Exchanges: Crossroads to Opportunity

Exchanges: Crossroads to Opportunity

“You have some moments in your life where you know it’s a critical one and you’re at a crossroads. And [my exchange] was a crossroads for me. I can’t imagine the type of person I’d be. If I didn’t do this, I would not be as creative a person as I am today.”
– Katherine Weingartner, 2013 participant in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals

The past year has demonstrated that societies around the world are struggling to address and find solutions to a myriad of global challenges facing our communities: terrorism, climate change, education and workforce development, migration and refugees, sustainable business models, political disillusionment, and many more.

We are standing at a crossroads with significant political and societal changes influencing our lives at every turn. These changes and challenges can understandably be unsettling to many as people try to determine what the impact will be and how they can prepare themselves for the future developing around them.

Our mission at Cultural Vistas is to enrich minds, advance global skills, build careers and connect lives through international exchange. Our programs give individuals the confidence, skills, perspectives and opportunities needed to be engaged citizens and to navigate an ever-changing, complex world.


Impacting Lives and Building Bridges Between Nations

Even with all that is happening around us, some things never change. International exchanges remain vital to enhancing understanding and building bridges between nations, communities, and people. They impact people’s lives and empower them to drive positive change in themselves, their organizations, and society.

With more than 30 programs serving 6,000 students, emerging leaders, and professionals from 135-plus countries annually, our commitment to promote, design and implement international professional experiences is stronger than ever.

As alumni and friends of Cultural Vistas, you know how vital this work is. This is why we are asking you for your support.

We need more individuals to benefit from the transformative experiences our programs provide and hope you will embrace this opportunity to help strengthen our communities and the world around us.

In Their Own Words

Our alumni know better than anybody about the power of exchange and the opportunities international experiences provide for meaningful personal and professional growth and for bringing the world closer together. We want to introduce you to four talented alumni of Cultural Vistas programs who in their own words illustrate how exchanges foster a shared understanding and appreciation of diverse peoples, values, cultures, and aspirations:

Chris Wolz interned in Finland while studying engineering in college through our IAESTE exchange for students in STEM fields. He is now President & CEO of Forum One, a digital agency focused on developing and implementing online services to accelerate their impact and help solve global problems.

Trooper Sanders, an alumnus of the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship, is the founder of Wise Whisper, a boutique policy and program development practice working with innovative companies and initiatives addressing social challenges, and previously was a Domestic Policy Advisor in the White House.

Christon Ragavan from India just completed a 7-month internship in the United States on a J-1 Exchange Visitor program training in digital media and is looking to the future with a whole new perspective on life.

Katherine Weingartner, after returning from a year in Germany on the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, joined Ecologic Institute where she works to promote transatlantic cooperation on environmental issues.

At the Crossroads: Help Forge the Path Ahead

Sometimes it’s hard to tell what changes the course of someone’s life for the better. An exceptional teacher. A mentor who sees your potential when no one else does. Cultural Vistas believes that educational and career-focused exchanges—a chance to live and work abroad for the first time—belongs at the top of this list.

Here are a few easy ways you can also support Cultural Vistas’ mission:

If you are interested in learning more about how you, your organization or company can be involved with Cultural Vistas,  please do not hesitate to contact Nina Rissman, at 212.497.3500 or, we’ll be happy to discuss options with you.