Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.
Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad
InterExchange's founders, Uta and Paul Christianson, believed that living and working abroad should be part of everyone's personal education. Cultural exchange broadens our global awareness, empowers us with intercultural connections, and provides a lifelong connection to the international community. It allows us to learn about the countries and cultures we visit, and to share our own traditions and points of view. By meeting people and seeking new experiences, we can strengthen our ties to other nations and cultures. We can encourage respect, cooperation, and appreciation for those who may be different from us.
As our world becomes more connected, international cooperation and understanding are critical not only for governments seeking successful diplomatic connections, but also for individuals seeking meaningful global relationships.
Sen. Fulbright and the J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Program
InterExchange is a proud partner of the U.S. Department of State in administering five J-1 visa Exchange Visitor Programs (Au Pair, Camp Counselor, Intern, Summer Work Travel, and Trainee). The Exchange Visitor Program was created by the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961, Senator J. William Fulbright's landmark legislation to increase mutual understanding between Americans and the people of other countries.
This legislation created such important academic exchanges as the Fulbright Program, among many others.
In that legislation, Senator Fulbright also saw the need for work-based and other experiential exchange programs -- and the Exchange Visitor Program was born.
Work can indeed be an important educational and cross cultural experience. It may be more influential in forming attitudes and impressions of American life than a purely academic experience.
Sen. J. William Fulbright
Over 50+ years, the Exchange Visitor Program has become the U.S.' largest international exchange program. The J-1 exchanges that InterExchange administers are privately funded and cost nothing to the U.S. taxpayer. In addition to its diplomatic and foreign policy benefits, the program has evolved to provide important economic benefits to U.S. host businesses, camps, and families.
We work hard to fulfill the goals of the Exchange Visitor Program, and to honor the legacy of Sen. Fulbright. We guide our international participants to take advantage of the many cultural opportunities offered by their local host communities in the U.S. Similarly, we encourage our U.S. host families, employers, and camps to promote cultural learning by introducing international participants to uniquely American values, customs, history, and activities, while also learning about the countries and cultures of visiting participants. Strengthening these relationships makes achieving the goals of mutual cultural exchange possible and allows us to build a global community—one person at a time.
Thoughts on Travel and Cultural Exchange
Wise words of some classic authors and philosophers help sum up the many benefits of travel and cultural exchange. You can also browse our list of favorite American books in our Top Cultural Picks area of Cultural Compass!
...nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people.
Mark Twain, American author
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher
Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.
Seneca, Roman philosopher
Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.
Miriam Beard, American author
A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.
Moslih Eddin Saadi, Persian poet
One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.
Henry Miller, American author and playwright
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