Route J-1

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

Four Months as a New Yorker

Posted on Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 at 1:00 pm.

By Nick Hvidtfeldt, J-1 Intern from Denmark

Nick enjoying the fall foliage in New York’s Central Park

During my four months in New York City I made sure to take advantage of all the exciting opportunities this place has to offer. I rarely had a dull moment, and my friends would often ask me, “Are you even interning?!” because of all the cultural activities and traveling I did. I promise I was! But I utilized every second of my free time to go somewhere new and do something fun.

I made it a priority to visit every New York City borough and explore every neighborhood of Manhattan. I found that an excellent way to do this was to go on guided theme tours. You can find all sorts of different ones that suit your interests. I went on a bubbly tour of Greenwich Village with a drag queen, a fascinating historical tour of Harlem, the Sex and the City hotspots tour, a tasty pizza tour in Brooklyn and many more. I was continually surprised by the myriad of stories each place has and how many different ‘flavors’ can be found in this city. And speaking of flavors, the numerous street food markets I visited around town always satisfied my culinary cravings and opened my eyes to levels of deliciousness I never knew existed!

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Au Pair Finds Herself on Route 66

Posted on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 at 2:01 pm.

By Joanne Hritz, Director of Marketing at AuPairCare

A version of this story was originally published on AuPairCare

Tamires at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona

As if leaving her family, friends and her familiar life in Brazil to come to America as an au pair wasn’t adventurous enough, au pair Tamires also decided to take on the challenge of a solo cycling trip through Historic Route 66!

Tamires in New Mexico – Land of Enrichment

From its golden days in the 1930s, to the decline in the 1960s and the resurgence in recent years, Route 66 has always had a prominent spot in popular culture. Known also as the ‘Main Street of America,’ it was built in 1926 and was one of the original roads within the U.S. Highway system. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

Inspiring and Teaching Using Robotics

Posted on Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 at 3:09 pm.

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

Teacher and Robotics coach Wilmar Lee (left) with sixth grade students holding mobile robots

Wilmar Lee is a robotics fanatic and she’s passing her infectious passion to middle school students in Houston, Texas.  She is a Filipino citizen participating in a J-1 visa teacher exchange program.  Back home, on the other side of the world, Wilmar taught math, computer and MAPEH (Music, Art, PE, & Health) classes for 12 years. She was also an innovator and proponent of using robotics as a way to engage students and promote science, technology, engineering, and math studies.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

A Cross-Cultural Gateway to America

Posted on Thursday, May 25th, 2017 at 9:13 pm.

By Leslie Costa, J-1 Intern from France

Leslie Costa visiting U.S. Senate Office Building

In 2007, I graduated from the University of Montesquieu in Bordeaux, France, with a degree in economics and law, before moving to Paris to study a Masters degree in corporate finance. During my studies, I undertook multiple internships that provided a strong foundation of knowledge for entering into the financial world.  However, in a post-recession business world, I found it difficult to get an entry-level job. Employers repeatedly told me I needed additional experience. Determined to acquire the skills I needed and propel myself into a new realm of experience in a stubborn European marketplace, I set my sights on the United States and a corporate world that would open many more doors of opportunity.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Exchange Experience Inspires Open-Mindedness and Confidence

Posted on Friday, May 19th, 2017 at 12:19 pm.

A version of this story was originally published on CIEE Alumni Blog

Nathan working at Frontier City amusement park in Oklahoma City

Nathan Britton Wunsonti Musah participated in the J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program in 2008, traveling from Ghana to experience working and living in Oklahoma City as a ride attendant at Frontier City amusement park. Nathan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. He currently works for the major political opposition party in Ghana. In addition to political work, Nathan exercises his drawing talent in his spare time.

Nathan shares lessons learned from his Summer Work and Travel program experience: Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

A Diplomatic Reception

Posted on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 at 8:36 pm.

By Sasha Gerhardson, J-1 Manager, The Washington Center


Group photo of J-1s Interns in Thomas Jefferson State Reception Room

On Tuesday, May 25, seven J-1 interns from Mexico and two staff members from the Washington Center participated in a meet and greet roundtable discussion with State Department staff followed by a one hour guided tour of the Department’s Diplomatic Reception Rooms. In this blog entry, J-1s share their reflections about their visit.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Hospitality Beyond Borders

Posted on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017 at 8:34 pm.

By Jewel Bartido Villanueva, J-1 Intern from the Philippines

Editor’s Note: We asked J-1 participants to answer a few questions about their experience. Below are responses from Jewel Bartido Villanueva.

Jewel discovers the Wonders of the Sea at SeaWorld

Route J-1: Jewel, It’s so nice to meet you. Tell me, how’s your internship going?

Jewel: My internship is going well. It’s been a great chance for me to grow professionally in the hospitality industry in one of the greatest host properties. Hawks Cay Resort values students and graduates that want to train with them.

Route J-1: That’s good news. Is there anything your host employer did to make your transition into your new job easier?

Jewel: Yes, when I started working, my employer hosted employee gatherings to welcome the new members of the team, just like me. I was able to meet and socialize with the people I would be working with. There was food and games for us. And we also received updates about the resort. I had fun with my coworkers during this time because I got a chance to know and interact with them. Also, we had a New Hire Orientation/Training that familiarized us with the work culture and standards of our host property.

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Categories: Program Spotlight

Reflections: Scandinavian Exchange Students Share Their Experiences

Posted on Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 at 3:19 pm.

By Jessica Laus, Internships & Training Coordinator, America-Scandinavian Foundation

Four J-1 Interns and Trainees reflect and share highlights from their exchange experience. Read their stories and share in their personal journey.

Meet Lisbet Fritze Christensen,
Danish, trainee at BIG in New York City

Lisbet with her coworkers at BIG

What did you like most about your stay in the United States?

I really love New York as a city and all the different people who live there. It’s so much more diverse than Copenhagen. Whenever I’m back in Denmark, I feel like everybody looks the same and talks the same. Here in New York everybody looks different, dresses different, speaks different, and has a totally different history and background. It’s really been an eye opener. People are very open and I have felt very welcome in the city. I also love that there are so many nice cafes and restaurants and that people are very social. Everybody in the city is busy, which makes appointments very flexible and open. There is always room for one more and if you cancel last minute because you have to work its totally fine – it’s less strict and more inclusive than in Denmark. Read More ›

Categories: Program Spotlight

Summer Work Travel Monitoring Report Released

Posted on Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 at 6:44 pm.

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

Ocean City, Maryland police conduct a safety demonstration for J-1 participants working in the beach community.

This past summer, State Department monitoring teams visited 446 placement sites across 25 states in our efforts to monitor the health, safety, and welfare of participants. Along the way, we also stopped to listen, as J-1 participants shared with us ideas for continuing to improve the program. In total, our teams interviewed 1,582 J-1 students and 362 American host placement supervisors. The findings of these monitoring visits are now available in the 2016 Summer Work Travel Monitoring Report, including charts breaking down the findings, ranging from participant costs to hours worked to cultural activities in American communities.

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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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