News

Volunteer Abroad blog update: Pope Francis in Quito, Ecuador!

Jul 13, 2015

Alex Elizzaraga, one of Spirit's 2015 Volunteer Abroad scholarship recipients, was able to see Pope Francis during his recent visit to Quito, Ecuador! Read more about Elizzaraga's thrilling experience on his blog: http://spiritscholarshipblog.blogspot.com/2015/07/el-papa-in-quito.html 

Volunteer Abroad scholarship recipient blogging about his experience in Ecuador

Jul 8, 2015

One of Spirit's Volunteer Abroad Scholarship Receipient, Alex Elizzarga, has arrived in Ecuador and is blogging about his experience! Elizarraga will take one week of advanced Spanish lessons before volunteering for three weeks at a summer camp for school-aged children. Read his blog here: www.spiritscholarshipblog.blogspot.com

Use Spirit discount code 210540 to book a TrekAmerica tour

Jun 16, 2015

Spirit participants can use discount code 210540 to recieve 10% off a TrekAmerica tour. TrekAmerica offers a variety of tours across the USA with a maximum of 13 participants. 

Not sure where to start your planning? Read their list of Top Things to do in America and remember that Spirit recommends extended travelling to occur after completing your program, during your 30-day grace period. 

Scholarship Recipients Matched for Volunteer Projects in Ecuador

May 21, 2015
OAK PARK, Ill., May 26, 2015 – Local Oak Park small business, Spirit Cultural Exchange, is sending student volunteers to Ecuador this summer on scholarships for its Volunteer Abroad program that cover living expenses and program costs. Recipients of these scholarships, Rita Hess and Alex Elizarraga, were recently matched to their volunteer project sites in Ecuador. Through a partnership between Spirit and its counterpart in Ecuador, Fundación Bolivar Education, both scholarship winners will live with a host family and participate in a volunteer program matched to their skillsets. 
 
Rita Hess will complete a week of advanced Spanish lessons in Quito before spending two weeks volunteering at a girl’s orphanage in Cuenca. She will aid in organizing recreational activities for the children, helping with their homework, and helping them in developing life skills. When asked her motivation for participating in this project, “I am honored to take my advocacy from the community level to an international stage, helping inspire these girls to fulfill their dreams and push through the hardships they face,” said Hess. 
 
Hess is a Spanish Linguistics and Pedagogy master’s candidate at Illinois State University (ISU). She currently serves on the executive board of ISU’s Sigma Delta Pi chapter (Spanish Honor Society) as secretary and has over 150 hours of community service and outreach. Hess studied abroad in Granada, Spain and has taught English as a second language to 120 students from Mexico through a university program.
 
Alex Elizarraga will also take one week of advanced Spanish lessons in Quito before volunteering at a summer camp for school-aged children.
 
Elizarraga recently graduated from Concordia College with a BA in Psychology and Spanish. On campus, he served as president for the Concordia Swim Club and debate captain for the Concordia Forensics. In his free time, Elizarraga volunteers as an elementary Spanish teacher for youth. He also remains active in his local community as a camp counselor, private Spanish tutor, and small group leader for various organizations. He aspires to become a high school counselor near his hometown in Oregon. “Many countries consist of people like my dad, who had to drop out at age 9 in order to work. I want to make a difference. I want to be the support that I was fortunate enough to receive,” said Elizarraga.

2015 Volunteer Abroad Scholarship Winners Announced

Apr 28, 2015
Spirit is pleased to announce our 2015 Volunteer Abroad Scholarship winners, Rita Hess and Alex Elizarraga. 
 
Rita Hess is a Spanish Linguistics and Pedagogy master’s candidate at Illinois State University (ISU). She currently serves on the executive board of ISU’s Sigma Delta Pi chapter (Spanish Honor Society) as secretary and has over 150 hours of community service and outreach. Hess studied abroad in Granada, Spain and has taught English as a second language to 120 students from Mexico through a university program. 
 
