Coast to Coast: Experiencing America on J-1 Exchanges

We covered a lot of ground in 2017!

Over the course of the year, we welcomed international students, scholars, teachers, trainees, and emerging leaders to the United States from over 100 different countries.

For all of these individuals, the experience of America extends far beyond the workplace and their professional internship and training programs, and into the fabric of communities in almost all 50 states.

As J-1 Exchange Visitor Program sponsors, we make sure that’s the case by organizing and hosting a calendar of cultural activities and events spanning both coasts and in between.

In 2017, we hosted over 30 events with something for everyone on offer—from museum visits to attending the oldest continuously-running rodeo and volunteering at the biggest one-day sporting event in the world, the New York City Marathon.

For the third-straight year, Cultural Vistas’ interns and trainees volunteered at the world-renowned the New York City Marathon.

As we begin another year, join us in taking a look back at some of our favorite outings from 2017.

We were tourists in the cities we live in.

Interns and trainees came together to experience the enchanting atmosphere of one of Boston’s most famed cultural institutions at night. The event, “Passages”, was part of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Third Thursdays series, and focused on influence of travel on who we are and how we see the world. It was a particularly good fit! This lively and social evening featured live music, creative collaborators, and hands-on gallery activities.

See more photos from our October visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

We escaped to Alcatraz.

The trip started off with a scenic boat ride to the island, and included a hike to the main historic building for an audio-guided tour through the jail cells, recreation area, and administrative offices. We listened to stories about daily life at Alcatraz over the years, attempted escapes, and infamous former inmates, such as Al Capone.

⛵ cruises, learning about life at Alcatraz, meeting other @J1Exchanges interns from around the ?–just another day on #RouteJ1!

— Cultural Vistas (@CulturalVistas) November 13, 2017

We threw on our boots, grabbed our cowboy hats, and went to the rodeo.
Yee haw!

Sports are as close as you can come to a national dialect in the United States. That’s why we love organizing outings that allow our exchange participants to experience some of America’s favorite pastimes. This year, we took in an NBA game in the nation’s capital and as always organized several summer nights at the ballpark. What we’ll probably remember the most, however, was June’s visit to the world’s oldest indoor rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas.

Interns and trainees from across Fort Worth came together with individuals from the U.K., who were touring the States as part of an U.S. Embassy in London-sponsored tour, for what proved to be a memorable evening.

We gave back to our  communities.

In August, our exchange participants, alumni, and staff came together to take part in services events in San Francisco, New York City, and Washington, D.C. as part of J Day – a nationwide celebration of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and the importance of educational and cultural exchanges.

We even made it on the local news!

We watched the seasons change.

The beauty of changing seasons was on full display during the Spring garden tour and lunch we organized at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

We had the time of our lives.

Nothing quite brings people together like a warm summer night surrounded by hundreds of New Yorkers singing along to their favorite pop hits. That was the scene as we brought NYC exchange interns together to view an outdoor screening of Dirty Dancing at Bryant Park.

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Summer in the city.

Posted by Cultural Vistas on Tuesday, August 22, 2017

We played detective.

Our staff, together with an international team of sleuths from Germany, Greece, Japan, and Korea, scavenged for clues to determine who kidnapped Sherlock Holmes during a fall visit to Escape Room Live just outside of Washington, D.C. While the kidnapper remained at large, our visitors enjoyed lunch and the afternoon stroll that followed around historic Old Town Alexandria. 

We shared our culture during #IEW2017.

For the ninth year in a row, Cultural Vistas celebrated November’s International Education Week by organizing trips for our alumni and exchange participants to classrooms across the country.  This year, 28 volunteers from 14 countries delivered presentations on their home cultures, sharing their favorite music, games, and food with students in Chicago, New York, San Diego, and Washington, D.C.

✅ 28 volunteers

✅ 14 countries ???????????????????????????? 

✅ 11 schools in Chicago, DC, NYC, + San Diego

✅ 1 memorable week bringing the ? to ?? classrooms to celebrate #IEW2017


— Cultural Vistas (@CulturalVistas) November 18, 2017

We cheered on runners at the New York City Marathon.

More than 1,400 students, au pairs, interns, and trainees on the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program volunteered on race day, making them the largest and most diverse group of volunteers at the marathon for the third year in a row.

As always, this iconic event left all of our participants feeling inspired and honored to help cheer along over 51,000 runners in the largest marathon world-wide. Several of our exchange participants started volunteering as early as 6 am, and stayed on long past their 10 am dismissal to keep the momentum going!

Contributions to post were made from members of our Train USA and Korea WEST teams, including Marta Checko, Erin Heffernan, Christine Paiva, Ana Serraty, Kristina Scheurle, Alexis Alu, and Aaron Thompson.