“You are from Ukraine to teach English in the US?!”
The first time I introduce myself to the students I always mention that I am from Ukraine. I do it for two reasons, mainly because I am proud of my nationality, but also because I want to relate to my multilingual students. However, not all of them react positively to the fact that they have flown across the ocean, spent thousands of dollars and found a non-native speaker teaching them English grammar.
I’ve had a hard time putting into words how fortunate I am to be living the life of my dreams. Traveling. Interning with a nonprofit whose mission I strongly support. Working with people who care about what I have to say. Being surrounded and living with strong, talented, and empowering women. Meeting genuine human beings who make a foreign country feel like home. Yes, I know. I am blessed beyond belief.
Every morning, Facundo, my internship supervisor in Argentina, and I sit down in the common area, sip on mate (the traditional infused drink in Argentina), and chat for a bit. Recently, I shared my life story with him. I talked to him about my upbringing and why working with Red Comunidades Rurales is so important to me.
He understood that improving the living conditions of rural people in situations of risk or social exclusion is just as important to me as it is to them.
At Cultural Vistas, we like to practice what we preach. Besides working with more than 1,000 U.S. companies every year to facilitate internship and training programs through the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, we often host international interns ourselves.
This summer we are very excited to welcome Alidzhon “Ali” Yatimov to our Washington D.C. office to work with our Edmund S. Muskie Internship program team. Ali will be learning about the American work place, developing new skills and knowledge, expanding horizons and building the bridges between countries and cultures.
Fast Facts about Ali
• Where he is from: Dushanbe, Tajikistan • Where he studied: Tajik Agrarian University • What he studied: Business and Marketing • Interests: sports, reading, travelling
I climbed aboard the USS Enterprise as a child living in Singapore, when the ship and its crew refueled in the newly-independent nation’s outer harbor before heading back to support the conflict in Vietnam. I had ‘a clue’ about the conflict because my parents insisted on making sure my older siblings and I were aware of our surroundings, and, well, Southeast Asia was a theater of warfare.
Now, this region – the ASEAN region – is locked in a tug-of-war between China and the United States, both nations seeking to win the hearts and pocketbooks of its 625 million inhabitants, the majority of whom are under the age of 30 years old.
And, more than 90% of my 200-plus LinkedIn and Facebook contacts in this region are also under the age of 30. They are a part of a rising generation of the Young Southeast Asia Leadership Initiative (YSEALI) initiated by the U.S. Department of State in November 2013.
Our annual Transformed By Travel photo contest is open again to former and current participants on Cultural Vistas programs. Like last year, this means that one entrant is going to win a trip to Washington D.C.!
We recently caught up with Matthias Glass, the winner of our 2016 photo contest. A former J-1 intern and now Cultural Vistas alumnus, Matthias snapped our grand prize-winning photo in Santa Barbara, California last year. Matthias has been back in Germany since February, and he shared some of the experiences that transformed his time in the United States, including the inspiration behind his winning picture.