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15 posts categorized "4. Spotlight"

Team Spotlight: International Recruitment Coordinators, Employer Relations

Meet CIEE’s International Recruitment Coordinator team!  Our team of 6 coordinators and 1 manager is part of the Employer Relations team and works in conjunction with the International Recruitment Consultants to provide high quality service to our Host Employers.  In addition to taking the lead on your student in-country issues throughout the season, behind the scenes this team owns many operational tasks which include:
     • building marketing websites for host employers to attract the very best students
     • collecting compliance documents from host employers
     • sending a job profile to every hired student
     • sending hiring reports and hiring updates to host employers
     • interviewing and hiring students for your business
     • and much more!

With interviewing and hiring being such a large part of this team’s responsibilities, here are a few impressive stats from last year’s summer 2018 hiring season:
     • The team interviewed roughly 1,620 students virtually. Assuming each interview averaged 12 minutes, the team spent over 320 hours recruiting virtually!
     • On average, each member of the team interviewed about 220 students (44 hours) virtually.
     • The team also spent 60 days on the road traveling to meet, interview and hire participants in their home countries for your businesses.

For this upcoming summer season, the team has been busy again with virtual interviews. They have interviewed 800+ participants virtually and this number grows every day. They also have a busy upcoming travel schedule with 60 upcoming days on the road taking them throughout Europe, Asia, and South America to recruit and hire students for your business.


Without this team, your jobs would not be marketed to participants, participants would not be hired, and student in-country issues would not be resolved!
     • Molly McCarthy: Manager, Employer Relations.  Molly has been managing this team for 2 years and has been working for CIEE for 11 years. 
     • Erin Olson: Senior International Recruitment Coordinator.  Erin has been on the team for 7 years.
     • Krista Williamson: International Recruitment Coordinator.  Krista has been on the team 3 years. 
     • Jack Obery: International Recruitment Coordinator.  Jack has been on the team for 1.5 years.
     • Lily Cuellar: International Recruitment Coordinator.  Lily started on the team about 1 year ago.
     • Brandelyn Hodgdon: International Recruitment Coordinator.  Brandelyn started on the team about 1 year ago.
     • Sarah Flynn: Our newest team member officially joined the team in November 2018 but has been working at CIEE in various capacities for just over 1 year.  

By Sarah Flynn, International Recruitment Coordinator


Each summer, we welcome thousands of exchange visitors to our country. While there is a lot of focus on the work and cultural exchange components, it is equally important that these exchange visitors are provided with a safe opportunity to live and thrive during their time in the United States. But the effort to ensure the safety of our participants takes a village. Learn how one community and one employer are making it happen:

Cape Cod community:

The biggest safety issues on Cape Cod during the summer months are bike and pedestrian safety, as well as safe housing. The entire community comes together to support students in the summer.

  • Housing and a strong volunteer network
    • Local volunteers formed and continue to operate the Mid-Cape J-1 Housing Program to support exchange visitors. This program finds local hosts who are willing to offer safe and affordable accommodations for students coming to Cape Cod on the Summer Work Travel Program. The program has a Facebook page where exchange visitors can see potential housing options and fill out applications. In addition, the program helps employers find safe and affordable housing for their exchange visitors. The Mid Cape J-1 Housing Program also partners with Hello Summer J-1 and J-1 Outreach to provide students with rides, local outings, community welcome dinners, and more.
  • Bike and pedestrian safety
    • Like most communities that welcome exchange visitors every summer, bike and pedestrian safety continues to be a major focus within the Cape Cod community. In response, community groups and sponsors like CIEE have set up the J-1 Bike Safety Training Program with the help of MassRides, MassBIKE, Cape Cod police departments, host employers, local bike shops, and numerous community volunteers. This program holds free bike and traffic training sessions at several host employers throughout the summer. The bike orientations includes a bike safety video, conversations with local police, free bike checks, and free blinking lights to ensure that students are visible on the road at night.

18317_WAT_United States_IMG_9833Bike safety is a priority! To view the transportation safety video created in partnership between CIEE, other sponsors, and the U.S. Department of State, please click here. We encourage you to show this video to your exchange visitors.

