Celebrating our Hosts
In 2022, host organizations and host families in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan) welcomed InterExchange program participants and shared with them American culture, lifestyle and traditions.
It is such a joy, from the interview process until participants’ last day, to see the excitement and passion the Work & Travel USA students have about coming to experience a new culture for the season. Those three months go by in a flash! While the students are here, we are also learning from them and gaining new perspectives. Seeing everyone, meaning the exchange program students and associates mesh so well, it is so enlightening!
Human Resources Business Partner, Bluegreen Vacations Corporation
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Work and Travel USA host employer
Part of LBNL's core mission is to train the next generation of scientists. With over 1,700 visiting scholars, it is evident that international exchange is critical for conducting rich, inclusive, and high impact science with broad reaching global impact. Hosting and working with international interns and trainees is a feature of the labs inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) program.
Research Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Career Training USA host organization
Hosting international counselors brings so much depth and richness to our summer camp program. We all learn from one another, and their work with our campers with disabilities offers them skills that they can take back to their home countries. This exchange makes such a positive global impact!
Director at Lions Camp Badger
Camp USA host employer
Facilitating Meaningful Cultural Exchange
Providing our participants with opportunities to meet each other and their local host community members, form relationships, engage in intercultural sharing, expand worldviews while having fun and enjoying nice moments together are always at the forefront of our cultural engagement programming.
Celebrating Exchange Day 2022
Per our annual tradition, on the first Monday in August, the InterExchange community celebrated Exchange Day - the worldwide celebration of the power of international exchange and people-to-people diplomacy.
In 2022, we hosted our first in-person Exchange Day event since 2019 and welcomed 50 participants on Governors Island in New York City. The tag line for Exchange Day is "Eat. Play. Give." and that's exactly what our happy group did: we had fun riding bicycles (courtesy of our Work & Travel USA host employer - Blazing Saddles) and exploring the island, made new friends while sharing a meal, and gave back to NYC by learning about its ecology and marine life with the Billion Oyster Project.
Take a moment to follow these hashtags on social media #exchangesimpact #exchangeday #eatplaygive to see celebrations around the country. Thank you to everyone who came and made this day so special!
Volunteering at the 2022 TCS NYC Marathon
On November 6, 2022 New York City enjoyed the spirit of the TCS NYC Marathon. Over the past seven years, BridgeUSA Program participants from around the world have experienced American volunteerism while meeting and socializing at marathons in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle. Our very own InterExchange participants have been joining the TCS NYC Marathon as volunteers since 2016!
This year, our team showed our international spirit at Mile 19 - a liquid station where our group was helping thousands of runners stay hydrated as they were about to run across the Willis Avenue Bridge on their way from Manhattan to the Bronx. A special treat for everyone was a quick visit from our colleagues at the U.S. Department of State and cheering for our very own 2022 Marathon Champions: our Camp USA Program host employer - Camp IHC team - running in support of SCOPE (Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education), and our colleague from the Work & Travel USA team - Smita J.
Putting the Spotlight on American Host Communities
American host communities, along with dedicated Community Support Groups, are an integral part of the successful cultural exchange experience, for both program participants and American hosts. Community members, volunteers, program hosts, local Chambers of Commerce, public institutions and elected officials - all play an important role in making participants feel welcome and safe, and help facilitate participants’ integration and belonging in their host community in the United States.
This year, we are happy to shine the spotlight on one of the Work & Travel USA Program host communities in the North-East - Cape Ann, MA.
In 2022, Cape Ann hosted a group of InterExchange participants representing 15 countries: Albania, Azerbaijan, Columbia, Ecuador, France, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mongolia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey and Uzbekistan!
The program and hosting experience turned out to be a great success for both participants and the Cape Ann community thanks to collaboration between multiple stakeholders: Cape Ann Works, a local program for employers and student-employees, the Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, Gordon College in Wenham and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton that provided affordable summer housing for international students, and the Cape Ann Transportation Authority that provided safe and convenient transportation.
The Cape Ann community also provided engaging and meaningful cultural opportunities: from barbecues, sports and bowling nights, to a very special visit to Boston to attend a session at the Massachusetts State House and a fun Labor Day cookout, to name a few.
We are so delighted that you have chosen to come to Massachusetts and that you have chosen to come to Cape Ann. We think that these are special places and we are sure that after some time here you will agree ... and we hope that after you depart ... that you will always want to return, and we will be delighted to welcome you and, as importantly, that you will keep part of Massachusetts and Cape Ann in your hearts and remember us always, and remember the bond, the international bond that we are developing together.
MA State Senator Bruce Tarr
It was my first visit to Boston and I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the city. I am very grateful to Senator Bruce Tarr for introducing us and the BridgeUSA Summer Work Travel program to everyone! The tour of the State House was amazing!
Zhansaya from Kazakhstan
Work & Travel USA
InterExchange Work & Travel USA Program participants, in return, not only got a chance to share their cultures with Cape Ann residents and visitors, but also supported local seasonal businesses by helping them maintain prosperity and capture economic opportunity that the summer season represents.
We thank the Cape Ann, MA community and MA State Senator Bruce Tarr for their engagement and support of the BridgeUSA Summer Work Travel Program and its public diplomacy goals.
To learn more about Cape Ann’s hosting experience, check out the newspaper article published in Gloucester Daily Times: Cape Ann Works creates connections.
Supporting Young Americans With a Passion for Improving the World
In 2022, the InterExchange Foundation awarded $27,000 in grants to talented and ambitious Americans eager to carry out notable service projects in various countries throughout the world. We are proud to support our fellows’ unique exchanges while they are gaining hands-on experience by thoughtfully contributing their skills within a different culture.
Max is spending eight months in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to volunteer with Fundación Bolivia Digna, an NGO that works to promote and defend the rights of infants, children, adolescents and other vulnerable social groups living on the margins of society. Max will engage in English-language communications work to help promote the organizations’ work in the local community. Max’ vision is to do humanitarian work and outreach for an organization such as the Red Cross or one of the different sections of the United Nations in the future.
Savarna has spent six months in the Kathmandu and Sindhupalchowk regions of Nepal to volunteer with Ek Ek Paila and Thokarpa Hospital in Nepal. Savarna has created and conducted a Quality of Life Survey among maternal-aged women in the community to determine their specific healthcare needs and help the newly-built community hospital specifically tailor their services. Savarna plans to go to medical school and hopes to return to Nepal as a doctor in the future.
Elizabeth spent six months in Cape Town, South Africa, volunteering with Hope Prison Ministry. After receiving training in restorative justice practices, Elizabeth implemented and systemized a formal training program for facilitators, who monitor and guide healing dialogues between offenders and their victims. Elizabeth now hopes to get introduced to custodial settings in the United States and to explore juvenile justice and preventative/diversion programs for juveniles.
Miles spent six months in Nersa, India, where he worked with TERI - The Energy and Resources Institute to repair and improve the community’s existing water system to provide consistent water access for many years to come. Miles plans to garner financial support for and build additional induced bank filter (IBF) systems in villages adjacent to Nersa.