Cultural Vistas Blog

Kuwaiti Women in STEM Complete Internships in the Windy City

Global perspective is part of the fabric of engineering and architecture design consulting firm EXP. The company has over 110 office locations across the U.S. and Canada employing people from all around the world. In addition to their penchant for hiring top global talent, EXP helps grow the careers of those just starting out in the field in its role as a host company of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program.

Since 2011, EXP has had a special relationship with the next generation of professionals from Kuwait as a host for the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, which leads a professional development program for recent Kuwaiti graduates. Every year, 10 or more interns come to EXP’s Chicago headquarters through Cultural Vistas’ J-1 Visa sponsorship.

The five young Kuwaiti women pose together at the EXP offices in Chicago in front of a table with an architectural model.
(From left to right) Sarah Johar, Sarah Ali, Zeenab Adnan Al-Saleh, Lulwah Alzamel and Anwar Alsharhan completed J-1 Visa internships at EXP after studying architecture and engineering in Kuwait.

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Reflecting On My First Year at Cultural Vistas

This November marked my one-year anniversary as CEO at Cultural Vistas. As I reflect on my first year, I’m overcome with pride for this organization and the meaningful work we do. In my first full year, the organization celebrated many firsts of its own.

Leading an organization full of talented and motivated individuals is not a responsibility I take lightly.

In reflecting on 2018, what I am most proud of is the professional and personal growth I have witnessed in Cultural Vistas staff, our exchange participants, and alumni. That, in my mind, is the most important indicator of success.

Below I am thrilled to share a few of the highlights, achievements, and steps we’ve taken toward fulfilling our mission in 2018.

Cultural Vistas Awards Gala celebrating IAESTE
Slovakian intern and IAESTE participant Lubica Komarova, Jennifer (center), and IAESTE President Bernard Baeyens celebrated the 70th anniversary of the longstanding STEM-focused reciprocal exchange program at the inaugural Cultural Vistas Awards Gala in September 2018.

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Year in Germany Helps Bosch Alumna Become Successful Artist

Sheryl Oring’s installation art piece “Writer’s Block” had been in storage for over a decade when a professor from University of Virginia called her to ask to show it on campus. Created while Sheryl was living in Germany, the piece features 600 antique typewriters in cages of old rebar. It is a commentary on Nazi censorship that has become socially relevant again in recent years.

The piece was displayed on campus just a few months after the events surrounding the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville which resulted in the death of a young woman.

“Writer’s Block” was shown at the Ruffin Gallery at the University of Virginia in January 2018.

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Bellydancing through Reverse Culture Shock

Dr. Glaucia Karime Braga participated in the Visiting Scientist Program with The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) through J-1 Trainee sponsorship from Cultural Vistas in 2012—an experience that has been paying dividends in her career and personal development ever since.

Though nothing about her background as an expert in pharmaceutical sciences prior to the program would suggest that Dr. Braga has ever been anything less than motivated, she is very appreciative of how significant of a milestone her exchange program was in her life.

These aren’t the only reasons we’re big fans.

You might be surprised to learn that this pose and outfit are not typical of someone with a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences.

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Retracing Family History in Germany

When judging the over 1,000 submissions to our photo contest each year, we’re not only impressed by the quality of your travel photography. We’re also blown away by the stories you tell us about your time abroad. From that treacherous hike that changed your life, to the host family that made you feel at home in a foreign place, travel stories have a life well beyond your time overseas. That’s why this year, we awarded our favorite story a top prize in our photo contest.

Our inaugural travel story winner is Brandt Coleman, a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals alumnus who has a unique reason why he was interested in spending a year in Germany.

When he was a kid, Brandt would read letters to his grandmother that his grandfather wrote her from Germany during World War II. This experience had a profound impact on Brandt’s life.

Brandt Coleman’s grandfather poses in front of a book printer in Germany during World War II.

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