Running into Stephen Colbert or House Speaker Paul Ryan in Capitol hallways may seem like the highlights of a congressional internship. But for German intern Dan Netev, the most striking gain from his time interning on the Hill was a fresh confidence in his knowledge of American politics’ inner workings.
Detroit. Nashville. Los Angeles. Salt Lake City. Over the course of a whirlwind 10-day U.S. tour last spring, 25 German community leaders from Düsseldorf, Freiburg, Kreis Düren, Leipzig, and Münster learned firsthand about how American cities welcome and integrate immigrants and refugees as part of the Welcoming Communities Transatlantic Exchange (WCTE).
The visit was reciprocated later in the year, as 16 Americans from the aforementioned communities headed to Germany to learn firsthand about local approaches and challenges to reception and community integration.
For Stephanie Teatro, Co-Executive Director of the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition and part of a four-member team of professionals representing Nashville in the 2017 edition of the program, this U.S.-German exchange of information and ideas, has provided new inspiration and concrete strategies to implement at home.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Cultural Vistas recently launched the Coalition for American Business Skills by hosting a special roundtable discussion at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce focused on how internships and structured training programs with American companies can act as a game-changer for aspiring women entrepreneurs around the world.
An engaged audience of over 40 businesspeople, NGO representatives, and foreign embassy officials gathered on Wednesday, March 28 to learn more about the work of the Coalition and hear from accomplished female leaders about the vast local and global economic benefits of U.S. internships, and how they promote entrepreneurship and empower women.
The roundtable topic reflected the Coalition’s core belief that immersion in the U.S. workplace via J-1 internships and training programs is a catalyst for growth – for both American businesses and in the careers of motivated youth around the globe.
Adam played soccer for 15 years while growing up in Australia. Having always been a lover of the game, he was moved by the excitement in his country after the Australia national team qualified for the 2006 World Cup. Australia hadn’t qualified for the World Cup since 1974, and had even struggled to maintain competition on a national level. The newfound buzz from the World Cup impressed Adam so much that he decided to make a career for himself out of further promoting Australian soccer.
During the next few years, Adam recognized the limitations of his chosen career path in Australia itself. He realized he would need international exposure and experience to make a difference back home. To achieve this, he looked to the United States, which is known for its sports marketing industry.
Whether it’s watching Keeping up with the Kardashians or the German crime drama Tatort, sharing an excursion to the former East/West German border, or checking out the Gum Wall in Seattle, cultural exchange takes on many different forms for Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) participants.
Many American and German participants are placed with host families during their year abroad to facilitate their immersion. But for a couple of families, the connection to the program runs deeper than that.