Route J-1

The Countdown Begins! J-1s Will Volunteer at New York City Marathon

Posted on Tuesday, October 25th, 2016 at 9:52 pm.

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

Four young people in green rain slickers hold cups of water on side of marathon course.

J-1 Visa Exchange Visitors Volunteer at the 2015 TCS NYC Marathon

We’ve officially started the countdown to the New York City Marathon, Sunday, November 6.

Why are we at the State Department so excited about this event? Well, more than 1,000 J-1 exchange visitors – students, interns, au pairs, and research scholars – will be volunteering at rest and water stops along the race course to support the 50,000 runners from over 135 countries who will run the race. These J-1 students will be the largest single group of volunteers at the race, onsite to ensure the marathon runs smoothly. In additional, several J-1 exchange visitors will be running the marathon.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

J1 Student’s Grandfather Inspires Her Doctoral Journey

Posted on Friday, October 21st, 2016 at 4:33 pm.

By Samantha Chaitram, J-1 Doctorate Student from Trinidad and Tobago

Older man and young woman stand side by side

Samantha and her grandfather Emamly.

When my dad passed away in 2001, my grandfather became the single most important person in my life. He became my father and my grandfather. When I was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 2012, I asked my grandpa, what should I do? His response was, “Islam teaches that we must seek as much knowledge as we can find.”

My grandfather is the reason I am here today at the University of Miami pursuing doctoral studies. An Indian Muslim born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1931, my grandfather Emamly Hosein spoke English, Hindi, and Urdu – and read Arabic. He was one of the few of his generation who was literate, and while he never had the opportunity to attend high school, he read everything he got his hands on. While many Indian men of his era only educated their sons and married off their daughters, he broke that tradition. He educated as best as he could his sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters equally. His dream was to see me graduate from an American university with a PhD, write my first book, and see my picture on it.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Dads and Daughters: Changing Gender Stereotypes One Slimy Snail at a Time

Posted on Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 at 8:42 pm.

By Sonija Luzi, J-1 Research Scholar from Italy

When a baby is born, a mother is born. This doesn’t necessarily happen to fathers. When we found out we were expecting, we were overjoyed. I was dreaming of a little girl to dress in pink tutus and go to the spa with. My husband was more of the idea of an exuberant boy and their soccer games together, their monster fights, snails and lizard and slime… eww green slime!

Without noticing it, we were already caught in gender stereotypes, where girls dress in pink and practice ballet and boys go search for snails and play soccer.

When the baby was finally in our arms, we welcomed the most adorable little girl. I was ecstatic! My husband was very happy, but somehow, this new role of father of a girl weighted a little more on his shoulders. He didn’t feel the same complicity and connection he was expecting. He was the father of a girl, he needed to protect her and eventually worry about miniskirts and makeup.
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Categories: Program Spotlight

Ideas from the Our Ocean, One Future Leadership Summit

Posted on Wednesday, October 12th, 2016 at 3:01 pm.

By Mariliis Eensalu, J-1 Intern from Estonia

Climate change affects everything, including the Ocean. The cause for this change is not fully understood; nevertheless, humankind can work towards reducing the ecological footprint. On September 15-16, I had the pleasure of attending “Our Ocean, One Future Leadership Summit” hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, D.C. The conference was organized to engage the next generation of political leaders, entrepreneurs, and scientists to identify solutions and commit to actions to protect our ocean – so it can continue to sustain us all in the future.

Mariliis Eensalu at Our Ocean, One Future Leadership Summit at the State Department.

Mariliis Eensalu at Our Ocean, One Future Leadership Summit at the State Department.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

A Delightful Internship in Horticulture

Posted on Friday, October 7th, 2016 at 3:06 pm.

By Kata, J-1 Intern from Austria

Katya rotating plant racks at her internship at Plant Delights.

Katya rotating plant racks at her internship at Plant Delights.

Going to another country and experiencing their way of life was something I always desired. At a very young age, I did several exchanges to countries like New Zealand and Spain, but I was never interested in going to the United States. Nevertheless, I think it was meant to be that I heard about this great nursery called Plant Delights, a mail order nursery that exists to create an amazing botanical garden in the so-called triangle area of North Carolina. Having spent most of my youth in a specialty nursery, I knew this was the place to be to receive further training for my horticultural career.

