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14 posts categorized "Internship USA"

HAESF alumna cultivates the next generation of female business leaders

In 2015, Anna Tóth traveled to Savannah as an intern through the Hungarian-American Enterprise Scholarship Fund (HAESF). There, she gained valuable experience at the startup engine Creative Coast. Anna has a master's degree in public relations and advertising from Corvinus University. Now back in Hungary, she works as a Business Development Manager at Reliable Education in Budapest. Outside of work, she co-founded The Millennial Women Network, an international network of young women. We interviewed Anna via email.

Anna Toth
Anna Tóth

What did you learn during your year in the United States that has helped you to succeed in your career?

During my year in the United States I gained invaluable leadership skills and built long-lasting transatlantic relationships. Today, I'm still in touch with many people I met in the US - my host, my co-workers, members of the community and my friends. These relationships mean a continuous inspiration for me to grow and make an impact in Hungary.

I always wanted to create a non-profit organization that could help raise living standards in Hungary. During my internship in the United States I realized that creating a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem could be the key to reach this goal. During my internship I was responsible for organizing Startup Lounge, an event that brings together entrepreneurs and investors. This experience helped me create a vibrant entrepreneurial community with in Budapest.

At 6:20 Chili Nights we help entrepreneurs create new professional connections and get real-time feedback about their businesses. In the last two years, we have hosted 60+ entrepreneurs and created a community of 450+ members from 7 countries. Our mission is to create a thriving and supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Hungary and in the region. 

Anna 01
Anna at a StartupLounge event in Savannah, Georgia

Tell us more about the Millennial Women Network.

I co-founded the Millennial Women Network after returning home to Hungary after my internship. Our mission is to empower young women to become to leaders of the future. As a young woman myself, I realized that there's a lack of available resources for Generation Y women leaders to learn leadership skills, access networks and mentorship. That's why I have co-founded MWN. With my co-founders, Nora Sarkady and Bea Wray, we have created a global online community and we share inspiring stories of successful young women from around the world. We have also launched a mentorship program. We have 100+ members from 24 countries.

Anna 02
With the Creative Coast team

What is your advice to someone considering a J-1 internship program?

Without my J-1 internship I couldn't have launched an organization that helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses. I truly believe that J-1 programs can empower people from all over the world to have the confidence, the necessary skills and networks to create real change and make the world a better place. 

Intern lives out his architecture dreams in Miami

By Pablo Ambrossi, CIEE Internship USA 2017 alum

My name is Pablo Ambrossi and I was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. I am a 22-year-old student set to graduate in 2019 at the School of Architecture in Madrid, the ETSAM. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to continue my father´s legacy and become an architect. When I graduate, I plan to obtain some international experience working abroad before eventually returning to Madrid to work alongside my father.

Pablo Ambrossi at the Flat Iron construction site, Brickell neighborhood, Miami

I wanted to share with you my personal and fortunate experience after getting my J-1 visa stamped at the American embassy in Madrid and fulfilling my longtime dream of going to the United States. Even though it was only for a couple of months, living in the U.S. has taught me how rich and diverse this world is. This has helped me become more open-minded and accepting of other ways of life.

Architecture has always caught my attention because it not only covers basic needs with innovative solutions, but also improves and reflects the quality of life in all societies. This has woken up my interest to visit different countries and enrich my knowledge culturally and professionally. Because I see the U.S. as a cultural and economic leader in this global world, I applied for a two-month internship with Revuelta Architecture International Studio in Miami, Florida. During the internship, I obtained invaluable practical experience in American methods and strategies of architectural design and administration, as well as a familiarity with the American business mentality. During my stay, I encountered another way of managing architecture firms based on a rigorous work-ethic, a flexible work schedule, and continuous employee development. This helped me understand how theoretical ideas are applied to practical situations and how to apply these notions pragmatically to my future career.

