CIEE students had a busier year than ever with cultural programming. They joined us for Connect USA events throughout the summer, J Day on August 1, and our fourth annual Civic Leadership Summit.
Over 770 participants attended 25 Connect USA events in their communities. They were able to join us for a couple of hours of intercultural learning, while getting to know some of their peers. Many of these were hosted by employers, with a handful of community-wide events.
Overall we received very positive feedback from attendees. Here are just a few of the comments:
- “I learned we were all so different, but at the same time, so special and unique.”
- “I never knew I could be more friendly and open until I met with different people. This has helped improve my communication skills and behavior towards others.”
Let us know if you would be interested in hosting a Connect USA event in your community next year!
The “Artist in Action” activity was a big hit this year!
CIEE participants joined in J Day activities all across the country. This is a nationwide celebration of the impact of international exchange, when students come together to “Eat, Play, Give” – giving back to their communities and connecting with each other. See below for some highlights!
CIEE Work & Travel USA and Internship USA participants joined together for a #CelebrateJDay event with the Kennebunk Recreation Department in Kennebunk, Maine. Participants from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Romania joined CIEE representatives and recreation staff to organize and inventory supplies. Participants enjoyed volunteering with the kids’ camp program, and had a unique opportunity to interact with the campers and teach them about their home countries!
Orange Beach, Alabama, students and staff were at Brett Robinson in Gulf Shores, Alabama, for a beach clean-up event in an effort to protect our ocean. There was a lively contest to see who could find the most trash. Then everyone enjoyed social time with pizza!
Myrtle Beach J Day was a big hit this year! More than 100 students came to enjoy the free rides at Family Kingdom Amusement Park. Each student was asked to bring a school notebook or paper plates/cups to help Seacoast Vineyard Church Outreach, which hosts the Myrtle Beach ISOP (International Student Outreach Program) and provides free dinners for students every Tuesday and Wednesday night at their All Nations Cafe.
Civic Leadership Summit
This August, a select group of 62 students from the SWT program gathered at American University in Washington, D.C. for the CIEE Civic Leadership Summit. The three-day event brought together passionate, young leaders from around the world for a dynamic exchange on leadership, social entrepreneurship, and cultural understanding. This group of Fellows represented 33 countries from three designated J-1 sponsor organizations (CENET, Spirit and CIEE).
A highlight of the Summit was a daylong workshop called the “Be a Changemaker Challenge” led by Ashoka’s Youth Venture, an organization that inspires and supports teams of young people to launch and lead their own community initiatives. During the Challenge, Fellows identified their passions to create change for social issues, and then worked in groups to develop plans for launching their own social ventures in their home countries.
We asked participants to share their experience with us on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtags #CIEEWorkTravelers and #CIEEGivingBack. Employers around the country organized staff volunteer outings, a great way for students to get out into the community and experience the American culture of volunteerism.
Oscar, an Access Scholar from Venezuela, participated in a beach cleanup in New Jersey, organized by Morey’s Piers!
Habitat for Humanity volunteers from King's Dominion in Virginia.
-Erica Carley-Harris and Lauren Kelly, CIEE External Relations Managers