Cultural Vistas Blog

From Intern to Professional: Reflecting on My U.S. Exchange Experience with Siemens Healthineers

Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before. – Dalai Lama

Most experienced travelers, including the Dalai Lama, know that there is something special about traveling to places you haven’t seen before, but that doesn’t mean that you should set out on your J-1 Visa adventure unprepared.

Given the opportunity to remark on my yearlong U.S. internship at Siemens Healthineers, I feel eager to share some of the untold survival skills and benefits that have not only made my international exchange experience great, but permanently changed my approach to my profession and career.

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Three Ways to Win a Fully-Funded Summer Internship Abroad

College junior Katherine Moronta spent this last summer in Argentina interning at a local nonprofit to help families with autistic children lead happier lives. Daniel Wang became a firsthand witness to Germany’s devotion to sustainability while working on an awareness and education project in Berlin. In Hong Kong, Malia Simon worked to solve global climate challenges while experiencing the culture that the city has to offer.

Thanks to the fully-funded Cultural Vistas Fellowship, 15 American college students had similar experiences interning in Buenos Aires, Berlin, and Hong Kong.

The seventh and largest class of the Cultural Vistas Fellowship spent eight weeks this past summer living and interning abroad in Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Hong Kong.

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YSEALI Seeds for the Future Grantee Helps Create Ethical Recruiting for Domestic Workers

I cleaned the house, the kitchen, washed the floor, ironed, vacuumed, and cleaned the car. I worked from 5:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. every day. I never had a break; I was just stealing time to get a break. I was paid just one time, 200 ringgit [U.S. $52.63]. I just ate bread, there was no rice [for me]. I was hungry. I slept in the kitchen on a mat. I was not allowed outside of the house.

That is how Nyatun Wulandari described the working conditions she encountered as a domestic worker in Malaysia when she was just 23 years old. Originally from Lombok, Indonesia, Nyatun was one of many women to migrate to Malaysia in search of a better life only to be exploited by the country’s informal domestic worker sector. Though what she went through took place over a decade ago, the exploitation of Malaysia’s domestic workers continues to this day.

From the left: Elaine, Sophia and Zenna represent Pinkcollar Employment Agency, one of the 21 YSEALI Seeds for the Future grantees, at the 2019 National Forum on Forced Labour & Human Rights in Kuala Lumpur.

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Designing a 3D Printer Farm, Meeting Che, and Embracing Argentina

Thanks to the Cultural Vistas Internship Program in Argentina, I spent this past summer traveling to Buenos Aires, Argentina to work at Che3D, a business focused on designing and manufacturing plastic products using 3D printing.

An initial design concept for the CheCluster with Prusa MK3 printers (top), a final concept design (bottom left), and a picture of a testing setup (bottom right).

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Surviving Study Abroad as a Minority

As someone who works in international education, I get to see the many benefits that international exchange experiences provide for program participants on a daily basis. That is why I am particularly struck by the low numbers of minorities who choose to travel abroad.

NAACP co-founder, W.E.B. Dubois, famously said “Education is that whole system of human training within and without the school house walls, which molds and develops men.” In the context of international education, that training also extends beyond borders.

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