reach a rocky pass on the way up, a breathtaking view of the green lake of a forest opens to your eyes. You feel young, independent and free. It’s really hard to describe what is going on inside. It’s the kind of feeling when a mysterious transformation takes place in your thoughts and mind and you go down the mountain a different person.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

J-1s Volunteers Make a Big Impact on Local U.S. Communities

Posted on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 at 6:14 pm.

By Avery Benza, Human Resources & Recruitment Manager, American Hospitality Academy (AHA)

Throughout the summer,  J-1participants have been busy volunteering in their local communities. From food banks, to clean ups, to helping the homeless, our participants have been making a big impact in their communities.

Pamela Silva  [J-1 Trainee, Mexico] volunteered at the Kansas Food Bank. “It was incredible to see all that food donated for special causes. I decided to participate just to give back to America a few of what this country has done for me. It is really an amazing experience that I will do again for sure.”

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Seeing America through the Eyes of an Exchange Visitor

Posted on Monday, August 28th, 2017 at 1:18 pm.

By Jody Mayo, Communications Manager, Alliance Abroad Group
A version of this story was originally published on Alliance Abroad

James Bell of Alliance Abroad awards Vanja Dokic with a U.S. Internship

Life-defining moments are always unforgettable.  For Vanja Dokic, a third year hospitality and tourism student, that pivotal moment happened almost a year ago. The decision to volunteer at the annual World Youth Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) last year in his hometown of Belgrade, Serbia, determined his destiny.  After seven days at the conference, interacting with people with diverse backgrounds from all over the world,Vanja made up his mind that his professional calling would in the hospitality and tourism industry. But never did he imagine that the decision to participate in WYSTC would lead him to what he describes as a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to go to the United States. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

Changemaking in Action

Posted on Friday, August 18th, 2017 at 5:00 pm.

By Olga Adamovich, Director of Participant Experience, CIEE

Mahmoud Abdelkareem from the West Bank

During the first week of August, a select group of participants from the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program gathered on the campus of the American University in Washington, D.C. for the fifth annual CIEE Civic Leadership Summit. This is the third time two different designated J-1 sponsor organizations, CENET and CIEE, have partnered to bring together participants. This year, 45 fellows from 40 countries participated in the activities. This diversity of the participants intensified the richness of the summit experience as fellows worked together across country, culture, and language borders.

The three day program was comprised of a series of dynamic workshops designed to build intercultural awareness, social entrepreneurship skills, understanding of civics, and rule of law. To attend the summit, these young leaders were chosen from more than 2,100 applicants. Here is a sampling of their observations, told in their own words.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Eat. Play. Give. International Exchange Community Celebrates J-Day

Posted on Friday, August 11th, 2017 at 8:14 pm.

By Lynette Evans-Tiernan, Communications Manager for the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program

J-1s participate in beautification project of New York City’s East River Promenade. “We celebrated and had fun doing good things like gardening in New York.” – J-1 Au Pair Yuliet Velasquez Orozco from Colombia

Stewardship Coordinator Melinda Billings thrusts her hand into the air with a bunch of emerald weeds in her hand, fresh mounds of earth still attached to the base exposing wild spaghetti strand roots. “This is Crab Grass, Dyers Woad, and Mugwort,” her voice booms over the crowd. She holds the weeds up for the group to see and I raise my hand to shield my eyes from the bright rays of the sun to get a closer look.

It’s Sunday morning and I’ve traveled from Washington, D.C. to join a J-Day beautification volunteer project in New York City. We’re there to remove invasive weeds and plant species from the brick-lined East River Promenade, where many New Yorkers come to cycle, run and enjoy the great outdoors. Armed with gardening gloves, pruning and digging tools, shrub rakes, and wheel barrows, our group was ready to banish these harmful weeds. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

Unity in Diversity: Celebrating Ramadan in America

Posted on Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017 at 4:33 pm.

By Caroline Dewi, J-1 Trainee from Indonesia

I’m a program assistant at the Ohio State University. I was excited when I was offered the opportunity to travel to New York City to meet other J-1 trainees placed at Summerhill Landscape, Glover Perennials, and Old Westbury Garden in Long Island who are studying greenhouse and landscape management. It was a life changing experience.

Left: Atmosphere during Eid prayer at Al-Hikmah Mosque, New York| Right: Bagus, David, and Dara in front of the Mosque

The J-1 program is allowing me to explore worldwide knowledge and share my passion for horticulture. It also has given me the opportunity to experience Ramadan outside my home country, Indonesia. Even though I am not Muslim, many of my family members are. That’s why I celebrate Ramadan. Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam or a core ritual of the faith, and takes place during the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Throughout the duration of the month, Muslims abstain from food, water and sexual relations from dawn until sunset. It’s not just about abstaining from food and drink, but about learning to be a better and more patient person. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

Japanese High-Intensity Training Research in Colorado’s High Altitude

Posted on Friday, July 28th, 2017 at 2:51 pm.

By Cecile Schoberle, Director of Marketing and Communications, University of Colorado Denver

A version of the blog was originally published on International Newsroom

Dr. Tabata and his daughter in a fitness center at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus

Dr. Tabata and his daughter in a fitness center at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus

Dr. Izumi Tabata, PhD, and “father of high-intensity interval training (HIIT)” is currently a visiting J-1 scholar at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

“If you’re seeing stars and feel as if you can’t take another step, you’re doing the exercise right—but it is all worth it.” Variations of this theme are expressed by enthusiasts of the Tabata Training method worldwide. Also dubbed “The Four-Minute Miracle”, the system incorporates high-intensity interval training workouts within short bursts of time to create maximum aerobic and anaerobic benefits. VO2 max, which is the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense exercise, increases; resting metabolic rate after the exercise and glucose metabolism are also improved. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

International Exchange Experience leads to Career Choice

Posted on Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 at 5:40 pm.

Sarah Sampaio, J-1 Trainee Alumnae from Brazil
A version of the blog was originally published on the CENET blog

Sarah in Salt Lake City, UT

I decided to participate in the J-1 program to obtain more professional experience and learn about practices and culture in the United States. To me, the idea that I could gain cultural and life experiences along with improving my professional skills in one program really attracted me to the J-1 status.

The program showed me that I was a lot stronger than I had given myself credit for. It also made me more independent and proactive in my learning and professional experiences. It gave me the opportunity to build rapport with people from different cultural, socio-economic and professional backgrounds and it inspired me to learn from my colleagues and build a solid work relationship and even friendships. Since my J-1 program completed in 2013, I am still in contact with the friends I made in Salt Lake City, Utah while living there, even though I’ve been pursuing my PhD and working in London for the past two years. I made friends for life and learned so much. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

Impressions of the Windy City

Posted on Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 at 2:27 pm.

By Javier M., J-1 Intern from Mexico
J-1 Intern Javier M. from Mexico talks about his experiences living in Chicago:

What does your exchange experience mean to you?

One of the most amazing things that can happen to a human being is to have the opportunity to travel; to live new experiences, meet new people and a new culture. It is the door that takes you to another world and definitely when you come back home, something has changed, in some inexplicable way, you are not the same anymore.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

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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.

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