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Ensuring the Safety and Security of ECA Exchange Participants

Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2018 at 8:58 pm.

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

At the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, we have a steadfast and enduring commitment to safety and security. This commitment extends not only to U.S. citizens and diplomats overseas, but also to the thousands of exchange visitors from every sector of society who participate in educational and cultural exchange programs abroad and here in the United States.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Enriching the Lives of Others Outdoors

Posted on Friday, February 16th, 2018 at 5:36 pm.

By, Liz Horne, J-1 Camp Counselor Alumna from Australia

I can vividly remember my first drive down Frost Valley Road, it was mid-June 1986, the light dancing through the trees, the crystal clear water of the Neversink River (smiling in the back seat of the caravan I thought “what a great name for a river – should be good for teaching someone to swim”), the smell of the Catskills Mountain summer and the welcome I received from the summer camp leadership team.

“Ready for anything”

I had arrived early and knew I would be helping with those last minute preparations before camp. Over the next week I tried my hand at fencing horse enclosures, mucking stables, cleaning cabins, moving equipment from its winter storage place to its summer activity area, all the while working beside someone who was thankful for the help and willing to teach me the ropes.

One-by-one as the staff arrived, staff training came and went, I was prepared for what was to come. That first summer I worked as a counsellor in Windsong with the 15 and 16 year old girls and what a treat that was.  We, the staff and the campers laughed, cried, challenged each other, explored topics that all 15/16 year old girls need to talk about in a safe environment, and decided together that girls could do a two night overnight just as easily as boys could, and hiked over Wildcat Mountain to Gusty’s Pavilion.  Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

A Whole New World

Posted on Thursday, February 8th, 2018 at 4:38 pm.

By Soroth San, J-1 Intern from Cambodia
A version of this story was published on CIEE blog

Finally, my chance to see the Atlantic Ocean in person (not just in a book or on a map!)

I was born and grew up in a poor village in Cambodia. I moved to the capital city, Phnom Penh, and became a student at the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL), majoring in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. I was working as Head of School in Cambodia at an elementary school, encountering a ton of challenges including discipline issues, quality of education, interactions with students’ parents. I was eager for an opportunity to look at other parts of the developed world which have gone through and  successfully implemented education philosophies.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

The Positive Cultural Impact of Summer Camp

Posted on Tuesday, January 30th, 2018 at 10:14 pm.

By Eli Rolli, Camp Director, YMCA Camp Benson

Read testimonials from international students who served as camp counselors at YMCA Camp Benson during the summer of 2017.

Amy Carolan inside Fort Benson

“While at camp we often heard the phrase ‘child X needs camp’, I never really understood this phrase but I went with it anyway. It was only at the end of the summer after 10 weeks of camp in the USA that I fully understood the phrase. At 21 years old, I realized that I needed camp. My J-1 experience not only allowed me to make a positive impact on the lives of thousands of young Americans, but it also made the most positive impact on my life. It helped me in ways I could never have imagined. It bettered me physically, mentally and spiritually. It is an experience that is so unique to America and something without the J-1 visa I would never have had the chance to experience. I made friends for life during my summer camp experience from all over the world and I got the chance to immerse myself in American culture. International students need summer camp and summer camps need international students. Without my J-1 experience I would be a completely different person. Camp changed me as a person and my outlook on life. It made me a more positive person. It changed me for the better. Camp has the power to change so many lives.” – Amy “Sunshine” Carolan (Ireland)

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Au Pairs Join the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Posted on Thursday, January 25th, 2018 at 6:36 am.

By Cristina Barraza, Marketing Manager, AuPairCare
A version of this story was published on AuPairCare

Au Pairs sitting together

Au pairs celebrating the end of their 5k walk. They were thrilled to take part in such a great cause.

Last fall, AuPairCare au pairs and team members from Westchester County participated in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Purchase, NY. The au pairs made up a diverse group, being from Spain, Colombia, and China. It was a memorable day, as they had the chance to walk with 20,000 people and raise awareness and funds to save lives from breast cancer.

