Impressions from 2022
In 2022, InterExchange focused our efforts on rebuilding our programs after the past two challenging years and welcoming participants from many cultures from around the world to participate in life-changing experiences across the United States. In 2022, our exchange program participants proudly represented 94 countries, including the United States.
Celebrating our participants
Super Au Pair 2022
2022 program participant reflections
Celebrating our hosts
Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion
Cultural Engagement+DEI Program
Courageous Conversations and Open Forums
Facilitating meaningful cultural exchange
Providing our participants with opportunities to meet each other and their local host community members, form relationships, engage in intercultural sharing, and expand worldviews while having fun and enjoying nice moments together are always at the forefront of our cultural engagement programming.
Celebrating Exchange Day 2022
Per our annual tradition, on the first Monday in August, the InterExchange community celebrated Exchange Day – the worldwide celebration of the power of international exchange and people-to-people diplomacy.
In 2022, we hosted our first in-person Exchange Day event since 2019 and welcomed 50 participants on Governors Island in New York City. The tagline for Exchange Day is “Eat. Play. Give.” once again, and that’s exactly what our happy group did: we had fun riding bicycles (courtesy of our Work & Travel USA host employer – Blazing Saddles) and exploring the island, made new friends while sharing a meal, and gave back to NYC by learning about its ecology and marine life with the Billion Oyster Project.
Take a moment to follow these hashtags on social media #exchangesimpact #exchangeday #eatplaygive to see celebrations around the country. Thank you to everyone who came and made this day so special!
Volunteering at the 2022 TCS NYC Marathon
On November 6, 2022, New York City enjoyed the spirit of the TCS NYC Marathon. Over the past seven years, BridgeUSA Program participants from around the world have experienced American volunteerism while meeting and socializing at marathons in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. Our InterExchange participants have been joining the TCS NYC Marathon as volunteers since 2016!
This year, our team showed our international spirit at Mile 19 – a liquid station where our group was helping thousands of runners stay hydrated as they were about to run across the Willis Avenue Bridge on their way from Manhattan to the Bronx. A special treat for everyone was a quick visit from our colleagues at the U.S. Department of State and cheering for our very own 2022 Marathon Champions: our Camp USA Program host employer – Camp IHC team – running in support of SCOPE (Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education), and our colleague from the Work & Travel USA team – Smita J.
Putting the Spotlight on American Host Communities
American host communities, along with dedicated Community Support Groups, are an integral part of the successful cultural exchange experience, for both program participants and American hosts. Community members, volunteers, program hosts, local Chambers of Commerce, public institutions and elected officials – all play an important role in making participants feel welcome and safe, and help facilitate participants’ integration and belonging in their host community in the United States.
This year, we are happy to shine the spotlight on one of the Work & Travel USA Program host communities in the Northeast – Cape Ann, MA.
In 2022, Cape Ann hosted a group of InterExchange participants representing 15 countries: Albania, Azerbaijan, Columbia, Ecuador, France, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mongolia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey and Uzbekistan!
The program and hosting experience turned out to be a great success for both participants and the Cape Ann community thanks to collaboration between multiple stakeholders: Cape Ann Works, a local program for employers and student-employees, the Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, Gordon College in Wenham and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton that provided affordable summer housing for international students, and the Cape Ann Transportation Authority that provided safe and convenient transportation.
The Cape Ann community also provided engaging and meaningful cultural opportunities, from barbecues, sports, and bowling nights to a very special visit to Boston to attend a session at the Massachusetts State House (see below) and a fun Labor Day cookout, to name a few.
“We are so delighted that you have chosen to come to Massachusetts and that you have chosen to come to Cape Ann. We think that these are special places and we are sure that after some time here you will agree … and we hope that after you depart … that you will always want to return, and we will be delighted to welcome you and, as importantly, that you will keep part of Massachusetts and Cape Ann in your hearts and remember us always, and remember the bond, the international bond that we are developing together.” – MA State Senator Bruce Tarr
“It was my first visit to Boston, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the city. I am very grateful to Senator Bruce Tarr for introducing us and the BridgeUSA Summer Work Travel program to everyone! The tour of the State House was amazing!” – Zhansaya from Kazakhstan, Work & Travel USA
InterExchange Work & Travel USA Program participants, in return, not only got a chance to share their cultures with Cape Ann residents and visitors but also supported local seasonal businesses by helping them maintain prosperity and capture the economic opportunity that the summer season represents.
We thank the Cape Ann, MA community and MA State Senator Bruce Tarr for their engagement and support of the BridgeUSA Summer Work Travel Program and its public diplomacy goals.
To learn more about Cape Ann’s hosting experience, check out the newspaper article published in Gloucester Daily Times: Cape Ann Works creates connections.
Pursuing new initiatives
Ambassadors Fund for Summer Work Travel Scholarship
In June 2022, InterExchange welcomed a group of 75 first-ever Ambassadors Fund for Summer Work Travel scholarship recipients. This scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, with the goal of enhancing mutual understanding and supporting public diplomacy efforts between the United States and young people from other countries.
Coming from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia and Lithuania, scholarship recipients were awarded a full grant to participate in the BridgeUSA Summer Work Travel Program and experience American culture, community life, and leadership development first-hand. A select group of scholarship recipients from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, and Georgia also attended an in-person networking and skills-building seminar in New York City, where they participated in the “Be a Changemaker Challenge”, boosted their media literacy skills, visited the United Nations Headquarters, and joined Nicole Elkon, Deputy Assistant Secretary, for an inspirational networking breakfast.
Learn more about the scholarship and its impact.
From researching cell cytotoxicity in a molecular biology lab to having technical discussions with electrical engineers, Career Training USA interns, and trainees are completing amazing programs in STEM (that’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)!
InterExchange is a proud partner of the BridgeUSA Early Career STEM Research Initiative, and these programs strengthen international connections and contribute to the flow of ideas across continents.
Supporting young Americans with a passion for improving the world
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson’s staff with Summer Work Travel Program J-1 Visa Sponsors and host employers in Wisconsin Dells, WI.
Advocating for cultural exchange programs
International cultural exchange programs are vital for U.S. public diplomacy. They enable the U.S. to engage ambitious youth from around the world, support U.S. national security, strengthen the economy, and promote American values. Because of international exchange programs, Americans and young people from around the world have a unique chance to participate in people-to-people diplomacy and act as cultural ambassadors for their countries.
In 2022, we strived to engage with our elected officials to educate political leaders on the value of exchange programs in their local communities and nationwide, and we are grateful to our staff and hosts who supported and participated in these efforts.
We engaged with 30 Congressional offices across 15 states.