f you mention the word alumni to a CIEE Work & Travel USA participant, you’ll likely be met with a quizzical look. Why? Because this is a new concept to the majority of CIEE Work & Travel USA participants. Fortunately, CIEE is working to change that!
Many CIEE Work & Travel USA alumni return to their home countries and go on to have exceptional careers, working as change makers in their communities and around the world. This is often a direct result of their program participation and experiences. By connecting and engaging with our alumni, CIEE collects stories that demonstrate the benefits of program participation, highlighting the positive impact of our program. These stories add value for students, employers, and communities; they also enhance the importance of U.S. public diplomacy, which ensures program sustainability. As an alum of CIEE Work & Travel USA, our participants understand the power of international exchange: they come from all over the world to America to learn skills and share cultures. Not only do they return home better prepared to make a difference, but they become advocates for international exchange! Their stories matter; their programs matter. That is why engaging with our alumni is so important.
How do we engage?
After the program ends, participants are invited to join the CIEE Alumni Global Network. Here they can network with other CIEE alumni, gain professional experiences and resources, and learn about upcoming local CIEE alumni gatherings and online events. CIEE has a network of over 350,000 alumni from across our family of programs living and working in 170 countries around the world. This includes 220,660 Work & Travel USA alumni. Not only do we reach out to our alumni, but there are several ways they can connect with us, too: the CIEE Alumni website, the CIEE Alumni Instagram account, and the Work & Travel USA Ambassadors LinkedIn group. Even the U.S. State Department has an International Exchange Alumni group.
How can you help?
If your past participants are making change in their world, contact CIEE and also encourage these participants to get in touch with us directly to share their stories! Not only is storytelling a great way to reflect on the program experience, but it gives CIEE the chance to collect and share text, photos, and/or videos from alumni who want to tell others. In fact, to celebrate CIEE’s 70th anniversary, we went out to all our program alumni asking for stories. Atenea Rios Buzo, a CIEE Work & Travel USA participant from Glacier Park, won our video contest! This video speaks to the power of the program and the impact it has on our participants. By engaging our alumni, more stories like Atenea’s can be shared with the world and our program can continue to change lives.