Notable Cultural Exchange Participants


4 minutes

As an InterExchange participant, you know that cultural exchange is important. Many notable persons have taken advantage of cultural exchange programs and credit these programs for their later success in life. Here are just a few people who have traveled on exchange programs.

Bill Clinton – One of the most famous former cultural exchange participants also happens to be the 42nd president of the United States. Bill Clinton excelled in his studies at Georgetown University and earned a Rhodes scholarship to study at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England. President Clinton made many important contacts during this time, some of whom would later work with him during his political life.

John Lithgow – John Lithgow is famous for playing a wide range of characters in film, and for his starring comedic role in the popular television comedy Third Rock from the Sun. Lithgow studied History and Literature at Harvard University and then upon graduating, won a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art.

Sylvia Plath – Famous poet and novelist Sylvia Plath had excelled academically throughout her early years and was already writing and editing for professional magazines by the time she attended Smith College in Massachusetts. She then won a Fulbright Scholarship to study and write at the University of Cambridge in England. She took full advantage of her time in Europe and traveled extensively while there.

John Updike – Updike is considered one of the quintessential American writers. He earned a full scholarship to Harvard University and then was a Fulbright Scholar to Ghana and Nigeria before he was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning novelist. He won the 1982 and 1991 Pulitzer Prizes in Fiction.

Beatriz Merino – Prime Minister Merino was the first female Prime Minister of Peru, but in her early years, she attended Harvard University and earned a Masters in Law as a visiting student. She would also go to London School of Economics in 1974 and earn an LLM degree before pursuing a career in politics in Peru.

Dolph Lundgren – Dolph Lundgren is a Swedish actor and martial artist, and most famous for being an action movie star. His long list of starring roles in films include Masters of the Universe, Rocky IV, and most recently, the Expendables film series. In his earlier years he was a star student, studying Chemistry at Washington State University and Clemson University before returning to his native Sweden to complete his undergraduate degree. Lundgren also served his mandatory two years in the Swedish Marine Corps before eventually competing in martial arts tournaments and pursuing an acting career. If that were not already impressive enough, he speaks several languages including Swedish, English, Spanish, and some German.

Muhammad Yunus – Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur and economist. In 1965 he received a Fulbright Scholarship to come to the United States and receive his PhD in economics. In recent years, he has become famous for pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work in alleviating poverty through his work with microfinance.

John Evans Atta Mills – John Atta Mills was the President of Ghana from 2009-2012. President Mills' policies have been credited with helping reduce inflation in Ghana and increase efficiency in health, agriculture, and education throughout Ghana. President Mills visited the United States on a Fulbright Foreign Student Scholar Program in 1971 to study law and worked in politics in Ghana up until his untimely death in July 2012.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali - Boutros Boutros-Ghali is an Egyptian politician and diplomat who is best known for being the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations. He served as Secretary-General from January 1992 to December 1996. He was obviously committed to international work and in his early years, and visited Columbia University in New York City as a Fulbright Research Scholar. He has lectured on law and international relations throughout the world during his career.

Christoph Waltz - Christoph Waltz has received international renown since starring in the Quentin Tarantino film Inglorious Basterds in 2009, but he has been a successful and working actor in Europe for decades. Waltz began studying acting in his hometown of Vienna, Austria, and then visited the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York before beginning his career with small roles on German television in the 1980s. He was a prolific actor on German television before appearing in Inglorious Basterds, a role that won him an Academy Award. He has since won another Academy Award for his role in another Tarantino film, Django Unchained in 2012.

Ani Kington Ani Kington

Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.

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