Since 1969, CIEE has helped thousands of students from across the world to gain exposure to American culture and democratic ideals through Work & Travel USA, a public diplomacy program that promotes intercultural understanding by connecting international students with seasonal jobs in communities throughout the United States during their university break.
“CIEE was founded in 1947 to bring people together through cultural exchange, in an effort to ease international tensions at the end of World War II,” said James Pellow, President and CEO of CIEE. “For 50 years, Work & Travel USA has been an integral part of how we live out our mission to contribute to a more peaceful global community by facilitating experiences that, as Senator William Fulbright often said, turn nations into people, thereby humanizing international relations.”
Work & Travel USA students come from a broad cross-section of nations, cultures, races, ethnicities, and religions, with particular emphasis on opportunities for students from nations of strategic importance. They return to their home countries with improved English and a better understanding of the people and values of the United States. At the same time, American host communities are enriched through exposure to the cultures and customs of the students.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Work & Travel USA, CIEE conducted a social media campaign that encouraged Work & Travel USA participants, employers, and alumni to share their memories using the hashtag #CIEEWAT50. Some reflections are shared here, and an album of 50 photos in celebration of 50 years can be seen here.
“CIEE now brings more than 30,000 participants from more than 130 countries to the United States each year,” said Matt Smith, Executive Vice President International Exchanges at CIEE. “The face-to-face interactions that these young people have with Americans, and with each other, build relationships that increase global understanding and advance world peace.”