The "Coffee House" event welcomed international students living in the Virginia Beach area[/caption]
InterExchange Work & Travel participants residing in Virginia Beach for the summer attended a community event where they mingled with American families and students, enjoyed an American‐style buffet, and played U.S. culture trivia games. The event was hosted by the Virginia Beach Community Chapel (VBCC).
InterExchange participants are always eager to interact with a wide variety of Americans, and attending community events such as the Coffee House is one way to interact with people outside their work environments.
Local volunteers serve a buffet‐style meal to international Work & Travel participants[/caption]
Cultural learning and exchange is a central component of the Work & Travel USA program. InterExchange encourages participants to be active in their communities by organizing events and volunteer opportunities in addition to making students aware of other events in their areas.
Almost 300 international students attended the Coffee House event, representing numerous J‐1 sponsors. It was an excellent opportunity for InterExchange students to meet peers visiting Virginia Beach from all over the world. In addition to hosting events at the Coffee House, the VBCC organizes summer outings and recreational volleyball and soccer games for international students.
InterExchange staff spoke with many Work & Travel USA participants as well as participants from other sponsors at the event. We were happy to hear that the Virginia Beach community has provided a warm welcome and has helped make this an amazing, memorable summer for them.
Attendees enjoyed local musicians at 'open mic' night[/caption]
The Coffee House event proved to be a great opportunity for cultural exchange and community interaction. Students even brushed up on their knowledge of the U.S. during a culture trivia game, answering questions like, "Which ocean is on the East Coast of the United States?"
Coordinating students' attendance at such events is just one of the ways InterExchange encourages cultural exchange and provides opportunities for participants to interact and learn from Americans and one another. Whether attending local baseball games or volunteering for a good cause, Work & Travel USA program participants are always finding new ways to be involved in their communities.
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.