Cultural Vistas Blog

Vistan for a Year, Vistan for Life

It’s strange how life surprises us sometimes. Just when we know exactly what the future holds for us, things can change instantly and life can give us a new adventure.

Coming to the United States as an Atlas Corps Fellow to work at Cultural Vistas, as a Communications Fellow was an opportunity that came to me as a surprise. Although very comfortable in the space where I was, I decided to take it up because I think it’s right what they say about comfort zone – it’s a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there.

In hopes to grow and in search for a new adventure, I packed my life in two bags and got on a plane to come and spend a year at Cultural Vistas. As I end my fellowship, I can easily say, I made the right decision.

Colleagues from Cultural Vistas and neighboring organization, Global Ties U.S., share meals and conversation during a taco potluck.

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Enriching Classrooms from Dresden to Honolulu | Teacher Profile: Verena Mellein

When most people think Hawaii, they think tropical paradise. The image that comes to their mind features stunning beaches, clear ocean, and beautiful skies.

That’s not the case for Verena Mellein, whose first thoughts of the Aloha State are of a classroom full of energetic and passionate 11th graders who are increasingly eager to learn about the world.

The Dresden, Germany native is currently in Honolulu teaching humanities at the Pacific Buddhist Academy as part of the Cultural Vistas’ Teach USA program, which affords experienced international educators opportunities to teach in accredited primary and secondary educational institutions in the United States for up to three years.

Dresden native Verena Mellein and fellow teachers at the Pacific Buddhist Academy in Honolulu.

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A Stronger Indo-Pacific, A Stronger World

Complex challenges require creative approaches. It is no surprise that when you bring bright minds and young leaders from diverse backgrounds together in one room, you will often walk out with stronger, more innovative, and sustainable solutions.

Knowing this, the Advancing Long-term Leadership Initiative (ALLI): Indo-Pacific Summit held recently in Tokyo united young leaders from the Indo-Pacific region to learn new skills and collaborate on common issues facing their countries.

This past December, 43 U.S. government exchange program alumni from Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, Timor-Leste, the United States and all ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states came together for a two-day workshop focused on strengthening the Indo-Pacific identity.

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On the Ground with CBYX: Will Finds an Internship and Mentor in Germany

FiFrohes neues Jahr – Happy New Year to all of you!

My name is Will Thomas. I am a current 2019-2020 program participant with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, a yearlong exchange fellowship in Germany sponsored by the German Bundestag (Parliament) and the U.S. Congress and funded by U.S. Department of State and the German Parliamentary administration.

This is my third post providing on-the-ground perspectives from the program. If you don’t know much about CBYX yet, make sure to read my first impressions from the program here as well as my perspectives on the language training phase here.

In this post, I’ll be sharing my adventures and challenges from the internship phase of CBYX program to Germany. Starting a new internship and beginning the new year 2020 in Tübingen has been a new chapter in my time here. It’s been a big relief too because at the beginning of my program, landing an internship in Germany seemed the scariest and most challenging part of it.

Finding internships in the United States can be hard but finding one in an entirely different country where you don’t even speak their language seemed near impossible. Luckily, I had countless people helping me out along the way.

Will Thomas, pictured here on a visit to Stuttgart, is currently interning in Germany as part of the 2019/20 Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals.

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All Fake?! Why We Need to Talk About Disinformation

In May 2019, the Journalism in the Era of Disinformation (JED) Fellowship brought together eight aspiring journalists from the U.S. and eight aspiring journalists from Germany to discuss disinformation and ways to combat it during a week long study tour in the U.S.

As one of the eight journalists, there were many important lessons that I learned along the way, the most important one being how crucial it is to talk openly and critically about the challenges in today’s media landscape.

First Stop – the U.S. Capital

Our first stop of the journey in the U.S. was Washington, D.C., where the fellows connected, learned about each other’s respective backgrounds and discovered interesting insights about journalism in Germany and the U.S.

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