Regardless of whether you have seen or heard the term, know about the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program, or have even participated in an actual event, you might still be a little confused about J Day. The annual celebration of international education and exchanges, which brings Exchange Visitor Program participants and hosts together to #EatPlayGive as they participate in organized community service projects has grown significantly since its launch in 2014 to encompass 47 J Day events held across 24 states and Washington, D.C. in 2018. But the scale of the nationwide effort today masks the simplicity behind the original concept.
Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. –Howard Zinn, Author of “A People’s History of the United States” There is an understanding that is pervasive in the United States: the transformative power of volunteering. Community service projects and volunteer-run organizations have become as American as apple pie and baseball. These days, community service is thought of less as a punishment and more as a type of education, a baseline for college acceptance, and a part of many national and religious holiday celebrations.
This November 14– 18, Cultural Vistas participated in International Education Week (IEW) by bringing international exchange visitors to elementary, middle and high schools in both New York and Washington, D.C to give presentations on their home countries. This year we had 19 J-1 international interns and exchange alumni participate. The hope is, by sharing their cultures with young American students, participants help to increase global understanding. Through feedback collected from teachers, students, our international participants, and Cultural Vistas staff, we learned that these presentations are influential and can make a lasting impact on everyone’s life.
#GivingTuesday is a global movement that connects individuals, communities, and organizations around the world to celebrate and encourage giving back. Celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, it represents a global day focused on promoting sustainable change in one’s community. Even before #GivingTuesday, volunteering and investing in one’s community has been an important facet of American culture. Dating back to the founding of our country, Americans have banded together to help serve the collective good. In 1736, Benjamin Franklin founded the first volunteer firehouse, a concept that continues today with more than 70 percent of firefighters in the United States being volunteers. Nowadays,…
Read more of “This #GivingTuesday, We’re Inspired By These Muskie Alumni Volunteers”
Moving to the United States is daunting. Even for Americans moving around the country, getting to know your new city can be difficult. There is so much to learn. But don’t fret! To help make your transition as smooth and rewarding as possible, here are a few tips on how to live like a local.