Cultural Vistas Blog

How Social Distancing is Bringing Us Closer Together at the Office

I am used to working at the front desk of Cultural Vistas: a bustling office full of international visitors and action. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the way we communicate and work together internally had to change overnight. Programs were canceled left-and-right. Our future was suddenly looking uncertain.

Working remotely has been an adjustment, especially for those who are extroverts (like myself). It became clear to me very quickly that maintaining a sense of community during this period of remote work was going to be more difficult and more important than ever. 

After two-plus months implementing new initiatives, our socially-distant office may be more connected than ever.

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How to Work from Home When You’re Far From “Home” 

Working in a new country is exciting. You’re ready to get to know your neighborhood and your co-workers and eat all of the local cuisines you can.  But all over the globe, people have moved from working in offices to working from home, making “working abroad” look, well, a bit different.

This transition can be difficult to deal with. Not only are you trying to balance your role, but you’re also trying to navigate a new environment, which can be daunting at times. Below are a few tips on how to make the most of your experience remotely working abroad.  

1) Create a productive environment 

Your experience always starts with your environment. You may have just moved into a new apartment or a new space since moving for your program. While you are trying to adjust to your new surroundings, make sure to create an environment where you can work remotely. While this space won’t compare to your office, try these few tips on how to make this adjustment easier. 

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(Re)Visit: Washington, D.C.

At Cultural Vistas, immersive international experiences are everything; even after they’re over, we continue to learn from them. While new international experiences are not possible right now, we can still learn from our past experiences abroad.

Over two weeks, Cultural Vistas is sharing photos and reflections from our alumni through our (Re)Visit series. Each day, we will focus on a different country or U.S. state that transformed them. These photos stay the same, but our perspectives continue to change.

Thank you to our alumni for allowing us to highlight their stunning photography. We hope these photos inspire you to reflect, remember, and #ReVisit your own experiences abroad.

Washington, D.C.

As our last stop on the #ReVISIT series, today we return to Washington, D.C.

The home of our second office and the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. is where many of our U.S. exchange programs begin. Some of these programs include the Korea WEST exchange, the Edmund S. Muskie Internship Program, and the International Visitor Leadership Program.

Normally, this time of year, summer exchange programs start to begin. While we are not welcoming new visitors through our doors at the moment, here are some photos of D.C. taken by our alumni.

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(Re)Visit: Philippines

At Cultural Vistas, immersive international experiences are everything; even after they’re over, we continue to learn from them. While new international experiences are not possible right now, we can still learn from our past experiences abroad.

Over two weeks, Cultural Vistas is sharing photos and reflections from our alumni through our (Re)Visit series. Each day, we will focus on a different country or U.S. state that transformed them. These photos stay the same, but our perspectives continue to change.

Thank you to our alumni for allowing us to highlight their stunning photography. We hope these photos inspire you to reflect, remember, and #ReVisit your own experiences abroad.

Philippines

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Austrian Exchange Alumnus Starts a Face Mask Business 

There are certain people in this world that just have that entrepreneurial spirit

Ahmet Bozkurt is one of them.

As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic started, Ahmet launched a business with his childhood friend to mass-produce face masks. 

At 24 years old, Ahmet is a current student at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU). We met Ahmet through his participation in the Generation Next Youth Leadership Initiative: an exchange program funded by the U.S. Embassy in Vienna to inspire a generation of Austrians committed to increasing mutual respect and tolerance for cultural differences.

When we heard about his venture, we had to talk to him to find out what inspired him, how he’s making this business work, and what his entrepreneurial plans are for the future.

Together with a childhood friend from Salzburg, Ahmet (L), a 2017 #WeAreGenNext International Exchange Alumni, recently created Die Maske Österreich to address the shortage of protective masks, particularly among vulnerable populations.

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