InterExchange contacts participants monthly via email, phone, or visits to the host company. We also host networking events in cities with large numbers of participants. These events are a fun opportunity for participants to meet one another and to share their experiences with InterExchange staff.
Our hope is that after an initial adjustment period, participants will progress through the program with few to no problems. It is expected that the first several weeks on the job may be challenging and stressful, especially considering many participants are not using their native language. If there is a major illness or emergency or if a participant is arrested, we notify you so that you may inform the participant’s family or emergency contact of the situation.
Though rare, there are occasions when participants are problematic in the workplace, thus resulting in program termination. You will be notified in such situations, and we ask for your assistance in communicating with participants to resolve any issues that may arise as a result of the termination. If we feel participants should not be placed with other employers, we ask for your support in ensuring they make the proper arrangements to return home.
If an employer is not following the training plan, a participant is not being supervised or trained, or a participant feels he or she is a victim of any sort of discrimination or abuse, InterExchange needs to be notified immediately so that we can speak with the employer or remove the participant from the environment if necessary.
Participants whose positions are terminated or who need to leave their positions for a valid reason may find a new position and submit a Change of Host application within 30 days of terminating the original training. Participants must request an application from InterExchange and provide an explanation regarding why the Change of Host is necessary.
Participants may not begin an internship or training program with a new host company until a Change of Host application has been submitted and approved by InterExchange. If participants leave their positions without contacting InterExchange, we will terminate their programs, and they will be required to leave the United States immediately.
If a participant would prefer to leave the U.S. rather than apply for a Change of Host, he or she must inform InterExchange immediately. If participants end their programs more than 15 days before their original completion date, we are required to end their program in SEVIS upon notification. Under these circumstances, when a participant’s program is ended in SEVIS, the participant has 30 days to leave the U.S. Participants who are terminated from the program must exit the U.S. immediately or risk incurring negative immigration status.
Participants who wish to travel outside the U.S. during their program must have their DS-2019 signed by a Responsible or Alternate Responsible Officer at InterExchange. They should send their DS-2019 Forms to InterExchange at least two weeks before they intend to travel and tell us the dates they will be out of the country and where they are traveling. We will sign the form and return it directly to the participant. Participants may not remain outside of the U.S. during their program for more than 30 consecutive days if they wish to remain in active status.
Participants in the New York metro area may come to our office to have their form signed. They should schedule an appointment at least one day in advance to ensure that a Responsible or Alternate Responsible Officer is available to sign their document.
As participants’ programs near an end, they must begin making their final arrangements to travel home. You may want to be in touch with these participants, as they may want to pass their apartments, cars, or other possessions on to participants who will soon be arriving. You can help to facilitate this process, and it can be a big help to new participants who will be located in the same city.
Shortly before participants’ programs end, InterExchange sends an email reminding them that once their end dates pass, they will not be able to continue interning or training and that their 30-day grace period will go into effect. Participants who have not yet completed their final evaluations also receive reminders to complete them, as final evaluations are required of all participants.
Cultural exchange occurs when people gain a more in-depth understanding and knowledge about another country, its culture, customs, and day-to-day practices through person-to-person contact. Our participants as well as our hosts embrace this aspect of InterExchange programs and understand its importance whether they’re part of a seasonal business, a host family, or a professional environment.
The United States is often described as a melting pot, attracting people from countries all over the world. It is a culture that is continuously being reshaped and redefined as more people from other countries gain exposure to the country. It is also influenced by visitors who share their cultures during their time in the U.S., and by the deeper insights and favorable attitudes about American life they return to their home countries with.
Spending time in the U.S. is a great opportunity to learn about American life. But beyond our participants’ day-to-day activities, InterExchange also makes an extra effort to ensure that all our international participants enjoy the full benefits of cultural exchange. We make it a priority to give international visitors the opportunity to learn about U.S. culture by encouraging them to spend time with Americans beyond just their co-workers, explore their host communities, visit unique cultural sites, and participate in activities that aren’t available in their home countries.
We’ve developed a comprehensive state-by-state online resource to help participants explore different cultural options. Everything from which museums to visit to which foods to eat to which performances to see are included.
Guide participants to read through these options and encourage them to coordinate activities as a group with friends from their country as well as the new American friends they make. Encourage them to ask their supervisors and new colleagues about other ways they can enjoy their time in the U.S. and how they can bring new insights and practices back to their home countries. Most areas of the U.S. have many natural sites and activities that are unique to their areas. Tell participants to take advantage of the opportunities that are all around them!