Pablo with Senior Project Manager Xavier Iglesias at DPZ CoDESIGN, an architecture and urban planning firm in Miami

I worked in a multicultural environment, as there were people from more than ten countries in the office. There everyone could contribute equally to the development of the different projects in a very open-minded atmosphere. This exchange promoted different ways of thinking, as anyone who wanted to contribute was encouraged to do so and their ideas were always welcome.

In addition to my professional focus, I also took part in daily American culture and lifestyle. I took time to meet locals and visitors who wanted to have fun and enjoy the authentic day and night Miami´s flow. I went to Tampa and Orlando, visited museums, churches, and many other significant pieces of architecture. I also visited the Everglades, Key Biscayne, Miami Beach, among other notable Florida destinations.

With friends exploring the Everglades

I firmly believe that this visa program is an incredible opportunity to international students as well as for U.S. citizens. I believe travelling abroad is a very effective way of gaining cultural enrichment. One of the advantages of this Internship program is that Americans benefit from getting to meet students from different cultures combining it with their daily routine. This gives American citizens a chance to build bridges to link themselves to professional and cultural worldwide interactions in the future.

Wynwood Art District, Miami

A few months after I returned home I had the fortune of being selected to participate in the CIEE Alumni event in Madrid. An event organized by CIEE for young people like me who had lived and worked in the USA on an J-1 visa exchange program, so they could share their experiences with each other and representatives of the US Department of State.

When the day came, I prepared a speech and suited up, but when I arrived I realized the event wasn’t what I expected. It was an informal meeting in which we talked face to face with everyone, in a very close and friendly environment. However, they asked me to give my speech and so I did.

David Benze, ECA/EC Policy and Coordination Officer, U.S. Department of State, and Pablo, at a J1 alumni event in Madrid

Thanks to this event I met great people with whom I share many ideas and dreams. I also had the opportunity to talk with very important personalities that, without any doubt, could be of great help in my professional future.

This exchange program was an incredible and priceless experience that has opened many doors for me. I returned home with an improved English speaking ability and a more open mindset. This has allowed me to grow personally as well as professionally. I hope it will continue helping students all over the world to achieve all their goals, culturally and professionally.

Madrid Alumni Event - 12
Connecting with other young program alumni, CIEE staff, and Department of State representatives, Madrid.

HAESF professional intern alum makes waves in robotics

Tamas Haidegger came to the U.S. in 2007 as a Professional Intern through the Hungarian American Enterprise Scholarship Fund (HAESF). He was a research intern at the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics at Johns Hopkins University, working on a neurosurgical robot. In the 10+ years since, Tamas has launched an impressive career as an entrepreneur, researcher, and scholar. He is deputy director of the newly created Antal Bejczy Center for Intelligent Robotics, ÓbudaUniversity in Budapest. He is also CEO of the startup HandInScan, developers of the Semmelweis System of hand hygiene quality management, now in use in North American, European, and Japanese health care institutions. The company has employed multiple HAESF alumni in its research, development, and marketing efforts. In October 2015 Tamas Haidegger was awarded the prestigious Dennis Gabor Award in the Hungarian Parliament for his entrepreneurial achievements. The HAESF team caught up with Tamas recently and asked him about his work. 

Tamas Haidegger

Your research is in the field of Long Distance Teleportation control. Could you tell us more about what this is and your work? 

I was very interested in Space Robotics and through a Physician colleague, who asked questions about the possibility about performing long distance surgery in space, my interest in this area increased. Despite the fact that surgical robotics started in 1975 with the aim to support astronauts, there was no research on the physical consequences of space travel. Hence I chose the topic of my thesis to be the feasibility of such analysis and whether tele-surgery will be possible.

The field of long distance teleportation control became a hot topic in research when tele-robotics became possible. There are a lot of transatlantic and transcontinental robotic research experiments that are undertaken in this area today. In the meantime, I still think that it is very extreme and the more we think about going to the moon and shooting from Mars the more interesting the area is becoming.