Alex Elizarraga is currently studying Psychology and Spanish at Concordia College. On campus, he serves as president for the Concordia Swim Club and debate captain for the Concordia Forensics. In his free time, Elizarraga volunteers as an elementary Spanish teacher for youth. He also remains active in his local community as a camp counselor, private Spanish tutor, and small group leader for various organizations. He aspires to become a high school counselor near his hometown in Oregon. 
 
Both scholarship winners will live with a host family and participate in a volunteer program through Fundación Bolivar Education in Ecuador. We look forward to hearing from both of them as they serve their local Ecuadorian communities! 
 
Check back on this page next week for more information about their individual volunteer project placements.

Now accepting direct applications for Professional Development Program

Apr 15, 2015

Spirit is now accepting applications direct from participants on its Professional Development Program! We offer J-1 visa program sponsorship for participants who already have an internship arranged or those who want a Spirit placement.

Interested applicants should complete our Get Information form. We currently have internships and training placement opportunities available for summer 2015.

To learn more about our Professional Development program, click here.

Chicago Internships Available

Apr 10, 2015
Spirit's Professional Development Program currently has summer internships available in the Chicago area. To apply for these positions, please fill out our Get Information application. 
 
Top 5 Things to do in Chicago this summer:
  • Taste of Chicago 
  • White Sox and Cubs baseball games
  • Frank Lloyd Wright architectural tours in Oak Park
  • Second City improv comedy shows
  • Concerts in Millennium Park
 
Web Development - ID: 62235
Start Dates/ Program Length: May 15, 2015/ 3 month program
Oak Park, Illinois (near Chicago)
Pay Rate: $500 per month
 
Applicant Requirements: Excellent English and the ability to work methodically, proven written communication skills. Some experience with CSS, PHP, HTML, or C# preferred.
 
Training includes: 
  • Customize style sheets and pages for client websites
  • Configure Drupal and WordPress plugins and pages for client websites and our home website
  • Write code snippets (and documentation) for small customization projects
  • Assist senior developers with other tasks, as assigned
 
Sales and Marketing - ID: 62210
Oak Park, Illinois (near Chicago)
Start Date/ Program Length: May 1, 2015/ 3 month program
Pay Rate:  Unpaid
 
Applicant Requirements: Excellent English - writing sample required. Strong interest in sales, marketing, communications, advertising and promotions.
 
Training includes:  
  • This position supports the Sales Representatives while gaining knowledge of marketing, advertising and promotion. 
  • Students will learn to develop professional telephone etiquette, create client proposals, enhance company marketing, learn valuable workplace skills not available in a classroom, and more.

 

March 1 deadline for 2015 Ecuador Volunteer Scholarship

Feb 9, 2015

Spirit's Summer 2015 Ecuador Volunteer Scholarship is open to applicants! We are currently offering two merit-based scholarships to take part in a 2-4 week volunteering project in Ecuador through Fundación Bolivar Education's Volunteer ProgramAll applications are due by March 01, 2015.

Visit our scholarship page for more details and read the blog of our 2014 scholarship winner Danielle S!

Alumni Engagement in Czech Republic

Jan 21, 2015
Spirit invited past summer work and Travel participants to our International Job Fair in Czech Republic to reconnect with their employer, Noah's Ark Water Park, and discuss their experience with newly hired participants. The alumni shared several great tips about traveling, working, housing, and communicating with their sponsor.
 
The impact the Work and Travel program had on the two attending alumni is undeniable, one of whom is returning to their employer another summer.  Several more alumni who couldn’t attend this event during the day opted to meet their former employer and Spirit representatives that evening to share memories and reconnect.  One participant took a train from a few cities away just to join the reunion!
 
In the future, we are working towards including more alumni events as part of our international job fairs. These events are great opportunities for Spirit alumni to connect with their employers and help set expectations for newly hired participants before leaving their home countries. 

Important Safety Message from DOS

Jan 5, 2015

The safety of participants is our priority. The Department of State (DOS) and J-1 Visa Program Sponsors worked together to create these important messages on bicycle safety for J-1 participants. Click on the links below to watch these videos now or log into our Support Center.

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