Feb1020097:03 am

Three exchange orgs and the WEST Program

Starting a new job is always an exciting experience, if also slightly odd. It’s especially weird when there is no real buffer or transition between one job and the next—you go to work on Friday as usual, enjoy your weekend as usual, and then wake up for work on Monday as usual, only to go a completely different place. This quote from Ta-Nehisi Coates, in his book The Beautiful Struggle, sums up quite nicely the refractory, almost out of body experience that can come with starting a new job:

Just when you master the geometry of one world, it slips away, and suddenly again, you’re swarmed by strange shapes and impossible angles.

That all said, my first day at the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange was a pretty successful one, I think, and I’m very gratified to be there. Among a few other places, my first eight hours on the job took me to the Foreign Press Center on 14th Street for a press conference announcing the introduction of the new Work, English Study and Travel (WEST) Program, a partnership between the U.S. and Korean governments that will allow “qualifying [Korean] university students and recent university graduates to enter the United States for a period of up to 18 months on J-1 exchange visitor visas that will allow them to study English, participate in professional-level internships, and travel independently.”

The three sponsoring organizations of the WEST Program are international nonprofits certainly worth checking out for those interested in the fields of international education and exchange:

The Association for International Practical Training (AIPT) (based in Bethesda, MD): provides educational and professional exchange experiences that enhance cultural awareness, develop global competencies, mutual understanding, and international cooperation.

The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) (based in Portland, ME): helps people gain understanding, acquire knowledge, and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world.

The Intrax Cultural Exchange (based in San Francisco, CA): provides both international students and U.S. host families with a unique and personal exchange opportunity that increases cultural understanding, and inspires mutual respect and personal growth.


Categories: Uncategorized | Follow responses via RSS | Pinging not allowed.

Leave a Reply