Tamas as an intern, dreaming of space exploration

How did the idea of HandInScan come about? 

The idea of HandInScan came from one of my students who worked in hospitals. He researched the process doctors and nurses sanitized their hands after surgery. There are a lot of market products but when not used properly can cause infections which actually happens more times than we know of. In the western world, statistics also say that about 200,000 people die because of secondary infections they receive at hospitals during getting a treatment. HandInScan is an engineering machine which scans hands to point out the missed areas after regular sanitization is done. There is also a reporting function in the machine which sends reports and statistics to the management for analysis to make sure that processes are running correctly.

Tamas with Hand in Scan
Tamas with the HandInScan equipment

Between conducting research, leading a company and teaching, how do you manage your time? 

Excellence in research involves good methodology, very thorough basic knowledge and good people you work with can really make you successful in research and this can be translated into good startups. Teaching has provided me with the sales skills required to run this startup successfully. Also because the company is embedded into the university itself, management is something that I think I am doing well.

How do you think that your experience as a professional intern in the United States has shaped your career? 

The  HAESF  internship  was  a  life-changing  experience, which still determines   my  daily activities. I learnt quite a bit about high-end scientific  resarch,  researchc  and  education management, laboratory project  management, scientific paper and grant writing, and picked up various other soft skills. Also, the professional relationships lasted: I have sent numerous students to the US, having joint grants with Johns Hopkins University and an active working relationship with numerous groups I got to know during my stay.

What is your advice to young people just starting out their careers?

Two key messages that I really live by and would like to share with young professionals worldwide. First, if you can enjoy your job, you will never have to work your entire life.  And secondly, as an entrepreneur the best thing you can do is get smarter people aboard and make them excited about your problem. And this will help you be creative both in academic and business.

Changing professional perspectives: Carolin's year as an intern

By Carolin Richly, CIEE Internship USA participant 2015-2016

Carolin 1
Hi there. My name is Carolin, and I would like to share with you what I’ve experienced during my internship in the U.S and how I came to be an intern at one of the global leaders in water microbiology.

First, I would like to introduce myself. I am originally from Germany and grew up in a small town in Bavaria, which is located in the southern part of Germany. I studied at Julius-Maximilians-University of Wuerzburg, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology/microbiology in August 2015.

I first did an internship in a microbiology laboratory at a company in Munich called “Stadtwerke Munich.” Then, through networking, my experience in the microbiology field, and collaborating with the study abroad and intercultural exchange organization, CIEE, I found myself working at a company called IDEXX Laboratories. IDEXX offered me a temporary position in the Water R&D department starting in October 2015. IDEXX focuses on veterinary diagnostics for companion animals and livestock, and on water microbiology testing. Its headquarters are located in Maine, the most northeastern state of the US, with various locations spread all over the globe in nearly all parts of the world.

Carolin 2
What I accomplished as a result of the J-1 visa program

At IDEXX, I worked on projects that allowed me to be creative and to work independently. Mainly, I was tasked with finding technical solutions, creating new experiments, analyzing scientific data, and using proper scientific documentation for IDEXX Water products. Within this internship, I was able to apply and intensify my scientific knowledge and develop new technical skills. What I enjoyed most was experiencing how research works in a business environment. Unimaginably, this whole internship had already entirely grown on me after 3 months. I strangely felt like I belonged, and like I was home. Therefore, I decided to extend my internship from what was initially five months up to eleven months, since exchange students on a J1-visa like me may stay up to one entire year in the United States.
Lab Partner 3
Types of meaningful cultural experiences I had while working in the United States

All in all, it wasn’t just professional knowledge and practical laboratory experience I gained; my internship went much further. Staying over the summer in Maine allowed me to participate in many activities offered by my host company, like summer parties, lobster bakes, scavenger hunts and American sport games. Meeting and connecting with other interns and getting to know many of my fellow coworkers was such a valuable experience. I made lots of good friends, who even invited me to their family dinners, Thanksgiving, and Christmas celebrations.

