A smile can make all the difference…literally.
All Cultural Vistas exchange participants and alumni are invited to submit original photos for the chance to win $1,000 in prizes, including an iPad Air.
A smile can make all the difference…literally.
“I worry about funding for CBYX. I worry about Richard Lugar no longer in the House — a great supporter of this program, of exchange programs in general, and of the German American relationship. And his absence is felt.
So whatever you can do — not just spread the word to other young people about exchange programs or learning a second language or working in government service or international careers — all of which are good. Do everything you can to make sure that we stay vigilant in building and rebuilding constantly the transatlantic bridge.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy spoke to Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals alumni upon their return from Germany.
You ever have that feeling where you’re not sure if you’re awake or still dreaming?
So.. we’re scrolling through our photo contest entries and we came across this gem from Yuuki, a Sophia University student from Tokyo, who interned at the Japan Society Film Program and Kevin’s Entertainment in Los Angeles.
Our American Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals Fellows visited Frankfurt this weekend to meet German CBYX alumni and the US-German Consul General for Frankfurt.
"Keep the relationships you developed and keep them fresh. Stay with them. At the end of the day, you build a relationship between two peoples and two countries one brick at a time. You build it by staying close to your host family, staying close to somebody you were in class with, staying close with each other right here.”
Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip Murphy (pictured with German Consul Bernd Reindl) spoke to American Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals participants upon their return from Germany, noting the importance of exchange programs like CBYX and their continuing role as alumni to be citizen ambassadors.
Our 27 Global Career Launch participants gathered together on their last evening in Washington, D.C. to reflect on their summer internship program.
This experience was the first time many of them had ever visited the United States, lived away from family, or completed a professional internship. The summer was also filled with fun memories exploring DC, traveling, learning about U.S. holidays, and making new friends.
"Living in another country, learning the language, and managing my life in a foreign environment was very empowering." - Ben Becker, CBYX, 2005-06
It’s one thing to visit a country, moving on when you’ve seen enough, and it is quite another to live there and function according to a different set of norms.
Finding your calling can often have many twists and turns.
Before spending the summer of 2011 in a public relations internship in Sao Paulo through IAESTE United States, Todd broke out of his comfort zone by exploring a culinary career in Malaysia.
"I had never been on my own so far away from all that I knew. That experience allowed me to self-reflect and explore new opportunities previously unmentioned or thought of."
Below, he reflects further on his first international experience and how it helped him to appreciate other cultures.
Never had I lived so far from home. I mean, of course, 9,000 miles sounded like a long way but it’s another thing to make the journey itself. Did I really want to travel that far to cook in a different kitchen? This thought plagued me night and day.
One afternoon, as I flipped another customer’s omelet at Donna’s Grill on the Hill in Providence, Rhode Island, I started thinking about that number; nine thousand. It’s really just a number. What’s there to worry about?
Well, I found a lot.
I scooped up the regular’s hash browns and plated them next to his oversized omelet. I must have made 100 omelets that day. Exciting, but not really.
My chef coat was torn on my right sleeve by my wrist and above the elbow, so to hide its faults I rolled it practically to my shoulder. It looked ridiculous, but I used that arm to pick up the customer’s plate, turn and set it down in front of him at the counter. He already had both fork and knife in his hands.
“Enjoy, let me know if I can get you anything,” I said to the dreary looking old man.
He looked at me, then down at his food and started to eat. As I started to turn around he stopped and looked up. With his mouth full off eggs he mumbled, “Where’s te katsup?”
I just didn’t quite understand the man, and 9,000 miles didn’t sound so far away after all.
A few months later, at the end of literally days of traveling, I found myself in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on my own and without a clue how to ask for directions.
But before I knew it I was cooking in four-star kitchens in the lucrative Bukit Bintang shopping district at Starhill Gallery; a long, long way from Donna’s.
Starting in the morning I would walk to the gallery and meet my colleagues in the locker room to change into our chef outfits. All the kitchens were open for diners to look into as they either sat in a multitude of restaurants or walked down classy hallways with track lighting. Appearance mattered.
By the end of my three-month stay I would work in the majority of the Starhill Gallery’s restaurants.
