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6 posts categorized "Internship USA"

Being a Part of the News in Washington D.C.

By Eline de Zeeuw, CIEE Internship USA participant

My name is Eline de Zeeuw, I am 24 years old and a student from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. As of this January I am a proud (temporary) resident of Washington D.C, where I am doing an internship with NOS Dutch TV & Radio. NOS is the leading news organization in the Netherlands.

Up to now my experiences here have been kind of surreal: I am living in the capital of America – where all the news seems to happen these days – and I am working with journalists who I consider the crème de la crème in their expertise.

One of my main jobs here is to come up with ideas for stories and produce items for our daily news shows. Besides that, I had the chance to write a lot of articles for our website. Even though I have lived in the United States before – I studied in upstate New York in 2013 and traveled around the country – working at NOS gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people and I got to help cover historical events.

My experiences here have been kind of surreal: I am living in the capital of America – where all the news seems to happen these days – and I am working with journalists who I consider the crème de la crème in their expertise.

For example, I covered Inauguration Day for NOS News’ Snapchat. The next day, I experienced the insane masses at the Women’s March myself. I also wrote a story about a barber from Iraq whose family was affected by the recent executive orders on immigration. My work in these past few months has touched on some of the most high-profile news stories in the country, and I feel lucky to be witnessing history first hand.

Opioid Crisis
One of the most eye-opening stories I got to write at NOS was about the opioid crisis in the United States.

Carin, a mother of 4, welcomed us into her house in Frederick County, Maryland to speak about the situation she and her family were caught in. Both her husband and her son became addicted to painkillers and heroin. Both her husband and son are doing relatively okay now, but the county she’s living in is suffering. In one week she lost three people she knew to heroin.

Every American seems to have a bigger plan for their future. Even if they are homeless, they don’t give up.

I was really impressed by the way Carin told us her story. As she was sitting at her kitchen table, speaking so openly and honestly about it, the only thing I could hope for was that writing her story down would at least help create awareness for this problem.

The article I eventually wrote was featured on the NOS website as ‘recommended by our editors’. Carin even got back in touch with us and said that she had received many positive messages from people in the Netherlands. That made me quite proud. It sure was one of the most memorable moments of my internship to me.

The Clichés are Real

I will only stay in DC for one more month, and then I’ll be heading back home. The experience has been real. I won’t deny it, the clichés are true: living in another country and meeting people from other cultures and nationalities really broadens your perspective. In addition, even though living in America has been a dream come true, being away from your family, friends and home country gives you a new perspective.

I feel very lucky as a Dutch person that I have access to health care and that we have a federal safety net to fall back on when we lose our job, and that basically everyone has access to affordable high quality education. Oh and I have to mention… how I’ve missed a Dutch sandwich with some good cheese (come on Americans, what you sell in the store for cheese is far from the real deal)!

But there’s a lot of lessons to take home too. Even though the problems of wealth disparity and social inequality are evident in America, I feel like there’s a vibe we sometimes miss in the Netherlands: one of hope and belief. Every American seems to have a bigger plan for their future. Even if they are homeless, they don’t give up.

I talked to a homeless person for example, who assured me that one day he would have a house again and is going to start a coffee bar. And an Uber driver in D.C. is never ‘only’ driving an Uber, it’s a man or woman making the money they need to chase their dreams. I met one guy who is trying to get into a prestigious college but he doesn’t have the money to pay the tuition, so he drives at night. And I met an Ethiopian man that wants to bring his family to the States, so he takes extra shifts on the weekend in addition to his job at a law firm.

All these encounters have inspired me to follow my own dreams and to work hard to achieve them. Please go chase yours!


Expanding Horizons in New York City

By Laima Eglite, Baltic-American Freedom Foundation Intern

When I arrived at the beginning of my program, it was my first time in the United States. and from the minute I landed in JFK airport still everyday something surprising and new appears in American culture. The biggest difference from my home in Latvia was the size of everything. Buildings, cars and scale of everything that Americans do.

My first month here I visited MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to attend a Coldplay concert. I had never seen such an enormous complex built mainly for sport events. Also its not correct to compare to my home country because the population here is different by tens of millions of people.

I found that in America everybody I met was super friendly and open. People tend to give compliments on streets or on trains just to express their opinion. It’s much easier here to start conversations with strangers and find new fantastic addition to your friend group.

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In front of the Brooklyn Bridge

I have been in the United States for four months now, and I can truly say that I have become more open minded and accepting of different nationalities and their cultural background. I didn’t always have this before because my home country is not very diverse, I would guess only 5-8 nationalities living there. Here in U.S. it’s the opposite, especially New York. There are so many communities and international people. It’s always a big honor to meet new people and listen to their story about how they ended up in U.S. and what life they have now. I really hope that my story will inspire other young people to try this program.