Carolin Grand Canyon
While in the US, I did a lot of traveling. I explored many places along the East Coast, like Boston and New York City, and parts of the West Coast, too. If you ask me, there’s no place more beautiful in the U.S. than Maine. It’s not really about the place; it’s more about the people you spend your time with. I even bet that not many people are aware of Maine, a place I only got to know accidentally. What I like most about Maine is the fact that everyone I met was American, which usually happens rarely when going abroad. There’s no better place to get involved with the American culture than Maine.

Carolin and Rachel
During my stay in the US, I even got to participate in an Intern Leadership program funded mainly by CIEE and other sponsors like the U.S. Department of State. It was one of the most valuable experiences I have ever had. This workshop is called “ILEAD”, an “Intern Leadership and Development” program, in which fifty participants from more than twenty different countries were invited to the U.S. capital for five days. In this workshop, we were challenged to collaborate and brainstorm about diverse topics and problems. It is unbelievable how people coming from different backgrounds and cultures with diverse perspectives are able to work together in a team and create innovative concepts.

ILEAD Washington DC
Why I decided to come to the United States for an internship and how my experiences in the United States shaped and changed my opinion of America

To be honest, I didn’t really plan on doing an internship in the U.S.; it just happened. All I knew was that I wanted to take some time off from my studies. It could have been any country in the world, however, it happened to be the United States.

Retrospectively, staying in Maine was the best decision I could have made. People in Maine were friendly, open-minded, and welcoming. Although I cannot speak about Americans in general, since I have learned that every single state has its own cultures and traditions, based on my experiences, the U.S. truly is a great place to live. It is amazing how fast you can fall in love with a new place and call it your second home. My favorite part of the United States is the people and their mindset. I especially like their optimism and their generally positive attitude. Even though I came all the way over to the U.S. without knowing anyone, I haven’t felt lonely for one single moment. My working group and all the friends I made in Maine were a perfect temporary replacement for my family back in Germany. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy living in Germany and I would never leave my home country for good, but the U.S. is a lovely place to live, too.

Carolin 4
The impact my experience had on my life now that I’m back home

After my internship, I moved back to Germany to continue my studies. I am currently doing my Master’s in Biology and I just started another Master’s program in Management. This, I would have never thought of before coming to the U.S. My former American supervisor encouraged me to look into new domains and, especially, to think outside the box. The experiences I gained in the United States changed my professional perspectives quite a lot. Who can say that he/she spent almost one entire year living and working in a foreign country all by him-/herself?

Wrapping up

I will never forget the great time I had in the U.S. and the amazing people I met. It was an unforgettable year for me, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I am very grateful that I had such an outstanding opportunity. I know, some people might say you lose one year, but actually it is worth much more than anything else. It is an experience that shapes you and your future, personally and professionally.

Carolin 6

From exchange participant to host: our interview with Suzanna Jemsby

After hearing from CIEE Internship USA participant Soroth San, we wanted to learn about hosting a J-1 intern from the perspective of his school, The Galloway School in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Click here for Part I and Part II of Soroth's story. 

Please introduce yourself.

Suzanna Jemsby: I am Suzanna Jemsby, Head of School at the Galloway School in Atlanta, Gerogia. I’ve been in my role for six years. Interestingly enough, I moved to the United States from Germany 18 years ago on a J-1 visa to work as a high school principal at the Atlanta International School through the Cordell Hull Foundation.

J-1 Intern Soroth San and Suzanna Jemsby, Head of School, The Galloway School

Was this The Galloway School’s first experience hosting a J-1 intern?

SJ: This is the first one in my time. When the request [to host Soroth] came across my desk, I think I responded because I knew J-1 and it was a no-brainer. He’s coming from a part of the world which is hard for us to access and he had a very interesting story. He was coming with knowledge of school leadership, which is also unusual. I thought he could teach us a lot, and he certainly did, and by the same token, he might be able to get something out of his experience with us. We are extremely well-resourced as a school compared to his school system, so he could go back and share some of what he learned with us.