Morey’s Pier’s, a host employer:

Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, New Jersey, begins setting safety expectations before exchange visitors arrive by including travel and safety reminders in their series of welcome emails called Ezines. When students arrive, they receive a handbook that includes further information: tips on bike safety and ocean safety, as well as general tips on staying safe. These tips, in addition to on-the-job safety advice, are also included in a comprehensive training program that every student must complete before starting their job.

As needed, Morey’s Piers provides additional safety reminders, bulletins, and training throughout the season to make sure every student has the tools to stay safe on the job and in the community. “At Morey’s Piers, safety is our culture: the safety of our visiting guests; the safety of our employees while working; and the general health, safety and well-being of the staff while we host them for the summer season. Safety first, always,” says Denise Beckson, Director of Operations/HR at Morey’s Piers, Beachfront Waterparks & Resorts.

597028482d35a-20170716_133400_029Lifeguard at Morey’s Piers helping guests on a water slide.

As you find yourself engaging with exchange visitors this summer, ask yourself: What can I do to make their time in America safer and more enjoyable? If you need ideas or support, please contact CIEE. We are glad to help you, your community, and your exchange visitors.

Louisa Creighton-Smith, International Recruitment Consultant
Lindsay Marsh, International Recruitment Consultant

Spotlight: International Representative Forum

On September 18 and 19, CIEE hosted an International Representative Forum with more than 100 attendees from nearly 50 countries for two days of training and meetings with CIEE staff at our headquarters in Portland, Maine. At this year’s forum, there was a focus on J-1 program advocacy and ways to keep student confidence in the program strong for the seasons ahead. CIEE hosts the forum biennially for Work Exchanges’ representatives to keep them unified, engaged, as well as up to speed on the latest program and policy updates. This allows us to set clear expectations for CIEE’s high performance standards.  

Spotlight 1 - pic 1

CIEE currently has a CIEE Work & Travel USA representative network of 93 agencies recruiting in 64 countries and we continue to reach out and expand our network into new markets to further program accessibility, as well as fulfil our mission of reaching a diverse range of participants.

Spotlight 1 - pic 2

CIEE representatives are our ears on the ground in sending countries; they share feedback with CIEE about student and university system trends, as well as maintain close relationships with U.S. embassies to facilitate positive visa results. Since CIEE International Representatives are the first point of contact for prospective students, it is critical they are well-trained to screen for the best candidates, provide clear and accurate program expectations, and promote the program in a constructive and accurate light. That is why we provide ongoing training to and are in constant communication with our representatives; it ensures they are up to speed on the latest CIEE policies and procedures.

Spotlight: Alumni Engagement

If you mention the word alumni to a CIEE Work & Travel USA participant, you’ll likely be met with a quizzical look. Why? Because this is a new concept to the majority of CIEE Work & Travel USA participants. Fortunately, CIEE is working to change that!

Many CIEE Work & Travel USA alumni return to their home countries and go on to have exceptional careers, working as change makers in their communities and around the world. This is often a direct result of their program participation and experiences. By connecting and engaging with our alumni, CIEE collects stories that demonstrate the benefits of program participation, highlighting the positive impact of our program. These stories add value for students, employers, and communities; they also enhance the importance of U.S. public diplomacy, which ensures program sustainability. As an alum of CIEE Work & Travel USA, our participants understand the power of international exchange: they come from all over the world to America to learn skills and share cultures. Not only do they return home better prepared to make a difference, but they become advocates for international exchange! Their stories matter; their programs matter. That is why engaging with our alumni is so important.

How do we engage?

After the program ends, participants are invited to join the CIEE Alumni Global Network. Here they can network with other CIEE alumni, gain professional experiences and resources, and learn about upcoming local CIEE alumni gatherings and online events. CIEE has a network of over 350,000 alumni from across our family of programs living and working in 170 countries around the world. This includes 220,660 Work & Travel USA alumni. Not only do we reach out to our alumni, but there are several ways they can connect with us, too: the CIEE Alumni website, the CIEE Alumni Instagram account, and the Work & Travel USA Ambassadors LinkedIn group. Even the U.S. State Department has an International Exchange Alumni group.

How can you help?

