Calling All Distinguished Alumni

Aug 2, 2017

For our 15th anniversary in 2017, Spirit Cultural Exchange wants to recognize exceptional alumni with our first Alumni Awards.

We want to know how the J1 Work and Travel experience here in the United States impacted their life. Applicants will answer the two following questions as part of their entry:

  • Describe your professional or academic career including significant involvement in community organizations, government or non-government organizations, or charities.  Feel free to cut and paste the information from your CV.
  • How has your experience in the United States on the Summer Work and Travel program affected your life?

Spirit Cultural Exchange will select 10 finalists whose story will be featured on our website and highlighted with the U.S. Department of State as model alumni. They will also receive a $150 Visa gift card for travel or cultural experiences such as:

  • concert tickets
  • airline vouchers
  • hotel nights
  • tune-up English classes
  • 2-year membership to Internations networking organization

​One Grand Prize winner will be selected from the finalists. Depending on their situation they will receive either:

  • $2000 personal business grant for marketing campaigns
  • $2000 donation to their NGO or charity
  • FREE 6-12 month Spirit J1 Internship Program sponsorship, insurance, visa fees (valued at over $2000)
  • $2000 towards attendance at leadership conference such as IYLC ($1650 conference fee + up to $350 flight)

Spirit understands that exchange programs can be life-changing experiences for young adults and we look forward to celebrating the impact the program has on our alumni.

Click here to enter.

Save Our Summer

Jun 29, 2017

International students have visited our communities for years. Learning our culture. Working in your businesses. Becoming our friends.

Now, the J-1 Summer Work Travel Program is under attack.

Some in the government don’t consider Summer Work Travel a valuable cultural exchange program. They believe that SWT students take away American jobs. These government officials want to make changes to SWT that could severely damage it, and ultimately make it unworkable.

They don’t know how much you and your guests value the diversity and international perspective SWT students bring. They don’t know how hard you try to find Americans for your seasonal jobs, and how important SWT students are to keeping your American employees working year-round. They also don’t understand that raising your costs won’t just mean you raise prices – it likely means you would need to cut back on your services and hours, or just shut your doors.

We need to tell the government about these realities, and we need your help to do it.

The Americans for Cultural Exchange coalition – coordinated by the Alliance for International Exchange – is launching the #SaveOurSummer campaign so we can make our voices heard.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Write your US Congressional Representatives. This will only take a minute as the letter is pre-written and you can send as is.

2. Call your Representative and Senators. We’re providing talking points to help you make your case - click here to make calls.

3. Sign our petition in support of Summer Work Travel. We give a copy of this petition, with every signer arranged by state, to every Representative, Senator, and government official we meet. You can sign the petition by clicking here.

4. Participate in the #SaveOurSummer social media campaign. Check out all the social media tools and recommendations here, and start posting #SaveOurSummer on all your social media sites. Also, encourage your SWT students to join this campaign.

Now is the time to act, during summer vacation, when Members of Congress are back in your hometown, and your Summer Work Travel participants are here. Let’s #SaveOurSummer.

Congratulations to our 1st Instagram Winner!

Jun 20, 2017

"This is how I got here, I flew through Alaska!!! I luckily got a good shot of the morning sunlight reflecting with the mountain and it somehow turned to pink ice mountain. It is one of my favorite picture so far since I have started my work and travel journey." 

Kittiphong P., Wisconsin Dells

New videos introduce Spirit's Internship Program!

Jun 19, 2017

Spirit is excited to premiere new videos showcasing our Independent and Premium Internship Programs.

These new videos will help you learn more about the high quality programs offered by Spirit for students, recent graduates, and professionals in a variety of fields. Not only will you learn more about the program, but also why Spirit should be your sponsor of choice!

If you are interested in applying for Spirit’s Internship program, please contact

Click here to view the video for Spirit's Independent Internship Program!

Click here to view the video for Spirit's Premium Internship Program!

Spirit CEO responds to President Trump's proposed budget cuts

Mar 16, 2017

Spirit co-founder and CEO, Rich Baader, has written a response to the proposed budget cuts released today by the Trump Administration. The cuts to the Department of State, which oversees the J-1 exchange program, are unprecedented, but it may not affect the Work and Travel, Internship, and Trainee Programs.

Click here to read more. 

Spirit CEO discusses the USA election and its impact on Spirit’s exchange programs

Nov 11, 2016

Please click here to read a statement by Spirit Cultural Exchange CEO Richard Baader regarding the 2016 USA presidential election. 

Spirit Staff Attends John Kerry Speech

Nov 1, 2016

Spirit Cultural Exchange members recently attended an event to hear Secretary of State John Kerry speak. To learn more, please visit our blog

Spirit Participants are Changemakers in D.C.

Oct 31, 2016

Five of Spirit’s Summer Work & Travel students were invited to participate in CIEE’s Civic Leadership Summit in August. This three day summit took place at American University in Washington D.C. and brought together 62 young leaders from 33 countries. 

Click here to read part 1 of their blog

Click here to read part 2 of their blog

Click here for Viktoriia's blog

Click here for Ackime's blog

Work and Travel and U.S. Diplomacy

Oct 31, 2016

Spirit's Director of International Business and Compliance, Alison Gold, was recently recognized by the Alliance for International Exchange. Please click here to read her blog about the event.

Instagram Contest Week 10

Aug 24, 2016

This summer, Spirit Cultural Exchange has launched a weekly Instagram contest, unveiling a new theme each week so that our Summer Work and Travel, Intern, and Trainee participants can show us how their summers are going and win prizes!

The Week 10 Instagram contest theme was "Your Favorite Summer Memory." Xixin L. won with her picture with her roommates and colleagues in Washington. Click here to see the rest of the contest photos!