What do you think are some of the key takeaways that Soroth will be able to bring back to his school in Cambodia?

SJ: So much of it was unthinkable in his setting. The U.S. being a highly individualistic society, and Cambodia on a very different part of the spectrum, with an emphasis on group identity and a community approach to things. I think he was blown away that teachers really get to choose much of what they want to teach and when they teach it and how to teach it and what resources they’re going to use. I think he saw the value of what we’re doing. I think he’ll go back and try and disrupt the conversation and bring more of his ideas into the conversation.

[Soroth] looked up to me as this person who could make all these things happen. He feels as if he’s less of a player. He doesn’t even know if he’s going back to be a principal or if he’s going to reassigned to something else, and that would be unthinkable here. The rights of the individual are protected so much more in the States.

The Galloway School, Atlanta, Georgia

How do you think that your school community has been impacted by having Soroth as a part of it for a semester?

SJ: Well, he’s first of all, a very kind human being. He helped people on so many fronts, and on the empathy front first of all. Not everybody is accustomed to dealing with folks who don’t speak English as their first language every day. So it was good for them to remember that piece, and that rapid-fire English with lots of idiomatic phrases isn’t going to work with him.

Soroth also brought to life a part of the world that people don’t know very well. He was involved in an elective with the head of community engagement at the school, and talked about his childhood and interactions with the Khmer Rouge. He brought history alive and brought a face to something that’s very hard for young people to comprehend.

Then of course there’s the piece that he was able to bring in from his schooling experience. Particularly with the younger kids, Soroth was able to impact in a big way. He would share some of what Cambodian kids do at their age. What do P.E. lessons look like? Do they have big fancy gyms to play in? No, they go out with their classroom teacher and perhaps kick a ball around, these kinds of things.

Soroth with a kindergarten class

Soroth mentioned in his post that he had been studying English in school for fifteen years. Coming from a developing country, there may be a sense that in order to advance, you must have a global mindset. How does The Galloway School prepare students for this increasingly globalized world, and how do you think having an international J-1 intern can help advance that?

SJ: I’m a linguist by trade, so it was my first big goal for the school when I arrived six years ago to relook at how we teach languages. I believe it’s a tool; I believe it’s a way to understanding others in the world. It’s not something you learn about in a book and tick off with an AP at the end of grade 12. I think we do kids a disservice if they’re not competent in two languages by the time they finish school. Of course, many kids are getting close to that, but there are also a lot of kids who have decided that they’re not capable of it.

When you think about learning an Asian language in particular, it’s a difficult thing to do. [Soroth] really modeled fearlessness in this respect. He wasn’t always easy to comprehend at the beginning, even for someone who, as I consider myself, a sympathetic listener for people who don’t speak English as their first language. He made tremendous strides.

Do you think your school will host additional J-1 students in the future? Do you think it was an overall positive experience for students and the staff?

SJ: I think it was a positive experience. I’m actually leaving the school at the end of this year so it’s going to be up to the next head. I will make a strong case for doing it though, Soroth was awesome.

His own mother passed away the week of his high school graduation and he missed the ceremony. So we decided to actually have him “graduate” from Galloway. We printed up a certificate, gave him a cap and gown and he walked right through the entire faculty and everybody went crazy. I know he was very taken by this. I know he touched every single person on my faculty and staff in some way, shape, or form.

We had him spend time with every grade at the school so he started with the three-year-olds and we had him advance through the school and he finished with grade twelve. So he went through like a student, although in a condensed time. He went on field trips with the three-year-olds, he did spelling with the sixth graders, he talked about the Khmer Rouge with the seventh graders, shadowed a tenth grader, so he did a bit of everything. I remember saying to him “be everywhere! I want you to make the most of this opportunity.”

