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3 posts from August 2017

VLOGGING ACROSS AMERICA: NICK'S STORY

*This post originally appeared on the CIEE Exchange Programs blog

 By Nikita Bazhenov, CIEE Work & Travel USA participant and CIEE High School USA alumnus

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Hi, my name is Nikita Bazhenov. I am from Russia and I am on a work and travel program this year. In Russia I am a third year student in Higher School of Economics studying Sociology. I work as a cashier at Adventure Aquarium in Camden,NJ, just across the bridge from Philadelphia, PA. Another fun fact: I have a daily vlog. Yes, here on the program, I try to create a movie every single day, sometimes I fail and have to catch up but I still have not missed a day.

I’ve already been to the US, I lived here for a year and went to Santiam Christian High School in Oregon. That was five years ago, and this time I came to get an experience of adult life in the U.S. Being a kid in high school in the U.S. was a lot of fun. I learned a lot about the culture of the United States, and my host family shared a lot of knowledge with me, so this time I knew what to expect from this country.

I never thought I would visit US as an exchange student ever again, and that was a totally spontaneous decision made by me and my girlfriend Anastasia this winter. To give you some context, I love filming events, parties, pretty much anything in this world, but I never took time to do it. Mostly because I was busy working and studying at the university at the same time. Moreover, I was in desperate need of equipment (like a camera at least) because the one I was using was a 2013 Canon, bought by Anastasia, so it was not even mine. With my salary at that time I would have taken a couple of years to save up for a decent camera, so we decided to come here, to work, travel, and share our experience with other people who might want to join us on our journey.

Nick 2

Another point was that my English level really went down at that time. Compared to my English level after attending high school in the U.S., I had forgotten a lot, and I had to fix that problem as fast as I could. I knew the CIEE office in St Petersburg from my previous FLEX experience, so I was able to go with CIEE.

As for the skills and knowledge I got during this program…there are 2 parts of this question. If we are talking about making movies – I learned way more this summer than I’ve learned in the last 3 years shooting. The other thing is, I value travelling more than anything, it’s a great way to learn about the world you live in. There is no way they would teach you how people behave themselves in the U.S. and why they are always friendly in university, you have to go the country by yourself and figure it out. ONLY then you will be able to understand life in another country.

If you have an opportunity to go to the U.S. and spend your summer working with amazing people somewhere in this great country – TAKE IT. It is worth more than anything else – experiencing another country and learning new every day. Don’t stress out about your language skills – I know some students that are here right now, who were not very confident speaking when they came here. In only two months their skill rocketed to the place when they can have a conversation with their coworkers and understand fluent English. And this is my second point – the purpose of learning a language is not to write tests or essays – it is being able to talk to other people and understand them. There is not as much attention given to speaking while learning a language in high school or in university and this program gives you a chance to fill this gap.

The entire experience really means a lot to me, as it gave me an opportunity to do something that I really love – make movies. My hope for the future is that after this program I will be able to fulfill my ultimate dream – be able to share my ideas, my country and my life with other people via making videos. This summer got me really close to the point when I am able to do that, and I can’t wait to see where I can go with it.

Watch Nick's video about his trip to Washington DC here:

 

August Alumni Update

 


NEWS THIS MONTH

Let TEFL Take You Places & Win a $500 Airbnb Gift Card

Have you been thinking about going abroad again but don't know where to begin? Start by getting TEFL certified with CIEE - the first step to teaching English abroad. You can even travel as you complete your certification by taking part in CIEE Destination TEFL's teaching practicum options in Italy, Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam. What more could you ask for? We know - a $500 Airbnb gift card so that you can travel in comfort and style! Enter now for your chance to win a $500 Airbnb gift card and a free 150-hour TEFL Certification Course so you can go abroad again, soon!

Reflecting on a Summer at CIEE as an Alumni Intern

A great group of interns joined CIEE this summer to work on strategic projects in Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts through the Alumni Internship Program. They engaged in research, professional development, networking, and exploration of local culture while working on their strategic projects. Before they left, the interns reflected on their experience to share their main takeaways with you. Read all about it. 

 

The U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Lithuania Visits CIEE

CIEE’s Portland Global Entrepreneurship Program, in partnership with the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation, was in full swing this past month with students from Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania joining American students to learn about entrepreneurship in Portland, Maine. Participants are challenged with hands-on curriculum, a case study project with a local minor league baseball team, mentorship from local business owners, and a culminating “Shark Tank”-style business competition judged by a panel of Maine entrepreneurs.