I had several reasons for coming to the U.S. Mostly it’s in my character: I’m a person who cannot sit in place for long, and I love challenging myself. I love living out of my comfort zone and this feeling keeps me going. Since I was a little kid I have always wanted to spend time in the U.S., especially to New York, and try my luck here. The rest is history and I can truly say that every single day I have to pinch myself to believe that I’m really living my dream now. And I can only say that I love it and enjoy it very very much.

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On the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I feel very lucky to be working in my field, clothing manufacturing and fashion industry management. People I meet at my work are remarkably inspiring. I see how hard they work and how much they sacrifice to succeed. This feeling and the environment pushes me every day to be better person and never give up on my own dreams.

My main goal when I come back is to inspire people, mostly young professionals. So many young people are scared to try this opportunity, to step out of their usual work/study schedule. I want to be an ambassador and give public speeches at universities and schools sharing my experience and the intellectual growth of my journey in the United States.

What I would say to other students in my home country is, just apply! This experience will change your life for the better.

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On one of my trips outside the city

When a Dream Comes True in the Green State of California

By Safia Dworjack, CIEE Intern

When I learned that I had landed the position to work on an environmental program for the City of San José in California, it was a dream come true.

California is a very appealing state with its beaches and its year-round sunshine. It is also, for an environmentalist like me, the state where innovation and challenges make your everyday job exciting. In the heart of the Silicon Valley, I had the opportunity to attend many conferences and workshops to build my skills and knowledge in the environmental field. I took the opportunity to speak to a conference, This Way to Sustainability, at Chico State University, to present the program I was working on.

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With the cohort of young American graduate students in Sustainability

For my job, I engaged local businesses in an energy efficiency program, Step Up and Power Down, to help them reduce their energy consumption. Being so close to the local community and building trust relationships in a culture and a language which were not mine was very rewarding.

I had the chance to work with an awesome young woman 8 hours a day who gave me a deep dive in the American and Vietnamese culture. Thirty percent of the population in San José in Vietnamese, the biggest in the US!

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Ready to go out into the field and engage businesses with my colleagues

I was also able to take part in a graduate program in sustainability. There, I was able to meet 30 American students who shared my passion, and also allowed me to discover the challenges and hopes of my generation in this leading country of the United States.

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With the Energy Champions for the behavior change campaign I led at City Hall

Finally, I had the honor to be selected for the CIEE I-LEAD program in DC, a 6-day workshop with 58 other J-1 interns from 30 different countries. Through workshops and activities, I was pleased to discover many kind-hearted young people which galvanized me in continuing my work to make a difference in my country.

Back in France, I am proud I did that experience as it made me grow as a person, and gave me professional experience that I already see is making a difference on the job market. If you have any hesitations or legitimate fears to live this experience, I would say go for it as it will be an amazing experience that will make you stronger on so many levels!

Event Recap: Happy Hour on the Hill

This post originally appeared on the CIEE Alumni Blog.

On February 9, the CIEE Alumni Washington, D.C. Chapter and CIEE J-1 Professional Exchange Programs co-hosted a happy hour on Capitol Hill to bring together alumni of all CIEE programs and current participants of the CIEE Internship USA and Professional Career Training USA programs for a night of networking. Over 40 alumni and interns, including many participants of the Australian Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Programme (UCWIP), gathered at Capitol Lounge to exchange stories of their travels and talk about international politics. Some CIEE alumni were able to identify and speak to Australian interns who were working at their home state's congressional representative's office on Capitol Hill - a unique opportunity to hear different perspectives on local politics. Here's what some of our attendees had to say about the event:

"It was really interesting to meet the J-1 Interns and hear their perspectives on the government offices where they work. As outsiders to our political system, they talked about their internship locations in a more objective way than Americans who work on the Hill, without all of the usual partisanship and personal feeling that comes from having a personal stake in the process. I’m sure they’ll go back to their home countries with a more nuanced understanding of U.S. politics than what makes it into the news. " - Jackson Morawski, chapter member (CIEE Study Abroad Tokyo, Japan, 2014)

"Over drinks and Capitol Lounge’s famous wings, we shared our experiences of working and traveling outside our home countries. It was a great chance to meet fellow internationally-minded young people, share travel stories, and hear about their experiences in Washington, D.C. during this politically interesting period in the United States. As with many CIEE events, never a dull moment in a room full of well-traveled, energetic, and curious people. Hopefully the first of many shared events with UCWIP." - Mariah Deters, CIEE Alumni Washington, D.C. Chapter President (CIEE Study Abroad, Beijing, China, 2012) 





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BAFF Alum Virginijus Sinkevicius Elected to Lithuanian Parliament