Overall it’s been really interesting and I hope the school continues. We all just wanted [Soroth] to have the happiest memories of Galloway and I think he will, there’s no doubt in my mind.

Soroth with students, The Galloway School

"Learn how to learn": Soroth's semester at The Galloway School

By Soroth San, CIEE Internship USA participant, 2017-2018.

See here for Part I of Soroth's story, and come back on Thursday for an interview with Suzanna Jemsby, Head of School of The Galloway School

This year I am an intern at The Galloway School in Atlanta, Georgia, but at home in Cambodia, I was working as a head of school at the capital city of the country. There, the challenges are different: I was encountering a ton of problems with discipline, assessing teachers and non-teaching staff, supporting staff professional skills, and creating a less stressed, collaborative, and friendly environment. I am excited to have an opportunity to look at other parts of the developed world which have gone through and successfully implemented educational philosophies that form an effective and efficient education system that enhances student’ learning and teachers’ skills. The main goal of my internship program is to be able to run a school in an appropriate way by the time I return to Cambodia.

Soroth San cooking
Soroth San

On the first page of my internship objective I was curious to know about the management team. At The Galloway School, I find that the principals for all the programs are independent and flexible. They always install a supportive and friendly environment when giving the commendations as well as recommendations for improvement. As I have noticed, they usually smile and talk openly, share, discuss and pass information on in a respectful and fun manner. As a result, many problems are quickly fixed. I sense lots of pros in regard to these special working attitudes. In this regard, I want to develop my skills and will take back those working practices to Cambodia and implement them among my staff. 

The school philosophy is the upmost guide that shapes the behavior in the working, teaching and learning environment in the school. To illustrate, The Galloway School has its unique philosophy, which is to promote individuality “Figure out who you are and become that person”, “Learn how to learn”, and “The ultimate goal is to help kids become a successful and enlightened individual”. I really love these quotes; they mean so much to me as a school leader. Having said that, I am passionate and committed to fostering these impactful concepts in my school.

Preschool students and their teacher, Gissella Diaz-Williamson

One thing that I really find fascinating is that teachers at Galloway set up their own curriculum. They can decide the content of curriculum as long as it advances the goal of improving kids’ education. Then, at some point at the beginning of school year, all teachers at each grade present an overview of the curriculum to the parents, so they will have some ideas as to what is going on within a whole year. Teachers are well-trained about 4D classroom, which is a deliberate, daring, dynamic and discovery leaning and teaching environment. I had never heard of 4D before, and it was always a question for me. Prior to my training about 4D, I would think of 3D or 4D movies. I kept asking myself “What are they going to do with 4D movies in education “, which sounds ridiculous. Only when I had been trained about it, I realized that it is a new methodology of teaching and learning in a very effective way.

Pre-K Curriculum overview meeting

I tell myself that I am on the right journey of discovering what I really need to improve education quality in my country. For sure, I have to bring back this critical concept for educators in Cambodia.

Some other areas about The Galloway School that I want to bring back to Cambodia is the role of the school librarian. At Galloway, this is not merely the only person to look after the tiny space, but also acts as a teacher librarian that helps in teaching kids and provokes curiosity and love in reading to kids. I also see the effectiveness of the advisory group model, in which there are some advisees and one advisor (4 years in a roll) whose basic role is to motivate, advise, monitor and follow up students’ learning. The idea of supporting teachers is also noted and essential. There are financial limitations at my school in Cambodia so I don’t know what I can achieve, but I will try.

Another lesson I have learned is the importance of parent education. At The Galloway School, there is close interaction between parents and the school, and parents always want to participate in school events and volunteer a lot to help with school work. They even organize events like parties for parents, book club, and teacher appreciation where teachers are made to feel loved and appreciated. Parents might have some points during the day sitting at a dining room or a table discussing the book that kids have learned in class. Or they might have problem regarding technology, kids might go to ask parents. Nevertheless, I don’t think it will work in Cambodian parents. The culture of education is different, and parents are so busy, and often less educated than their children. I hope that in the future, Cambodian society shifts so that parents can be more involved in their kids’ education.