This year the program also welcomed Ambassador Anne Hall, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Lithuania, to CIEE’s headquarters to hear the students present on their program experience. Ambassador Hall shared her international experience with the students and answered their questions about global entrepreneurship and diplomacy. The participants were inspired by her words, as well as by the many innovative Maine entrepreneurs and business leaders who gave their advice and time to our passionate students. Learn more about the program.

Open Your Home, and Heart, to an Exchange Student

The CIEE High School USA team is looking for U.S.-based families to host international exchange students. Families of all shapes and sizes are invited to host – the primary requirement is kindness and willingness to learn about a foreign culture. Can’t host but know someone who might want to? Refer them to us and receive a $100 referral bonus for each family who ends up hosting a CIEE student. Students are placed in all 50 states, so don’t feel limited by your local network! Learn more.


UPCOMING EVENTS 

A NIGHT AT THE CHICAGO RIVERWALK

WHEN: Thursday, August 17 from 4:30 - 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: The Chicago Riverwalk (Between Wells St & Franklin St)

Join fellow CIEE alumni in the Chicago area for a night of culture along the Chicago Riverwalk. Unifest Chicago is putting on their last event of the summer so come check it out, meet other globally-minded people, and enjoy music, food, and drinks from around the world! Learn more and RSVP.

Stay up-to-date with alumni events by:

Read about the most recent CIEE Alumni Local Chapter events on the blog.

 

 


 

ALUM OF THE MONTH 

The Alum of the Month for August is Thomas Austin Rose, who studied abroad with CIEE in Lisbon, Portugal in 2016. During an art history class, he befriended an Austrian creative with a bold idea to document the culinary wonders of their host city. The result? “Salt & Wonder” – a passionate print magazine exploring the culinary startup culture of Lisbon. They have proudly released their first issue and Thomas continues to serve as the editorial voice for the magazine while back in the United States. Thomas’ study abroad experience is an example of the unique, life-changing opportunities that studying abroad offers to intimately discover a new city, country, and culture. Read Salt & Wonder.



Do you have your own story to share? Email us: alumni@ciee.org


ALUMNI VOICES

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From left: CIEE Work & Travel USA alumnus receives the Thomas Jefferson Scholarship through IREX and will be studying Business Administration in the U.S. for the 2017-2018 academic year; the Alumni Summer Interns from Boston gather with Portland interns for a successful day of presenting their summer project findings; students enjoying pastries in France as our glimpse into the CIEE Global Navigator High School Summer Abroad program.

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A Summer in Review: The CIEE Alumni Internship Program, 2017

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It was another exciting and engaging summer for CIEE's Alumni Interns in Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts. Through the Alumni Internship Program, ten CIEE Study Abroad alumni representing a variety of backgrounds, academic interests, and universities collaborated with staff at two different offices, in the field, and around the world to tackle complex topics in international education. They also participated in weekly leadership seminars to hone their skills and build a picture of their professional lives after graduation. The result was a set of thoughtful presentations and recommendations for future endeavors that contribute to CIEE's work. Here's what they have to say about their experience at CIEE:

"I would say my biggest takeaway from this internship program is what I learned through my 30 Minutes to Mentor sessions. Our generation is turning to a work style where it is more important to try a bunch of different experiences through your professional career, so don’t be concerned about finding the job that can fit your needs for your life right out of college. Also, overall, I developed tremendously both personally and professionally this summer and I’m looking forward to a future career in international education and beyond." -Evan Seder

"My biggest takeaway was connecting with CIEE employees who spent time working abroad prior to beginning at this organization. Their stories and courage have inspired me to want to do the same. These conversations, along with our weekly professional development seminars, helped me better understand what I hope to do following graduation next May. I hope to continue working at organizations with an international focus." -Emily MacLaren

"I think my biggest takeaway was coming to understand that you really do get out of something what you put into it. In school, it’s easy to only put in as much work as it will take to get a good grade, which doesn’t always mean actually trying your hardest. In this internship, putting everything you’ve got into a project could be the difference between having our work used and referred to for years to come or having our project sit on the shelf. It was up to us to create a project we were proud of!" -Ellen Lechman

"Over everything else, this internship taught me to take initiative in the workplace. I was never waiting around for a mentor’s directions. Rather, I used my spare time to work on what I saw as important projects for my department. This initiative has definitely paid off, as I can see some of my suggestions being implemented in real time. It’s incredible, and definitely rare, to have that kind of trust as an intern." -Jamie Katz

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"The internship solidified my trust in myself and my abilities. CIEE views the interns as valued assets which gave me the confidence to dive into my project and professional development. I am excited to grow my professional confidence in the future." -Liz Stoppelmann

"I gained a lot of analytical skills with this internship with Excel spreadsheets and financial data, I am now able to apply those lessons to my creative work in graphic design, especially when trying to sell my work or setting prices for freelance projects." -Ciranno Soares