Depending on the kitchen I was working in, I got to try on a new, sometimes flashy, chef’s uniform. My personal favorite was the long pirate-like bandana from the Fisherman’s Cove restaurant.
Before lunch at the Japanese section of the Shook restaurant I made Dashi, a simple but elegant and necessary component to a lot of Japanese cooking. I learned to prepare Miso soup and other foods I loved to eat in the States but never could figure out how to make.
We got a 20-minute break for breakfast, and I took it sitting with coworkers outside under tall palm trees. I’d order my roti bakar (toasted bread with creamy butter) and sip on my tea. On the common chance that we didn’t have a clue what the other was saying we just stopped the conversation and laughed.
During lunch and dinner hours, Western tourists waltzed down the gallery’s hallways and peered into the kitchens through the viewing windows. My fellow cooks and I worked at our stations and watched them “Ooooh” and “Awwww” down the line until they got to me.
Puzzled, they’d stare and we’d laugh, often uncontrollably at their surprise. It is a good thing that some kitchens were so loud that the tourists couldn’t hear our kitchen banter about them.
My days were full of new techniques. My knife and cooking skills quickly grew, as did my mind to a broader acceptance of cultures. My coworkers were Buddhist, Muslim and Hindu. They came from Bangladesh, China and Indonesia.
Some spoke English fluently, while with others I formed strong bonds over how we could so adequately communicate with grunts and gestures. I attended a traditional Hindu wedding and was taken around the city by my colleagues to late night food markets and local music scenes.
Time flew and as it did I was humbled by how different and alike people in the world are. Sometimes I’d spend nights on my balcony watching the city trying to figure out why I was apprehensive to come to such an intriguing place.
I returned home with the realization that through living and working among others internationally, I grew as a person. My brief time in Malaysia prepared me for other situations that otherwise made me uneasy.
It’s not that my confidence increased though. It’s just a better understanding of others and myself that can only be learned through taking yourself out of your comfort zone and into the big, wide world.
Thanks to Albuquerque Council for International Visitors for arranging some fantastic visits for our Russian performing arts management professionals during their recent International Visitor Leadership Program. They really enjoyed their visits to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and meeting with the organizer of the New Mexico Jazz festival, Tom Guralnick.
A lot can happen in three weeks in Singapore & Malaysia. Check out the highlights from our American Youth Leadership Program trip last month.
We’re very excited to share a glimpse inside the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) as we film a documentary of our visiting group of youth development officials — 12 international visitors hailing from 13 different European countries here for three weeks to explore youth engagement in the United States.
Follow along on social media with #IVLPYouthDev
Also check out a few things one Polish participant shared that he’s already learned just in his first day of IVLP:
- Volunteering is a way to express individual leadership. I have never thought about it that way, but it’s more true than you would think at first sight.
- Leadership starts with self. Be a leader of yourself: learn, work on your weaknesses, grow professionally, mentally, spiritually. Learn how to do it over yourself first.
- Leadership and youth engagement doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Politics, government, administration set the tone of it.
- Individual initiative is a foundation of leadership, but coalition building is crucial. First ask yourself “What’s missing?”, “What can be added?”, “What can I do to change the state? (me, not the government). Than involve with others by creating or participating in NGOs and associations. Run awareness campaigns having in mind that the concept of common good is shaped by civic society. Than build coalitions based on what you can do and what others can do, leverage resources. Finally, use available tools to put pressure on the government and administration (lobbing, public hearings, etc.), the bigger the coalition, the bigger the pressure.
- Hate comes from ignorance and fear so educate yourself to increase your understanding and work with others to fight off your fears. But remember to think of your own first, be independent. Than learn how to work with others.
Well said, Maciej! We look forward to many more behind-the-scenes glimpses into the IVLP experience in the weeks to come.
Yum! Our Global Career Launch participants had a great time sampling DC’s finest food trucks the other weekend along with Cultural Vistas staff!
Earlier this month we took a walking tour of Harlem with 16 Train USA participants from 12 different countries attend. The group had the chance to see the Apollo Theater, Abyssinian Baptist Church, and Sylvia’s restaurant, and much more!
Our 2014 Cultural Vistas Fellows returned home this week from eight weeks interning abroad in Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Singapore.
Check out this video by Singapore Fellow Esther Chan, then go read more of their stories from abroad!