A meeting for parents at The Galloway School

The Galloway School is not only a school but also a family, and a community for many people who feel a sense of love, respect, care and progress for life. I think I will gradually put some good ideas from this school into use in my school in Cambodia. To sum up, I have learned so many things about my host organization. Meantime, I have to give myself a chance to process all of the information and use it in the real world in order for me to tailor my professional skills as well as experiences in enhancing education quality in my home country.


The J-1 internship that launched my career: Peter's story

By Peter Sima, 2014 CIEE Internship alumnus

Hello everyone! My name is Peter Sima, and I come from the beautiful country of Slovakia. This small country is located in the very center of Europe, we speak Slovak and pay with Euros. Ever since I was little, I have always been fascinated by US culture, its natural beauty and, of course, heroic blockbuster movies. A few years later, when I was about to graduate from the University of Economics in Bratislava with a degree in International Management, I got an opportunity to sign up for a year-long professional internship program in the U.S. through the Slovak-American foundation and CIEE. I made it through competitive selection process and landed a placement in the online marketing department of one of the world’s leading antivirus companies – ESET. I could not be happier when I got a final confirmation. Or wait, maybe I could – the moment I found out that ESET North America is based out of sunny San Diego!

PS photo
Peter Sima, CIEE alumnus and Non Profit Marketing Consultant

American business culture is certainly different from what I was used to in Slovakia. My feeling is that it is, in a sense, more aggressive and more competitive yet also friendlier and more collaborative. I know, it is hard to connect those two worlds together, but what I mean is that US business professionals are very much focused on their career development and the development of their business, working hard utilizing every opportunity that comes by. At the same time they are also laid back, friendly, open and cooperative in relationships with their subordinates or business partners. They make sure people on all levels of corporate hierarchy are competent, motivated and reward for their contribution to overall business success. This was the first impression I had when I started my internship and I pretty much still share the same opinion.

There are a number of things I have learned during my stay in the US. I intentionally did not say “during my internship stay” simply because I think the whole cultural experience outside of work has changed me a lot as well. From professional side I was able to acquire and/or improve my campaign planning, management, web analytics and website optimization skills. Additionally, ESET gave me the opportunity to participate on number of industry-leading conferences and even financed one semester of marketing studies at University of California San Diego.

Besides the improvement of my hard skills and professional qualification I feel that I got much better in number of soft skills as well. I have significantly improved my business English, networking capabilities and, what I consider the most important, also got better in understanding of American business environment. I have learned to think at scale and got the business drive essential for every start-up entrepreneur. Last but not least I have met many outstanding professionals and very friendly people at the same time, who have helped establish myself while in San Diego and continue helping me now in my business with U.S.-based organizations. 

Exploring Google's Silicon Valley campus

During my internship in San Diego, besides managing online marketing campaigns for ESET, I had the opportunity to work with an amazing non-profit organization called Securing Our eCity (SOeC) Foundation. This organization primarily focuses on educating teenagers and senior citizens on the topic of online security. They asked me to help them out with setup and management of Google Ad Grant campaigns, text ads that appear in Google search results. This organization and many other US-based non-profit organizations were at that time receiving free advertising credit worth $10.000/month to showcase their cause online – and I did not even know such a thing existed. 

Soon after I started working on SOeC’s campaigns we were utilizing the entire grant, driving thousands of new website visits and hundreds of subscriptions to webinars and other educational events. When I saw the potential of Ad Grants program for this non-profit organization I started digging deeper. I found out that almost all non- profit organizations are eligible to participate (schools, hospitals and state-run organization are exceptions) and what was even better, Google just opened the program for additional 50+ countries.  