If your past participants are making change in their world, contact CIEE and also encourage these participants to get in touch with us directly to share their stories! Not only is storytelling a great way to reflect on the program experience, but it gives CIEE the chance to collect and share text, photos, and/or videos from alumni who want to tell others. In fact, to celebrate CIEE’s 70th anniversary, we went out to all our program alumni asking for stories. Atenea Rios Buzo, a CIEE Work & Travel USA participant from Glacier Park, won our video contest! This video speaks to the power of the program and the impact it has on our participants. By engaging our alumni, more stories like Atenea’s can be shared with the world and our program can continue to change lives.




Spotlight: Questions & Answers with the Park City Marriott

While CIEE has many insightful things to share with you, we also know the value in hearing from each other, especially when it comes to best practices. Therefore, I caught up with Stacie Moore, the director of human resources at Park City Marriott and asked her to share a little more about what makes her program so successful.

Q: Who is the Park City Marriott?
A: We are full-service Marriott hotel located in beautiful Park City, Utah. We are brilliant hosts who invite and welcome the world to our hotel, including our guests and our associates! We provide excellent service like no other. We believe in taking care of our team – and they in turn take care of our guests.

Q: What is your role?
A: I am the human resource director and my role is to welcome our guests and associates. I hire our employees, J-1s included, and the management team and I teach them how to be brilliant hosts. My role is to ensure that our J-1s become a part of our family here at the Park City Marriott, and that they are well taken care of while in Park City. And of course, to help them have a great cultural experience here in Park City, Utah, and the United States.

Q: How long have you used the CIEE Work & Travel USA program?
A: I/we have used the J-1 program since 2006, so for 11 years! My first adventure traveling was to Peru (Lima and Arequipa), then Argentina (Buenos Aires and Córdoba), and now Costa Rica! We have hired students from Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, Romania, Africa, Malaysia, Philippines, Brazil, Chile, etc.  Essentially we have hired students from all around this wonderful world.

Q: What is your favorite thing about your international students?
A: I love their passion for life and their positive energy! I love learning about their culture and teaching them about mine. I really love getting to know them as human beings and having fun together. I love how they become a part of our family here at the Park City Marriott. Oh, and I love their willingness to work hard and be a part of the team.

Q: What fun activities are you planning for your students or what have they already been up to?
A: We started off with the Park City Welcome Night here at the hotel. This event is open to all the seasonal employees (domestic and international) and provides valuable information about the area, and also turns into a big party, complete with a DJ. At the hotel, we have a monthly associate awards social luncheon where students get to socialize with the entire team and enjoy “American” cuisine. We also provide tickets to students so that they can see the films and experience the Sundance Film Festival here in Park City. We are the Sundance Film Festival headquarters. And of course, we encourage them to ski/snowboard, and we provide discounts and free ski/snowboard rentals. We also allow them use our Marriott discount rates as they travel throughout the U.S. while they are here. Finally, I’m planning a special thank you dinner (somewhere in Park City) for the team before they go home, to thank them for a great season.

Q: What three pieces of advice or best practices you can pass on to other employers about running a fantastic program?
A: 1. Be available to the students from the moment they are hired until the day they leave (and beyond) via email, phone, and text etc.  2. Help the students as they get acclimated in your city (especially first-time students – it’s scary to be in a new location with foreigners). Help them find housing, take them to get their social security numbers, take them to the free dinners your community may provide for seasonal employees, and give them info and pointers; etc. Just be there to help! 3. Work closely with CIEE to ensure that the J-1s are taken care of and that everyone is on the same page. Having a great working relationship between with all parties is one major key to success!

Employer spotlight 1
Stacie Moore (far right) with three of her winter students from Costa Rica

Employer spotlight 2
Stacie Moore (center) with her management team, excited to welcome their next group of CIEE Work & Travel USA students

Employer spotlight 3
Winter students taking a break from Park City to explore San Francisco. Next stop: Las Vegas!

- Cara Mills, Director, Employer Relations

Diversity Matters

Oscar Conteras (Venezuela), Ebrahim Eldamnhoury (Egypt), Alaa Mahmoud (Egypt), and friends at the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.

