International students from around the world visit Virginia Beach every summer through the Summer Work Travel program, a J-1 Visa cultural exchange program overseen by the U.S. Department of State. Visiting students had a unique opportunity to learn more about the Virginia Beach community, through Virginia Beach Civic Day at City Hall, a special event coordinated on July 8th by the Virginia Beach International Students Outreach Program. J-1 Visa participants who are living and working in the area as well as their host employers and sponsors were invited to attend this event.
Mayor Sessoms formally welcomed international students to Virginia Beach and gave a personal hello to the J-1 participants who attended the event. The mayor spoke about the value of the program to the Virginia Beach community and acknowledged the cultural and economic contributions the students make during their time in the city. Students enjoyed the opportunity to learn about local government, meet Mayor Sessoms and see City Hall, while making new friends and getting unique insight into Virginia Beach as part of their summer experience.
After leaving City Hall one international student expressed his appreciation, saying, "This was a great experience. I would like to get more involved with politics."
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.