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)