In This Report
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
Congratulations to this year’s Super Au Pair Winner, Lena Pehle from Bochum, Germany and the Moore Family of Redmond, Washington. Shortly after Lena’s arrival, Aubra and Clark Moore learned their daughter Kira was diagnosed with lymphoma and had to undergo intensive medical treatment. Lena’s commitment, creativity, and selflessness made them a Super Au Pair. Congratulations Lena!
Meet this year’s ten super au pair finalists representing Brazil, Mexico, Japan and Germany.
2022 Program Participant Reflections
“As soon as I got here, I realized I belonged, everybody was so warm and welcoming, I knew I was in the right place. I have the freedom to share with others the beauty of my Hispanic culture and how we get to enjoy life. There are so many discipline skills I have learned from culture in the U.S, as well as how organized and strategic people are when it comes to new ideas. Making sure everything is on point and well done, and most importantly,z how friendly and welcoming everyone is.”
– Patricia from Honduras, Camp USA
“What I like the most is that people are very humble and ready to have fun. Also, what I like is that many restaurants show the price with pre-calculated tips, so you don’t have to do the math. As a team-building activity with my host employer, we went rafting to Buena Vista. My river rafting experience was about 5 hours long, and we went through beautiful landscapes and canyons with a local guide. There is more to explore about the region, and I am really looking forward to it.”
–Mateo from Croatia, Work & Travel USA
“The environment in which I am training is an ideal one, with everyone being very supportive and helpful. The knowledge I am gaining every day by being part of such a big organization is huge. The most memorable experience was attending an NBA game at TD Garden in Boston. I will never forget the atmosphere there!”
– George from Romania, Intern USA
The experience was amazing and unforgettable. I loved every minute of it! I met many people from different countries, I learned a lot about American culture, I was part of an incredible team at Deer Valley Resort, and I collected moments that I will never forget. I feel blessed to be part of this beautiful season!
– Ingrid from Argentina, Work & Travel USA
Celebrating our Hosts
In 2022, host organizations and host families in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan) welcomed InterExchange program participants and shared with them American culture, lifestyle, and traditions.
It is such a joy, from the interview process until participants’ last day, to see the excitement and passion the Work & Travel USA students have about coming to experience a new culture for the season. Those three months go by in a flash! While the students are here, we are also learning from them and gaining new perspectives. Seeing everyone, meaning the exchange program students and associates, mesh so well; it is so enlightening!
Lindsey Z., Human Resources Business Partner, Bluegreen Vacations Corporation. Work and Travel USA host employer.
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Part of LBNL’s core mission is to train the next generation of scientists. With over 1,700 visiting scholars, it is evident that international exchange is critical for conducting rich, inclusive, and high-impact science with broad-reaching global impact. Hosting and working with international interns and trainees is a feature of the labs inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) program.
Hannah B. Research Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Career Training USA host organization.
Hosting international counselors brings so much depth and richness to our summer camp program. We all learn from one another, and their work with our campers with disabilities offers them skills that they can take back to their home countries. This exchange makes such a positive global impact!
Patricia G. Director at Lions Camp Badger. Camp USA host employer.
Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
DEI continues to be central to our work as an organization. In 2020 and 2021, the DEI Committee was focused on elevating our own awareness and education. In 2022, we shifted to developing ways to share resources with our participants to bring awareness to them about the principles of DEI. Here are two great examples of how we did it!
Cultural Engagement+DEI Program
Launched Culture Talk series for participants – a pilot discussion in February for Black History Month – as well as two Instagram Live sessions providing a platform for our alumni to share ways in which they celebrated diversity during their Camp USA and Work & Travel USA Programs.
Our ongoing Culture Buzz communications reached up to 12,000 participants and featured diverse topics, including the DEI Buzz of the Month!
Courageous Conversations and Open Forums
Our staff came together to openly and honestly discuss challenging topics related to DEI and current events, including the Importance of Representation in Entertainment, the Rise of Antisemitic Hate Speech, Cancel Culture, and Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Learn more about our work and commitment to DEI in 2022 and beyond.
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.
Scholarship recipients with Nicole Elkon, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State.
We are proud of our collaboration with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), the U.S. Embassies overseas, host employers, and international partner agencies. We are grateful to our colleagues and partners in the international education and exchange community for acknowledging our efforts and presenting InterExchange and CIEE with a Notable Innovation Award at the annual Global Youth Travel Awards ceremony, the culmination of the World Youth Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) held in Lisbon.
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.
This year, we are thrilled to shine a light on some of our female participants and provide them with an opportunity to share how their time in the U.S. helped further their careers in traditionally male-dominated fields.
Meet Eva from Germany, Oumaima from Morocco, Corinna from Italy, and Augusta from Lithuania; as they discuss how their experience in the United States helped them advance their educational and career goals in the fields of molecular biology, electrical engineering, artificial intelligence, and robotics, and architecture.
Supporting Young Americans With a Passion for Improving the World
In 2022, the InterExchange Foundation awarded $27,000 in grants to talented and ambitious Americans eager to carry out notable service projects in various countries throughout the world. We are proud to support our fellows’ unique exchanges while they are gaining hands-on experience by thoughtfully contributing their skills within a different culture.
Max is spending eight months in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to volunteer with Fundación Bolivia Digna, an NGO that works to promote and defend the rights of infants, children, adolescents and other vulnerable social groups living on the margins of society. Max will engage in English-language communications work to help promote the organizations’ work in the local community. Max’ vision is to do humanitarian work and outreach for an organization such as the Red Cross or one of the different sections of the United Nations in the future.
– Maxwell Harris-D’Amato, Riverside, IL
Savarna has spent six months in the Kathmandu and Sindhupalchowk regions of Nepal to volunteer with Ek Ek Paila and Thokarpa Hospital in Nepal. Savarna has created and conducted a Quality of Life Survey among maternal-aged women in the community to determine their specific healthcare needs and help the newly-built community hospital specifically tailor their services. Savarna plans to go to medical school and hopes to return to Nepal as a doctor in the future.
– Savarna Pahari, Manassas, VA
Elizabeth spent six months in Cape Town, South Africa, volunteering with Hope Prison Ministry. After receiving training in restorative justice practices, Elizabeth implemented and systemized a formal training program for facilitators who monitor and guide healing dialogues between offenders and their victims. Elizabeth now hopes to get introduced to custodial settings in the United States and to explore juvenile justice and preventative/diversion programs for juveniles.
– Elizabeth Greeley, Lexington, MA
Miles spent six months in Nersa, India, where he worked with TERI – The Energy and Resources Institute to repair and improve the community’s existing water system to provide consistent water access for many years to come. Miles plans to garner financial support for and build additional induced bank filter (IBF) systems in villages adjacent to Nersa.
– Miles Schelling, Putney, VT
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.