Cultural Exchange is the cornerstone of our J-1 program. We plan for at least 2 cultural activities a month, which means we have thousands of participants across the United States experiencing local culture. Cultural activities increase in the participant’s emotional ties to the community they’re living and working in, strengthens the relationships with their colleagues, and introduces Americans to invaluable experiences from the participant’s home culture.
On July 19th and July 20th, Spirit Cultural Exchange took 33 participants living and working on Long Island to the Long Island Ducks Baseball Game. Spirit provided transportation and tickets for all of the attending participants. The participants were from the Czech Republic, Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, and America.
Spirit worked with their employer to let the participants off of work a couple hours early so that they could attend the event. Their employer arranged the early work-to-housing transportation so that they were all ready when the bus to the baseball game arrived. Spirit and participants went to the baseball game on both Tuesday and Wednesday so that participants could coordinate their work schedules to come.
Participants got to speak with Spirit Staff Jessica Hines about the program, learned the rules of baseball, and got to interact with the locals attending the event. To help them get in the baseball spirit, learn the rules, and meet the fans around them, Spirit Exchange organized a game of Baseball Bingo. This was our third time offering baseball Bingo to our participants. We have found that it really helps them get invested in the game and learn the rules. Each box contained an event you would see at a baseball game. The first two participants to get ‘bingo’ received a prize. One of the bingo squares was ‘a fan with a homemade sign.’ There were no signs at this game, so one of our participants made her own! The bingo game was once again very popular.
All of the participants really liked the Duck mascot Quacker Jack and lined up to take photos with him. During the Tuesday game, one of our students caught a fly ball. During the Wednesday game the participants were very interested in the rules and how the game was played. They caught on quickly and learned what strikes and balls were and even started cheering on strikeouts. They were excited to stay for the whole game so that they could learn who won.