Letter from the Editor - June 2017
As we step into another busy summer season, it is important to pause and reflect on the tremendous impact the Work & Travel USA program has on our world. Each year, CIEE connects close to 20,000 CIEE Work & Travel USA students with fantastic employers across the U.S. As a result, this program leaves a lasting impression on you, your staff, your guests, your community and these young exchange visitors. By hosting students and introducing them to your community, you play an important role as a cultural ambassador to the U.S. We ask you to be intentional this summer with your exchange visitors; welcome them, get them involved in your communities, share your culture and take the time to learn about their cultures! By doing this, you will have an impact on the future of our world.
I also encourage you to consider joining an important initiative and coalition in support of the J-1 Summer Work Travel program (SWT), called Americans for Cultural Exchange. Advocacy for and awareness of the program continues to be important for the program’s success. Americans for Cultural Exchange is a non-partisan coalition of American businesses, chambers of commerce, business and trade associations, and community leaders who embrace and support international exchange programs, especially the Summer Work Travel program. The website provides facts about the program and its benefits to U.S. foreign policy and local economies. It debunks myths about SWT, features profiles of SWT alums, provides important resources and information, and includes a list of supporting host businesses, chambers, associations, and leaders. I encourage you to explore the site and if you wish to join, you may do so directly from the website. Your participation will strengthen advocacy efforts to support the Summer Work Travel Program.
Thank you for what you do to shape these students’ life-changing experiences and for your support of cultural exchange! Please do not hesitate to contact CIEE for any support or to share with us any of your participant stories throughout this summer. On behalf of everyone at CIEE, I wish you a wonderful summer season.
Again, thank you for your dedication and contribution to supporting international exchanges!
Cara Mills, Director, Employer Relations
The CIEE Access Scholarship began three years ago with the aim to help students from under-represented countries gain the life-changing perspective and understanding that comes from living and working in the United States. This year we have received donations reaching nearly $30,000 from employers and individuals to help support this valuable program. We would like to thank Basin Harbor Club, Benjamin Franklin, Cedar Fair, Deer Valley, Maureen King from Harris Teeter, Migis Hotel Group, Morey’s Piers, Six Flags, Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, Wilderness Resort, and Xanterra Parks & Resorts for their generous contributions towards CIEE Access Scholarship Fund.
CIEE is dedicated to continuing this scholarship fund. With your help, CIEE can continue to provide a diverse population of participants with the skills, competencies, and experience necessary to contribute positively to our global community. Thank you for your continued support — we couldn't do it without you!
Please consider making a donation to our scholarship initiative. You can donate in one of two easy ways:
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Cara Mills at 207-553-4019 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This summer we have 29 Access Scholars who will continue to develop their roles as global citizens and grow personally and professionally through their experience. Summer 2017 scholarship recipients come from Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and the Palestine Territories. Here are the stories behind some of our scholars:
Cheryl Tanisha Pablo Torres, Nicaragua
Cheryl is studying diplomacy and international relations at university in her home country of Nicaragua, and is looking forward to experiencing life in America for the first time. She says “I live in a country with a very diverse culture, so seeing cultural experience is what I am most excited about. Also, my career demands us to be outgoing, independent, and disciplined, and having a job in a foreign country is the best and most fun way to practice that and learn even more!”
After she finishes her studies, Cheryl aspires to work for a nongovernmental organization like UNICEF in the future with a focus on improving the lives of children who are suffering from poverty and hunger.
Mahmoud Abdalkarim, Palestine
Mahmoud is an exchange program veteran, having studied in Germany as a high school student. He is now studying computer science engineering at university in his home of Palestine, and his dream is to work as an engineer for Google. A four-time honor list student, Mahmoud describes himself as a global citizen with a passion to correct the misperceptions people have on life in Palestine. In his own words, Mahmoud “loves travelling and exploring new things, and I believe that this program will allow me to explore a wide range of new experiences….I’m also really excited about meeting and making new friends from all over the world!”
We have been so impressed by these scholars’ inspiring applications, and we are eager to see how this select group of students will enhance communities and workplaces across the United States. They are excited to start their summer and committed to make the most of this opportunity. In the words of one participant from Nicaragua shared with fellow scholars “Let's go and work hard while having fun. And make CIEE staff proud for choosing us to represent our countries.”
