Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Happenings: 3-D Printing, Biking, Rio Olympics

Our alumni are meeting important people, sharing their expertise in influential publications, and attending conferences around the world.

Meet some of our inspiring alumni and find out about our upcoming gatherings we are hosting across the United States.

andrew budsock cybx alum

Andrew Budsock and Nicole Bustamente (CBYX alumni) will be participating in the Harvard Project for Asian and International Relations conference in Hong Kong.

What have our alumni been up to?

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Alumni Spotlight

Eric Paul on How to Make Your Internship an Adventure

Our Transformed by Travel Photo Contest is open to all of our participants and alumni. Instead of just showing you their prize-winning photos, we asked them some questions to get to know them.

This week, we asked Eric Paul, a J-1 intern, for his advice on the photo contest and his internship. Check out his tips and some more of his beautiful photography.

photo contest winner eric paul mount shasta

Eric Paul poses in his prize-winning photo “Given the choice, always choose adventure.”

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How Sister Cities are Strengthening Citizen Diplomacy

Close your eyes and imagine a diplomat. Tell me, what do you see?

Is it a sharply dressed person with a dark suit and a pair of round, thin-framed glasses? Or perhaps someone with a thick binder of talking points? Is this diplomat shaking hands with their counterpart in front of a pair of gracefully draping flags?

Now open your eyes and look in the mirror. The diplomat is you.

I’m talking about citizen diplomacy. Through citizen diplomacy, everyone can be a diplomat.

sister cities los angeles

Which way to your hometown? Photo Credit: Prayitno (No modifications have been made)

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Celebrating J Day: Volunteerism, Food, and Friends

There are few American pastimes as important and pervasive as volunteerism. You can even say that it is built into the fabric of America, as it dates back to colonial times.

Today, nearly one in four Americans, an estimated 62.6 million people, give their time and talents to benefit their communities through service. Giving back is an integral part of U.S. culture, and thus, such opportunities are a mainstay in our exchange programs and across our work to expose international visitors to our country and way of life.

This past week, we hosted two special volunteer events in recognition of J Day, an annual nationwide celebration of the power of international exchange.

In both New York and Washington, D.C., our staff brought together more than 30 people representing 12 different countries to “eat, play, and give”—to share cultural diversity and American customs, to give back to their communities, and, of course, to have some fun while they were at it.

J Day NY Riverside Park

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Exchange Tips

How To Dress Like a Berliner

Before leaving for Berlin on the Cultural Vistas Fellowship, I got a lot of advice about how to dress, ranging from “100% black” to “skinny jeans” to “never smiling.” As someone equally terrified of airline weight restrictions and looking like a tourist, packing for this summer was an exercise in anxiety. I’ve outlined some of the major points for how to dress like a Berliner that I’ve picked up throughout the summer below.

how to dress like a berliner julia seied Continue Reading

Alumni Spotlight

8 Stories to Celebrate the International Day of Friendship

When traveling abroad, one of the most fulfilling experiences is developing friendships. But the friendships you form abroad can look different from what you expect.

In 2011, the United Nations proclaimed July 30th as “International Day of Friendship.” The resolution emphasizes the involvement of young people as leaders to help promote friendships between countries, people, and individuals as a means to “inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.” That sounds a lot like our work at Cultural Vistas…

In honor of the five-year anniversary of this resolution, I sought out stories of friendship from our own exchange program alumni. Below are some of my favorite anecdotes.

Friendship knows no language barriers.

This anecdote comes from Megan Bradford2015 Cultural Vistas Fellowship alumna, living and working with her fellow peers in Bangalore, India. The photo was taken during a trip to the southern east coast of India.

indian rickshaw ride

Photo Credit: Megan Bradford

“This is my new friend from England speaking in French to an Indian man in Pondicherry. It’s crazy how many connections you can make when you start talking to people. And she got to test out driving the auto rickshaw.” Continue Reading

Exchange Tips

Six Things to Know When Applying for a J-1 Visa

Do you have an offer to intern or complete on-the-job training in the United States, but don’t know where to begin?

Navigating the J-1 Visa process can be confusing and complicated. How do you know if the J-1 is a good fit for you? How long does the process take? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Cultural Vistas sponsored J-1 intern and trainee programs for over 4,600 students and professionals that took place in all 50 states in 2015 alone.

Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions for anyone considering applying for a J-1 intern or trainee visa.

applying for a j-1 visa

Don’t pull your hair out while applying for your J-1 Visa.

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To the Discouraged: Studying Abroad Will Change Your Life

Studying abroad is a major decision in the life of a student.

Once we have committed to reading the information about a particular program, we begin to well up with questions and concerns. How am I going to pay for this? Is it safe? Will my parents approve?

These questions make finishing the pamphlet or web page seem suddenly less attractive. As a result, many students in high school and college completely miss out on an incredible opportunity to network and expand their professional, social, and cultural horizons.

I have had the opportunity over the last year to take two separate study abroad trips to Europe. The first journey took me to Paris for two weeks to witness and participate in the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP 21). The other was to Germany with Cultural Vistas through its STEM LAUNCH program, which is generously funded by The Halle Foundation.

Kaylon Paterson Morehouse study abroad stem launch

Kaylon Paterson of Morehouse College reflects on his experience studying abroad through the STEM LAUNCH study tour.

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Nonprofit Organizes U.S. Internships for African Young Leaders

The J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Program is about practical work experience and cross-cultural exchange. The American Internships for African Students Program, organized by These Numbers Have Faces, is a perfect example of valuable professional experience and meaningful international connections.


Jean Paul, Samantha, Berthine, Benson, These Numbers Have Faces staff member Keana Zoradi, and Alice enjoying time in the park on the scholars’ first day in the United States.

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