Former Baltic American Freedom Foundation intern, Virginijus Sinkevicius, has won a seat in the 2nd round of Lithuanian Parliament elections as MP for his personal constituency in Vilnius's Seskine district. He defeated his running mate, Audronius Azubalis, Conservative Party member and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, in a landslide victory. Virginijus ran as the 26th member on the list of the Lithuanian Peasant and Green Party for a seat in both Parliament and his personal constituency in Vilnius. Virginijus is the second youngest member of this newly elected Parliament and currently heads the Regulatory Affairs Team of the Project Management Department at “Invest Lithuania”.
Virginijus 1Virginijus is a graduate from Aberystwyth University, UK with a diploma in Bachelor of Economic, Social and Political Studies, as well as from Maastricht University, Holland, with a Master's in European Studies. He has also interned at the office of the Prime Minister of Lithuania in the Regional and Ethnic Issues Unit.

As a participant of the BAFF Professional Internship Program, Virginijus enjoyed his training period at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) from 2013-2014. During his year in the U.S., Virginijus became an active member of the Lithuanian-American community, and taught children at the Lithuanian Saturday School in Washington, D.C. He writes, “I am thankful to BAFF for the unique opportunity provided. I had an extremely positive experience in the United States capital Washington DC, which taught me exceptional lessons, boosted my self-confidence, and encouraged me to reach the highest goals in life. I am grateful that the people of Lithuania evaluated my experience and gave me a chance to serve them.”

During his time in the U.S. Virginijus was a frequent contributor to the BAFF blog, which you can read here. Congratulations, Virginijus!
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Love at Third Sight, Deep in the Heart of Texas

By Marta Lange, CIEE Baltic-American Freedom Foundation Intern

Admiring the statue of cardiac surgeon Dr. Michael E. DeBakey at Houston Methodist Hospital

It was a cold and windy December morning as I left my beloved, snowy Latvia and landed in sunny Texas. Houston greeted me with skyscrapers, palm trees with Christmas lights and a swimming pool in my backyard. In the so called Lone Star State Texas you can find surprises on every corner. At the beginning for me: a person who comes from a country of 2-million people getting used to Houston was pretty hard. Understanding people, their culture, the size of life, city and food portions was quite a challenge. At the beginning I stubbornly did not want to admit that I was experiencing culture shock, but now looking back I realize I had it.

At first I struggled with small talk in the elevators and the fake-smile "how-are-you" culture. To be honest, this positive attitude sticks, and now after a year I can say that I will miss saying "Hi" to complete strangers on the street. The Southern hospitality in Texas is something that a very Nordic person like me will never forget. That is one thing I could not understand at the beginning, but now I like it! That is one of the factors that really made me love Texans: being polite, and really meaning it, opening the doors for each other, saying "ma'am" and "sir" to everyone regardless the age. I fell in love with Houston only after two trips away from it. I had to leave it and come back to realize that I love it. The value and magic at the same time is the Texan people.

International experience enriches someone who has lived abroad, especially if you are in close contact with the locals and other foreigners. Tasting the culture, enjoying the adventure of something unknown. Then, leaving the place that has been your home for several months or years, you always leave and take something, so at the end your Home is everywhere. That is what the international exchange means to me: the inspiring people I meet and the feeling that I can find something to relate with, to feel like at Home in every place I visit. It feels like being a migrant bird that flies forth and back every season.

After the training of every Medical Engineer's dream: the Da Vinci Surgical System during the "Re-Evolution Summitt" at Houston Methodist Hospital

My internship took place in Cardiovascular Surgery Department of Houston Methodist Hospital. The main fields of research included radiation safety, robotic tele-presence systems and ultrasound diagnostics. Also, I have gained a whole lot more skills and strengths that cannot be measured, but have significantly improved, like leadership, management, language and networking skills that will help to develop my ideas in the future.

When I return home in Latvia, I would like to continue my work in the field of Medical Devices, innovations and research. Our current Healthcare system is about to experience a lot of changes, and I would like to give my input. I feel that we have to remember the simple things, the simple truth: that the priority is the patient and only healthy and happy, satisfied people can build a strong society in a country. Last but not least, my dream is to improve the conditions, environment, the system and funding for the Nursing homes and Hospices in Latvia.

Working together with colleagues for a radiation safety project in the Hybrid Operation Room at Houston Methodist Research Institute

I strongly believe that the young professionals from programs, like BAFF, HAESF and other organizations have the capabilities and the necessary skill set to become leaders and make a change for a better future!

The J-1 Visitor Exchange Program is a wonderful opportunity to experience The United States, immersing yourself into the life, the culture, the work, what is most important - the people. For sure, this program gives great opportunities for your chosen career path and even greater possibilities to network and share ideas!

Building bridges with Hilton Lam during Intern Leadership Enrichment and Development program (I-LEAD) in Washington, DC