By Ella Studdiford, Project Manager, Access Scholarship, and
Cara Mills, Director, Employer Relations
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Employer Webinar – Work & Travel USA Fundamentals. We appreciate you taking the time to invest in the program to ensure you and your staff start the summer off on the right foot! Our goal is to have 100% of our employers view the webinar and share it with their managers, supervisors, and domestic employees. If you did not have a chance to view the webinar during the scheduled times, you can watch the recorded version here!
We are excited to have expanded webinar series based on your survey responses! Thank you to those who were able to join us for our Diving Deeper into Cultures webinar facilitated by Catherine Menyhart, CIEE Manager of Training and Development, and Olga Adamovich, CIEE Director of Student Experience. During this 30-minute webinar we taught the methods of suspending judgement by adopting a practical tool and resource (D.I.V.E) for managers in order to become more effective during intercultural interactions. If you missed our live webinar, please view the recorded version here.
We are excited to announce that we have a new CIEE Work & Travel USA Online Orientation for our students! Our Summer 2017 participants are the first ones to engage with this new platform. The Department of State requires that all Summer Work Travel participants receive an orientation prior to their arrival in the United States. CIEE participants receive the orientation approximately one month before their program start date, and it is an important opportunity for CIEE, as the program sponsor, to set appropriate expectations for their experience, provide helpful tips, and review program rules.
We chose to replace our previous online orientation in order to adapt to a new generation of on-the-go participants. The new platform is accessible via a mobile app on iPhone or Android, in addition to a web browser, and participants can continuously refer to information as a reference before and during their program.
The orientation now includes a mix of text, videos, and interactive questions in a mix of multiple choice and open-ended prompts. Watch our Online Orientation Welcome Video here!
Here are some example responses we’ve received from students to the question, “What can you ask your employer in order to help prepare for your experience?”
This new platform also allows us to monitor student feedback. We found that the most frequent questions were about local weather and transportation options from the airport to the job site. These are great topics to include in your welcome email!
The content of the orientation was updated with contributions from all of the teams within CIEE Work & Travel USA. Much of the content from the previous orientation is included, but it has been refreshed and streamlined. You are welcome to read the full text of the orientation in the Orientation Handbook, which is available to participants as an optional PDF download as well.
By Erica Carley Harris, Manager, External Relations
At CIEE, we know that you and your team are busy preparing for the summer ahead. We’ve put together some resources and best practices to help you effectively prepare to welcome your summer students! Below are some of our favorite, tried-and-true best practices for every part of the CIEE Work & Travel USA summer season.
Communication with your students is crucial in laying the groundwork for a successful season. If you have not already done so, please reach out to your students. Below are a few key pieces of information that we recommend including in your pre-arrival communication with students to make for a smooth arrival. For more specifics, please visit our Knowledge Base Communication page.
Students’ first days in the U.S. can be overwhelming, but there are many things you can do to help! Below are some best practices on welcoming students to the U.S. (you can also read more on our Knowledge Base Cultural Adjustment page).
Following SEVIS registration, students should apply for their Social Security number (SSN). It may take several weeks for SSNs to be issued. If students see delays, it’s best to contact the office with which they applied for updates. For more information, please refer to our Knowledge Base Social Security page.
Payroll and Taxes
Every CIEE Work & Travel USA student must pay federal, state, and local income taxes. Students do not pay Social Security tax, Medicare, and federal unemployment taxes. For more information about payroll and taxes, please visit the Knowledge Base Compensation page on our website.
Program regulations require all Summer Work Travel students to report second jobs. If you wish to hire a CIEE Work & Travel USA student for a second job, please remind them that he/she must have approval before beginning work at your company. Students can reach CIEE at 1-888.268.6245, or email@example.com for more information on reporting second jobs.
Most students come from places in the world where bicycles and walking are common forms of transportation. They may not realize that American drivers have different levels of awareness around cyclists and pedestrians. Help keep them safe by talking to them about transportation safety.
Cultural exchange is at the core of the CIEE Work & Travel USA program. As an employer, you have a fantastic opportunity to cultivate this exchange, which is more important than ever.
Best Practices: Try some of these activities with your staff!
Stay connected with CIEE
You are welcome to contact us at any time, but it’s especially important to contact us in the below situations:
For more information about how CIEE supports you and your students, please visit the Knowledge Base In-Country Support page. For more resources for a successful summer, please visit our Download Center on CIEE’s website for easy PDFs you can share with your team on a variety of important topics!
-Kelly Enberg, International Recruitment Consultant