On August 3, 2015, a number of U.S. J-1 visa sponsors joined forces to celebrate J Day — a nationwide celebration of the power of international exchange.
International exchange participants across the country came together with their American hosts to share cultural diversity and American customs, to give back to their communities, and to have fun.
Potential Summer Work Travel participants, along with Turkish alumni, U.S. employers, and program staff recently participated in a volunteer activity to plant 350 trees in the Eskisehir region of Turkey, and enjoyed a day of digging, teamwork, and Turkish sweets.
The event was organized by Summer Work Travel (SWT) program sponsor CCI Greenheart, in collaboration with its Turkish partner, who formed an alliance with a local environmental group.
Crowds lined up at the end of the Philadelphia finish line cheering the racers home November 17th. At the finish line, more than 30,000 marathon and half marathon participants were greeted by Au pairs volunteering for the American Cancer Society, handing out race bags full of snacks and gifts.
Close to a dozen Au pairs participated in the event. The countries represented were Brazil, China, Columbia, Salvador, Ecuador, Germany, Panama, South Africa, and Mexico. Au pair Ophelia Mengting He from China said about her experience:
Shortly after their arrival in the U.S., a group of SWT participants was given the chance to engage with the local community at a volunteering event, where participants learned about the important aspect of volunteerism in American culture and got to practice their English.
Local Coordinator Jennifer Tausworthe and twelve CCI Greenheart exchange students recently completed a Greenheart Project that involved cleaning up beaches in Texas. Greenheart Projects are environmental or social service projects that are designed to introduce CCI Greenheart students to volunteering, while also developing deeper connections with their host communities.
At a recent lunch hosted by InterExchange, Jill Harrington, the Executive Director of the North Country Ministry (NCM), thanked the international students for helping solicit donations for NCM and recognized the importance of cultural exchange for both the Lake George community and for Americans interested in going abroad to learn about other cultures and countries.
Summer Work Travel USA international students, host employers and other members of the community attended to deliver their collected donations and spend time with their peers and colleagues from Lake George.
Summer Work Travel students took to the trails in Saco, Maine, as part the Center for Cultural Interchange's Going Greenheart Tour. CCI staff members, Erin Nyhan and Muffy Grant, along with 20 CCI Work and Travel participants worked with the Old Orchard Beach Conservation Commission on a variety of projects, from maintaining trails to installing fence posts at a community garden.
An exchange year for high school students is oftentimes a life-changing experience. Yet, the student is not the only one who grows and transforms. Local Coordinators, the individuals who find schools and volunteer host families in their communities, walk with the student throughout their exchange program and are the lucky ones to not only witness the change, but also experience it themselves. Here is a personal story from one Local Coordinator, who is also a managing Area Coordinator in Wisconsin for the Center for Cultural Interchange.
The Summer Work Travel (SWT) program is in full swing and for Center for Cultural Interchange (CCI) that means the Going Greenheart Tour is visiting SWT participants, their employers and their communities all across the U.S.
New York, NY, May 18, 2012 --- InterExchange Au Pair USA au pairs, who are hosted by families in the Bergen and Passaic Counties, had an opportunity to give back to their adopted community this month when all 21 au pairs volunteered at the Go the Distance for Autism Bike Event on Sunday, May 6th.
Dawn Middleton, the InterExchange Au Pair USA Local Coordinator for Bergen and Passaic Counties, says volunteering at the event was a way to show support and love to one of InterExchange’s longtime host families, the Snyder family, who has a son with autism.