Route J-1

Good Samaritans: Helping Hands during Hurricane Harvey

Posted on Tuesday, November 28th, 2017 at 3:14 pm.

By Jody Mayo, Company Storyteller and Writer for Alliance Abroad Group
A version of this story was originally published on Alliance Abroad

Kush preparing a United Aerial Drone for flight testing.

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Kush Sutaria, a J-1 intern, was on a sales call in San Antonio, fortunately out of the fury of the storm’s eye. As it turns out, being in San Antonio proved fortuitous in other ways. Kush was exactly in the right place to be able to assist Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. military with hurricane disaster relief efforts.

Kush spent the summer interning at United Aerial, a drone data collection and management company based in Houston, Texas. Kush attributes his academic background and the fact that he has a private pilot’s license as being important reasons he was asked to join the company. The boutique company offers highly-specialized technology and has a very unique culture. Kush’s enthusiasm and education made him a great addition to the team. Kush’s background also made it easy for him to obtain a remote pilot’s certificate for drones. It was a skill that proved invaluable in the very real disaster scenario he encountered. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

For Third Year Running, J-1 International Exchange Visitors Will Be New York City Marathon’s Largest and Most Diverse Volunteer Contingent

Posted on Thursday, November 2nd, 2017 at 1:49 pm.

By Carlos Rodriguez-Cruz y Celis, Intern and Lynette Evans-Tiernan, Communications Manager for the J-Visa Exchange Visitor Program

J-1 Volunteers support runners at the TCS New York City Marathon

More than 1,400 participants who are in the United States on the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program– including students, interns, au pairs, and research scholars – are volunteering at the TCS New York City Marathon on November 5, 2017, the world’s largest marathon.

The exchange visitors will comprise more than 14 percent of the total volunteers at the marathon. They will stand alongside U.S. volunteers at miles 5 and 6 in Brooklyn and mile 18 in Harlem. As they provide water and moral support to nearly 50,000 runners from more than 135 countries, they will experience firsthand the American values of volunteerism and civic engagement.

Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

From Burning Man Art to Black Bears, Our (un)typical year in America

Posted on Monday, October 23rd, 2017 at 12:29 pm.

By Eva Dolezalova, J-1 Short-Term Scholar from Czech Republic

Eva’s wedding day in Las Vegas, Nevada

You can see my husband and me on our wedding day in the picture above. If you guess that we married in Las Vegas, you are right. We married in 2012 and since then we fell in love with the USA. The breathtaking view of Half Dome at sunset will always be imprinted on our hearts. We were just tourists at the time, but we knew that we wanted to come back and stay a little longer to experience more of the life and culture in America.

A few years after, I applied and was accepted for a post-doctoral position at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. I should also say that something changed since 2012, my husband and I had a beautiful little daughter. I was worried about moving and about her, especially because I was a new mother, but we eventually decided that this was “the chance” not to be missed. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

Ambassadors Impacting the Future of Cultural Diplomacy

Posted on Thursday, October 5th, 2017 at 7:52 pm.

By Lynette Evans-Tiernan, Communications Manager for the J-Visa Exchange Visitor Program
A version of this story was also published on the CHI News Blog

Cultural Ambassadors from Malaysia, Poland, Uzbekistan, Russia and Jamaica
proudly represent their countries

From August 14-16, fourteen distinguished winners from Cultural Homestay International’s (CHI’s) Summer Work & Travel program, representing ten different countries, were chosen to participate in CHI’s Cultural Ambassador Award (CAA) Conference, in Washington, DC.

Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

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)
A version of this story was originally published on ICCE blog

Exchange Visitors reflect on giving back to their local communities for 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.

Read More ›

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.

Read More ›

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.”

Read More ›

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

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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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