Peter at the ESET office in San Diego

When talking to other organizations I found out that this program is not well recognized and even those, who use it, find it often difficult to use it to larger extent. At this point I got the idea to set up my own consulting business focused on helping non-profits implement and meaningfully use the Ad Grant from Google. I decided to name my business AboveX Digital and created its website. Up until now I have worked with dozens of U.S. as well as European non-profit organizations and managed to get the agency to Google Partner program. None of this would have been possible neither without my internship experience nor without very supportive team at ESET and Securing Our eCity Foundation.   

Just like last few years, I expect 2018 to be quite a busy year. Professionally, I would like to focus on developing the online presence of my agency, create more helpful content and expand our service offering. This will not be possible without hiring new people. I would also like to deepen my cooperation with Google, speak on their events and become sort of an ambassador of Ad Grants program. Lastly I would like to continue delivering high added value to non-profits of all kinds, helping them do even more good in this world, because ultimately, enabling them to fulfill their mission is the most rewarding part of my job. Outside of my job I would like to explore few more countries (South America is up next on my list), attend more conferences and networking events and, when I have some time left, start pursuing MBA degree. 

Peter at a San Diego Chargers game

From Rural Cambodia to Atlanta: Soroth's Year at School

By Soroth San, CIEE Internship USA 2017-2018 Participant

I was born and grew up in a poor village in Cambodia. I moved to the capital city, Phnom Penh, and became a student at the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL), majoring in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. I was working as Head of School in Cambodia at an elementary school, encountering a ton of challenges including discipline issues, quality of education, interactions with students’ parents. I was eager for an opportunity to look at other parts of the developed world which has gone through and achieved in implementing successful education philosophies.

There are many strong motives driving me to choose the U.S.A. to be my new world and to broaden my horizon through an internship with the Galloway School in Atlanta, Georgia. First and foremost, I have always had a question in my mind about why the U.S. is a powerful country. I think of the education system and society because I hold the strong belief that a vast majority of people’s successes are the result of education. Despite the fact that I have studied English for 15 years, I felt that I needed to improve my English in an English-speaking environment. I love to be around native speakers, and I hope to enormously master my English speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

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The U.S. is also the country of the Sharing Foundation, the organization that sponsored me to study through high school and college. I have known some people there for a long time and turned to them for help and motivation, and felt the U.S. was a home to me even before I came here. I now have a chance to present myself to my generous long-term sponsor and meet donors and board members.

I am so blessed that I have a scholarship to come to America to look at the whole picture of a school. My internship at the Galloway School is in educational administration. I spend my time observing, shadowing, and simple interviewing all the departments of Galloway, including classroom programs as well as administration such as communications, development, and admissions. I write weekly newsletters on what I have learned in comparison to my school in Cambodia.

I like almost everything in my internship, and the critical elements tapping to my heart are meeting and learning from new people. I have one-one-one and sometimes group meetings with teachers, administrative staff, school principals and others to study about their job and roles within the school system. How do they perform their work effectively and efficiently? What do they do on a daily basis?

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I have to talk to people in English, which I find very challenging. English. On my first day at Galloway, I was in a very big group and people were talking about something fun like a joke, and everybody was laughing happily while I felt overwhelmed and wondered why they laughed. I was struggling to understand and learned to get used to the language, accent, and intonation. I find myself improving a lot in that area, which means I am somehow acquiring the language, and I am so blissful for what I have mastered in English.

Weather is also one of the biggest challenges ever because I am originally from a hot climate. I find it very hard to adapt to cold weather. I need to wear many more layers than the local people. To me, 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit is cold, but not for the locals, which is hilarious!

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After four months living in the U.S., I have found myself evolving remarkably. I have gradually acquired the taste of food, the accent and nature of language, views on culture, ways of living, eating and communicating. I have built up lots of assertiveness and confidence to express myself in front of big groups of people. I have opened up myself to the world of freedom and human rights. I have learned to be open-minded about the world and accepted things that are different. All things considered, I am able to see the world bigger and more clearly.

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