On August 7, 2017, J-1 visa participants around the country gave back to their host communities by celebrating J-Day, and Community College Initiative (CCI) Program participants and alumni around the world joined the celebration.
J-Day is a nationwide and worldwide celebration of the power of international exchanges and is meant to raise awareness about the importance of the J-1 Exchange Visitor Program (EVP). The EVP provides opportunities for foreign visitors to experience U.S. society and culture and engage with Americans. EVP participants are “young leaders and entrepreneurs, students, fledgling and more seasoned professionals eager to hone their skills, strengthen their English language abilities, connect with Americans, and learn more about the United States.” CCI participants are international exchange students that come to the United States to study at a U.S. community college for one year under the J-1 visa program.
All day long, CCI participants and alumni have been showing their appreciation for this incredible program that allows them to learn about U.S. culture and return home with new connections, an expanded network, and the ability to explore future exchange opportunities as “citizen ambassadors.” Here is what they have to say about the J-1 and CCI programs.
“J-1 is not just a visa to visit the USA, it’s a visa to change your life. It’s a visa to get a purpose to do more… it’s a visa to be global.” – Nabila Akter, Bangladesh, Northern Virginia Community College – Annandale, 2015-2016
“To be an exchange student has been one of the most extraordinary experiences in my life. It’s amazing how big and diverse the world actually is. I’m proud to be a part of that selected group of people that #ExchangeOurWorld, let’s all celebrate our #JDay! #CCIProgram #CelebrateJDay #EatPlayGive” – Andolf Rincon Castillo, Dominican Republic, College of DuPage, 2016-2017
“Happy J-Day! Today, we celebrate the power of International Exchanges via J-1 Exchange Visitor Programs. As a proud J-1 recipient, I am grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity to get the chance to experience various cultures and traditions from around the world, as well as to be fully immersed in the American way of life! I’ve only been in the country for just over 3 weeks and I’ve already learnt so much, been on some amazing adventures, and seen some breathtaking cities. A big thank you to the U.S. Department of State and to the U.S. Embassy South Africa for selecting me … and thank you to my new family–the CCI NOVA 2017/2018 cohort—for accepting me.” – Gomolemo Mohapi, South Africa, Northern Virginia Community College – Alexandria, 2017-2018
“Today is J-1 Day! I am forever grateful that J-1 Exchange Visitor Program change my life and opened my mind. By participating in the CCI Program, I had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge in Public Safety, understand American culture and other countries. This program made me think critically in many aspects of life and improve my leadership skills. I feel blessed—because of this program, I met amazing people from around the world. Thank you CCI Program for make the world a better place!” – Bunga Yuniasari, Indonesia, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, 2016-2017
“Happy J-Day! If someone asked me how many times I would like to repeat my exchange year, my answer would be ‘all my life without doubt’ because this experience was one of the most significant for me and my future. I am happy to be part of this worldwide family and proud to know and feel part of many countries through [my international friends].” – Andres David Erazo Paz, Colombia, Houston Community College, 2016-2017