Alumni Spotlight Blog Series

Ana and the team of young people she led to attend the Pan Pacific HIV STI Conference in New Zealand in 2005. Photo credit: Ana File-Heather.

Despite the challenges people-to-people exchanges have faced in 2020, we are always proud to share stories from our #InternationalExchangeAlumni. Some of our previous exchange participants have shared their experiences in our Alumni Spotlight Blog Series.

Below are their stories…

Damon on his IVLP experience

I now have a large worldwide network of 43 counties and people that I can directly go to, to work in collaboration with them to reduce the threat to our various nations.”. Damon returned from his 2019 International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) in the United States where he explored the underlying issues of terrorism threat, violence and extremism alongside representatives from 43 countries! The beauty of people-to-people exchange programs is certainly the life-long connections made across the globe.

Damon in DC on an IVLP. Photo credit: Damon.
Damon in DC on an IVLP. Photo credit: Damon.

Kiwi, Sarah Lang’s IVLP experience in the U.S.

In September 2019, Sarah Lang took part in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) in the U.S. on Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management. We are delighted that she has offered to share her experience on the trip she took in September 2019.

Dr James To on his IVLP experience – building dynamic connections and friendships

“It’s a real privilege to be a part of this global union, to develop and build dynamic connections and friendships with common interests – this is one part of my life where I’m definitely not looking back.” – Dr. James To, 2019 U.S. Foreign Policy Decision Making IVLP participant. Dr. To returned from International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on U.S. Foreign Policy Decision Making in 2019. Hear what he had to say about his experience.

My SUSI experience was all that – and more than – I hoped it would be

Sam Englebretsen participated in the 2019 ‘Study of the United States Institute for Secondary Educators’ (SUSI programme) based at Amherst, Massachusetts. “As part of a group of 18 secondary school teachers from all around the world, I spent five weeks engaged in many lectures, seminars, and site visits, all with the common theme of further exploring ‘Liberty, Equality, and the American Dream’. Our group was hosted by the Institute for Training and Development (ITD), and we spent our time between the ITD centre and the Amherst College campus.”

Outside the ITD centre, Amherst, MA. (the author is at far left). Photo credit: Sam Englebretsen.

Entrepreneur Ana File-Heather looks back on her IVLP experience

In September 2019, Ana File-Heather took part in the International Visitor Leadership Program’s Women and Entrepreneurship exchange.  Ana is from Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands, and is very active in her community as both a volunteer and local business operator.  You can check out her profile on our Pacific Women Leader’s blog post here.  We are delighted that she has offered to share her experience on the trip she took in 2019.

Ana and the team of young people she led to attend the Pan Pacific HIV STI Conference in New Zealand in 2005. Photo credit: Ana File-Heather.
Ana and the team of young people she led to attend the Pan Pacific HIV STI Conference in New Zealand in 2005. Photo credit: Ana File-Heather.

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Find out more about the Exchange Programs at exchanges.state.gov.