In 2015, I started doing more research on Plant Delights as part of my master’s thesis on networks and knowledge transfer in the perennial business. It only made sense to include this nursery in my research since it is internationally known for its exotic and highly rare perennials. After a one day visit to this nursery and botanical garden, I knew that this is where I wanted to do an internship. I talked to my intern coordinator and was connected with J-1 sponsor Ohio State University, who helped me obtain a J-1 visa.  After a lot of paperwork, I was ready for departure on February 1. When I arrived in the United States, my coordinator picked me up from the airport, took me to my future home and showed me around.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Seeing the Business Side of High End Retail Sparks Ideas for J-1 Interns

Posted on Tuesday, October 4th, 2016 at 9:14 pm.

By J-1 Intern Anna Martynova from Russia
Originally published on InterExchange Blog

J-1s admire jewelry byTurkish designer Sevan Bicakçi

J-1s admire jewelry by Turkish designer Sevan Bicakçi

As a marketing intern, I am very curious about marketing, branding and advertising of industry leading companies. So, I was thrilled to receive an invitation to InterExchange’s cultural meetup at Barneys New York Madison Avenue location. Luxury retail is one of the most challenging and interesting industries for marketing, especially in New York City, and I was very excited to get a chance to learn more about it.

Barneys is more than a luxury department store in NYC: it’s an iconic store that has become a part of fashion’s history. It has built a worldwide market presence and now has customers all over the world. But I had no idea how the company got to where it is – and I was looking forward to finding out.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Living a Dream

Posted on Friday, September 30th, 2016 at 2:56 pm.

By Binish Desai, Secondary School Student from India

Blog originally published on Rotary Voices

Binish Desai and the brick his company makes from industrial waste.

Binish Desai and the brick his company makes from industrial waste.

India is my Nation
Valsad is my Station
Helping is my Aim
Binish is my Name

I’ll never forget the introduction I used as an exchange student.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

A J-1 Experience in Sales Opens Entrepreneurial Doors

Posted on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 at 2:17 pm.

By Evelina Prodnova, J-1 Summer Work Travel Alumni from Bulgaria

group of women at table

Evelina organizes a monthly business meeting to discuss challenges for women in the workplace.

My first summer as a J-1 exchange student was in 2007. I was a first year at university and had worked the previous four summers in the Sea Resorts in Bulgaria as a shop assistant. I learned about the Southwestern Advantage program by chance. It sounded weird and different. I was going to gain communication skills by selling educational products door-to-door. I decided to take the chance as I was selected to be part of the program for that summer even though it sounded tough (and not appealing to knock on doors).

I ended up doing really well and was asked to take part in the management program. I ended up working with the company for six years, gaining much more than expected: mentors who helped me develop my leadership potential, skills obtained through management and sales training, and experience gained from recruiting teams and leading sales organizations – all in the ages when I was developing myself as a person, as a professional. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

J-1’s Accept the ‘Be a Changemaker Challenge’

Posted on Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 at 9:29 pm.

By Kate Verey, CIEE Senior Director of Work & Travel USA

group of participants

2016 Civic Leadership Summit participants contributing their ideas!

This August a select group of 62 students from the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program gathered at American University in Washington, D.C. for the CIEE Civic Leadership Summit, a three-day event that brings together passionate, young leaders from around the world for a dynamic exchange on leadership, social entrepreneurship, and cultural understanding. This group of Fellows represented 33 countries from three different designated J-1 sponsor organizations (CENET, Spirit and CIEE).

A highlight of the Summit was a daylong workshop called the ‘Be a Changemaker Challenge’ led by Ashoka’s Youth Venture, an organization that inspires and supports teams of young people to launch and lead their own community benefiting initiatives. During the Challenge, Fellows identified their passions to create change for social issues, and then worked in groups to develop plans for launching their own social ventures in their home countries. Read More ›

Categories: Participants, Program Spotlight

Making Peace One Exchange at a Time

Posted on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 at 9:07 pm.

By Marcellin Niset, J-1 Secondary School Student from Belgium
This story was originally featured on Rotary Voices

participant standing in front of sign saying Welcome to Alaska

Belgian Exchange Student Marcellin Niset in Alaska

The Italian-American author and actress Vanna Bonta wrote, “There’s no hospitality like understanding.” That quote stuck with me as a Rotary Youth Exchange student to Alaska in 2015-16. I arrived in Alaska, a wilderness filled with beauty and love, determined to make my exchange purposeful and beneficial for myself, my host community, and the world.

An exchange is not only about a student going abroad, it is about all the people that make this exchange possible, and the ones that are impacted, directly and indirectly. Read More ›

Categories: J-1 Visa, Participants, 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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