Given the emphasis on public diplomacy and access, it's important that CIEE continues to tap into new countries to achieve important foreign policy goals. With this in mind, CIEE is proud to offer scholarships to participants who might not otherwise be able to enjoy this incredible opportunity. Each $3,000 scholarship allows an international student to participate in our Work & Travel USA program, and includes their program fees, flights, and spending money to get them started when they arrive in the United States. Last year, we offered more Access Scholarships than ever before, and through your generous support we can continue to grow this valuable program. I encourage you to watch this video to learn more.

Please consider contributing to support J-1 exchanges. With your help, we can continue to provide a diverse population of participants with the skills, competencies, and experience necessary to contribute positively to our global community. To donate, please visit our website here.

-Jessica Kissell, Director, Employer Relations

Our Ocean Roadshow comes to Maine

On July 12, 2016, CIEE hosted an Our Ocean Roadshow event with the U.S. Department of State. More than 30 Work & Travel USA students from five sponsor organizations joined us on the beautiful Southern Maine Community College campus in South Portland, Maine.


The Our Ocean campaign is an initiative by the U.S. Department of State to bring leaders from around the world together to catalyze actions to protect the oceans from threats of unsustainable fishing, pollution, and climate change. Secretary of State John Kerry has identified protecting the oceans as a key foreign policy priority and will be hosting the Our Ocean conference in September 2016.


Susan Geary and David Benze from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs presented to the students about the Our Ocean campaign and the importance of protecting the world’s oceans. They encouraged students to get involved in their own communities back home, building on their experiences during their time in the U.S.



Friends of Casco Bay, a local nonprofit tasked with protecting and improving the health of Casco Bay, gave a presentation about their work locally and spoke about Waterkeepers, an international movement aimed at protecting waterways. We then joined Friends of Casco Bay staff for beach seining, which involves casting nets at low tide to catch small fish and other aquatic creatures along the shore. Students observed, counted, and measured the catch before returning everything to the ocean.


The students had a great time, made new friends, and learned all about the importance of protecting our oceans.

-Erica Carley Harris, External Relations Manager

Work & Travel USA Program Reflections

Recently we have heard too many news reports of tragedies throughout the world as a result of hatred, intolerance, and cultural differences. As you reflect on recent events, you may have wondered how you, as an individual, can contribute to make the world a safer, more peaceful and understanding place.

Your involvement in the CIEE Work & Travel USA program helps in doing just that. This program was founded based on the Fulbright-Hays Act, with a purpose to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.” By hosting J-1 students each year, you are shaping and molding the world’s future leaders. Your business fosters a safe place for exchange: the exchange of ideas, beliefs, religions, traditions, and culture. Without a doubt, your students depart each season with a lasting impression of America that is based on the experience and opportunity you provide them. Their experience will shape the people they become and change the way they view the world and themselves as citizens within the world.
 In exchange, your students also leave a valuable impression on you and your guests.

As the summer wraps up and your students make plans to leave, we encourage you to stay connected with them!  Here are a few stories from alumni who are already making a difference with CIEE’s Work & Travel USA program.

It’s more than just making friends, it’s staying connected . . .
“I'm Ezgi From Turkey. I've recently graduated from the department of International Relations. I can say that was fascinating being there, working for a job which you would probably not do in your own country, having friends from different countries and cultures. When you come back home and say that ''Wow, I already missed all those people'' you understood it was something that every single person in the planet needs to live once.” -  Ezgi E, Turkey

“I participated in the program for two summers. I was in the same place, Old Orchard Beach Maine. It was such a great adventure! It helped me get a better sense of US culture, I met wonderful people, both Americans and European and we still keep in touch, we even visit each other at least once a year, I mean in Europe.” – Adrada B, Romania

Students share their impression of Americans and the United States with their peers, family and friends  . . .
 “I have worked 2 years now in a work and travel company, helping student to have the best work and travel experience in the United States. I wouldn't get this job if I didn't participate in this program myself. Practically, all my job consist in sharing my two summer of work and travel with students (actually this is the fun part :) ). Last time when I participated in WAT was previous summer and then I have met my future school - I mean, I have been accepted to a graduate school in the US and even got a teaching assistant position. So I will move in Virginia state in August, for pursuing a PhD degree in chemistry. (I have a bachelor's degree in Chemistry too).” – Ana D, Moldova