"During this summer I worked on my first personal project which was a bit intimidating. Because I had the liberty of doing my own research, it was sometimes hard to focus on collecting the right information. Luckily, my mentor was great because she helped me stay on track and helped me understand how to digest the information that I had collected. Before this internship, I was interested in analytics but wasn’t sure if it was right for me. However, this internship helped me realize that a job in the analytics field is a good choice for me." -Naeli Elizalde

 "This internship put me in a position to not only learn the skills to complete my projects but to also blossom professionally and personally. I became a mentor, a listener, a doer, a thinker, a chef, and ultimately learned so much about myself and the world due to the connections I've made. My CIEE notebook is jam packed with entrepreneurial endeavors that came to me right at my desk that will come alive in the near future. I am forever grateful for CIEE for allowing me to see things in myself that I didn't know were there!" -Arianna Alleyne

"One of the biggest takeaways from working at CIEE was being able to connect with other employees in various departments through the 30-mins-to-mentor segment of my Alumni Internship. I am so appreciative of my mentor who understood my desire to write and work in international education, and connected me with professionals in these fields. Talking to those with the same interests as myself was inspiring, helpful and by far one of the best experiences. I gained a lot of advice and a network I never had before." -Carmin Wong

Boston in Portland
Boston-based interns visit Portland office with mentor

Though they were hard at work on their projects, our interns also had time to explore Portland, Boston, and many other gems of New England! Here area a few highlights from the summer:

"Summer in Boston was a whole different culture that I'm not used to indulging in as a native New Yorker. I went to my first beach in America, I went canoeing in the Charles River, I played life-size Connect Four (and won), I accidentally joined a running team and the list goes on and on. Boston gave me a lot of 'firsts' this summer as it engulfed me in its own unique culture." -Arianna Alleyne

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"I had never hiked, or basically done anything outdoorsy until I came to Maine, and I loved it! One weekend, all five girls from the Portland office decided to do a glamping trip to Acadia. We were able to explore different parts of Acadia and I pushed myself both mentally and physically. However, the most rewarding moment was being able to see the sunrise after hiking at night." -Naeli Elizalde

"The highlight of my summer in Maine was definitely July 4th. We had a big BBQ in the field outside of our residence hall for all of the interns and CIEE Work and Travel USA program participants. For many, it was their first experience at a BBQ and it was a great way to show them the culture. From there, we went to the fireworks at the Eastern Promenade and watched them as a big group. It was exciting to see the level of happiness between all the different cultures on this fun summer day." -Evan Seder

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"The two highlights of this summer were the people I was able to meet and the places I was able to explore. Aside from meeting and becoming great friends with the other interns, I was able to meet CIEE Work and Travel USA participants from all over the world. Also, I had the opportunity to explore the New England area. My favorite weekend was spent Acadia National Park." -Emily MacLaren

"The level of professional development I received this summer was unexpected and still unbelievable. Since finishing my internship at CIEE, I have landed 3 interviews, and have been impressed by how comfortable I felt going into each. I gained technical skills I never had and I feel confident enough to work in any setting. Furthermore, working in the Boston office was a great setting. I especially enjoyed hearing all the comments and support from those in the Boston office—and elsewhere—after my final presentation. What sometimes felt like a surreal experience became a moment of pride and fulfillment after hearing positive feedback from those I worked alongside the whole summer." -Carmin Wong

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 "My favorite parts of the summer in Boston were exploring some of Boston’s museums and historical sites. This was also my first time on the East Coast (other than a quick family trip to D.C. when I was really young), so I also got to visit New York City for the very first time this summer! Lastly, I loved living and working with the other Boston interns, Carmin and Arianna. They are both such incredible women, and I learned so much from them!" -Ellen Lechman

"The highlight of my summer in Maine was our trip to Acadia National Park. We went ‘glamping’ near the park, half-successfully built our own fires, cooked our meals on a grill, and even woke up for a sunrise hike on Cadillac Mountain. Portland is an awesome city to live in for the summer, but I was thrilled to have the opportunity to experience the 'outdoorsy' side of Maine." -Jamie Katz

Hiking

"Glamping for a weekend in Acadia National Park was a great way to see the beauty of Maine from scaling Beehive to hiking Cadillac to see the sunrise. Also struggling to start a campfire for the needed s’mores experience. Top summer memory, for sure!" -Liz Stoppelmann

"Exploring the city with my bike and tubing in the Presumpscot river were two of the most fun things I have done this summer. Exploring the many different restaurants in Portland was also awesome!" -Ciranno Soares