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Categories: Participants, Program Spotlight

Camp Brings People From Different Cultures Closer Together

Posted on Tuesday, January 16th, 2018 at 5:07 pm.

Katarína Bacigálová – Poláková, J-1 Camp Counselor Alumna from Slovakia

Camp Counselors at YMCA Camp Wood

Participating in the J-1 program was an amazing experience full of adventure, meaningful work, cultural enrichment and friendships that last a lifetime.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

3,500 Miles of Memories

Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 at 7:05 pm.

By Aleksandra Węgrzyn and Mateusz Stankiewicz, J-1 Interns from Poland

Display Garden, Pleasant View Gardens, Loudon, NH

My name is Aleksandra and together with my fiancé Mateusz we are students from Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland.

We came to the United States for an internship. We worked in Pleasant View Gardens, which is a greenhouse located in beautiful New Hampshire. We loved the state for its lakes and mountains. The views were gorgeous! The company we worked in is one of the leaders in liner (small plants) production in the whole country. It is famous for the diversity of plants it offers – from annuals and perennials to herbs and vegetables. We spent some time working in different departments that allowed us to see and understand how the whole company works. The internship itself was really interesting. We learned more than we could have ever expected and made many friends we’ll try to stay in touch with. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

2017: Year in Review

Posted on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 at 9:57 pm.

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

Let’s take a look back at some of the stories that shaped an extraordinary year of the Exchange Visitor Program.

2,300 mile bicycle adventure on Route 66
Au pair Tamires took a solo cycling trip through Historic Route 66! “I met a lot of nice people while I was cycling. Real people with real stories.”

Welcomed the First Outbound Rotary Exchange Student from Nepal
Seema Tamang traveled to the United States as the first outbound Rotary Exchange student from Nepal. “Being blind, I have to admit I was a bit scared at first, but it did not take long to adapt, and enjoy an amazing experience.”

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Categories: Program Spotlight

At Per Se, International Chefs Take a Seat at the Table

Posted on Wednesday, December 20th, 2017 at 6:05 pm.

By Anna Boisseau, Communications Officer, Cultural Vistas
A version of this story was published on Cultural Vistas Blog

Pierre Pouplard mans the Saucier station at Per Se. He’s using cherry tomatoes that he picked out himself at a local farmer’s market. Photo by: Peter Plotica

You’ll see a different menu every time you walk through the blue doors of Per Se, the Michelin three-starred New York restaurant located across from Central Park. This creativity is in part due to the diverse staff that collaborates in the Per Se Kitchen, including international trainees.

With Chef de Cuisine Eli Kaimeh at its helm, the restaurant invents new concepts for their nine-course tasting menu daily. While the overall vision of the restaurant is Thomas Keller’s, the whole kitchen staff of 40 is involved in planning the next day’s dishes. “[It’s] usually a discussion by everybody sitting around a table. And that [really] includes everybody,” said Kaimeh. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

First Outbound Rotary Youth Exchange from Nepal

Posted on Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 at 5:40 pm.

By Seema Tamang, Secondary School Student, Kathmandu, Nepal
A version of this story was published on Rotary Voices

Seema Tamang, third from left, with other Rotary Youth exchange students

Seema Tamang, the first rotary youth exchange student from Kathmandu Nepal talks to us about her high school exchange in the United States.

Describe your home life in the United States.

During the 2016-17 school year, I was thrilled to be the first outbound exchange student from Nepal. Being blind, I have to admit I was a bit scared at first, as home life in the United States was much different than in Nepal. In my host-family’s home I had my own room, which was a new experience for me. I was used to sleeping in the same room with my sisters and with other girls in the dormitory at school. Being in a large home was very different and exciting as I got to explore every room and orient myself so that I could move about safely and quickly. It didn’t take me too long to be able to find everything by myself. It seems funny now that when I first arrived I asked my host-mom where the water bucket and pitcher was for flushing the toilet, like we do in Nepal.

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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

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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