“After Summer '14 I had a chance to apply my knowledge at work - I had a short internship in StarTravel where I interviewed some students and worked with paperworks. I helped students to choose a place to work in the USA and answered to their questions regarding living and working in the US. From summer '15 I finally understood in what aspect of tourism I want to work. Before that I thought I wanted to work in a hotel, but now I see myself working with educational tourism, primarily with the US. I have large experience after working in CIEE and Star Travel. I do not have a job yet as I am too busy with school. It is all in the near future, for now I am just gathering as much experience as I can by learning more about this aspect of tourism, so soon I am planning to benefit from it by getting a job I want.” - Maxim S, Russia

These students leave an impression on your business too . . .
Atena R of Spain made this video of her experience at Glacier Park Inc. during the summer of 2015. Her employer has now featured the video on their website so that prospective employees can see what it is like to work at Glacier National Park!

Thank you for providing these opportunities to bridge gaps between cultures to build a more understanding world. You make a difference!

-Cara Mills, Regional Sales Manager

Vermont resort offers workers a family atmosphere

Basin Harbor Club is all about family and friends. Generations of families have made this family owned and operated resort on the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont a favorite vacation destination. At Basin Harbor Club, employees are treated like friends and friends are treated like family. For nearly a decade the club has sponsored Work & Travel USA students through CIEE. Basin Harbor’s commitment to the program creates an ideal setting for cultural exchange, and personal growth and development among all of the staff members.

Dream team2

"The J-1 program has been of great significance to Basin Harbor in that it allows us to find seasonal staff who are eager to learn new skills and to enjoy the beauty of Vermont. We have found the CIEE student program to be exemplary in their dedication to their job, their responsibility to CIEE, and their enjoyment at the cultural exchange they are exposed to. The fact that so many J-1 students want to keep coming back is a true testament to the mutual benefits of this program for all parties involved." - Executive Chef Christian Kruse, Basin Harbor Club

The success of the busy summer season depends on individuals coming together as a team. Basin Harbor Club hires students to work in jobs like recreational and waterfront attendants, servers, and kitchen assistants. These positions provide students the opportunity to engage with coworkers and guests, and these interactions facilitate cultural exchange. Basin Harbor Club welcomes approximately 300 staff members each season, and their commitment to diversity is evident as they have welcomed students from Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Kosovo.

Basin Harbor Club provides clear communication and sets expectations for all their Work & Travel USA students. Club staff plays an active role in the hiring process, sending welcome emails and assisting with student arrivals. This level of involvement fosters a summer filled with hard work, dedication, and fun! By bringing everyone together through staff meals, pool parties, bingo events, and employee recognition awards, there is a strong sense of inclusion and a positive focus on community.

CIEE is proud of our partnership with Basin Harbor Club. We look forward to another great summer!

– Jessica Ping DePaiva, International Recruitment Consultant, Employer Relations

Access Scholars program continues to grow

The CIEE Access Scholarship program aims to help students from under-represented communities gain the life-changing perspective and understanding that comes from living and working in the United States. This is our second year facilitating the scholarships, and we’re well into the process of selecting our 2016 recipients.

Our team has been busy connecting with U.S. embassies to select students who are committed to developing themselves as global citizens. Over the past few weeks, CIEE has interviewed potential Access Scholar recipients from Egypt, Jordan, and Venezuela.

CIEE Access Scholar_Oscar Alfonso Contreras AntillanoCIEE Access Scholar, Oscar Alfonso Contreras Antillano

Because of your generous contributions, we have been able to create scholarship opportunities for select students from Tunisia and the West Bank. This year we expect to offer program placement to about 35 students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to participate on the CIEE Work & Travel USA program. This is a record number of CIEE Access Scholars.

We are so excited about this year’s recipients. They came to their job interview with impressive resumes and positive attitudes. It’s truly inspiring to talk with these students about their goals and what they hope to accomplish by participating in this important cultural program.

We will continue the Access Scholarship program for 2017 and beyond. If you are in your budget cycle now, please consider adding a contribution to support J-1 exchanges and this valuable program. To donate, please visit here. Any donation large or small makes a difference, and your contribution is 501 tax deductible.

– Lauren Kelly, Project Manager