The Magellan Exchange Holds Annual Conference in the Netherlands

The Magellan Exchange | #CENETJ1

MAASTRICHT– 50 university coordinators gathered in the Netherlands for The Magellan Exchange conference hosted by Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. The annual conference had representatives from 25 universities; the agenda included presentations, group discussions, and networking events.

Conference attendees also had the opportunity to participate in several site visits to member universities located in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. The following institutions offered site visits: Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, HEC Management School- University of Liege, PXL University College, and Aachen University of Applied Sciences.

The Magellan Exchange– a consortium of universities worldwide–  was founded in 1997; since its inception, the program has facilitated approximately 3000 exchanges.

Providing affordable exchange opportunities for both students & faculty, The Magellan Exchange advances CENET’s mission to inspire a safer, more prosperous and compassionate world through international education and cultural exploration.


CENET strives to inspire a safer, more prosperous and compassionate world through international education and cultural exploration. For more news and updates about CENET, please visit our Facebook Page.


CENET Staff Member Receives McCarry Leadership Award

Cultural Exchange Network (CENET) Senior Director Leslie Corn recently received the McCarry Leadership Award, presented by the Alliance for International Exchange to outstanding young leaders in the international exchange field.

Ms. Corn received the award on October 25 at the Alliance’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The Alliance Board of Directors established McCarry Leadership Award to recognize emerging leaders in the U.S. exchange community by supporting their participation in the Alliance’s Annual Membership Meeting. The award honors former Alliance Executive Director Michael McCarry for his 21 years of service.
One of four 2017 awardees, Ms. Corn was chosen by an independent selection committee.  Committee members include:

Ann Stock: former Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs
Sherry Mueller: former President, National Council for International Visitors
Max Burns: President, Gordon State College; former Member of Congress (Georgia)
Robert Daly: Director, Kissinger Institute for U.S.-China Relations at the Smithsonian Institution
Robert Coonrod: former President, Corporation for Public Broadcasting

At the Alliance meeting, Sherry Mueller presented Ms. Corn with her award.  In her speech, Sherry commented on Leslie’s application essay, highlighting the following passage:

“The beauty of global citizenship is that it’s not a birthright, but a roll-up-the-sleeves grind. Or, more vividly, as Ray Bradbury compares his career with a drunken bicycle ride, ‘Drunk with life, that is, not knowing where off to next. And the trip? Exactly one-half terror, one-half exhilaration.’ This field is an ever-changing journey, and I gratefully pedal on into programs that inspire a safer, more compassionate world.”

CENET Executive Director Robyn Walker said, “I have had the pleasure of working with Leslie Corn for the past 7 years.  It’s her roll-up-the-sleeves work ethic that inspires me most.’

Cultural Exchange Network, a nonprofit based in Cape Girardeau, Missouri partners with the Department of State to administer official exchange programs, provides affordable study abroad opportunities for American and international university students, and provides international content and curriculum for students and schools in the Cape Girardeau area.

CENET strives to inspire a safer, more prosperous and compassionate world through international education and cultural exploration. For more news and updates about CENET, please visit our Facebook Page.


J-1 Interns & Trainees Celebrate International Education Week at Missouri State University

International Education Week | #IEW2017 #ExchangesImpact

SPRINGFIELD, MO– In honor of International Education Week, CENET partnered with Missouri State University (MSU) to provide a one-day International Leadership Conference for J-1 trainee & intern participants. This is the 3rd International Leadership Conference MSU has hosted for CENET’s J-1 participants.

CENET participants represented Mexico, Czech Republic, India, Philippines, and China. Other conference attendees included current international students enrolled at MSU and Student Council representatives from Waynesville High School.

The conference agenda included opening remarks, a campus tour, a panel discussion, and a presentation titled “Leadership in an Interdependent World” by Brad Bodenhausen, Associate Vice President of International Education and Training.

The conference luncheon was an event highlight as it offered enhanced networking opportunities; MSU faculty and staff from the English Language Institute, International Leadership and Training Center, and the Diversity and Inclusion departments were in attendance.

Special thanks to the following MSU faculty and staff for their involvement and coordination of the International Leadership Conference:

  • Kelly Cabrera, PhD., Coordinator of International Education & Training
  • Yi Winnie Wu, Marketing & Recruitment Specialist, International Leadership and Training Center
  • Brad Bodenhausen, Associate Vice President of International Education & Training
  • Pascal Hamon, Academic Director of English Language Institute
  • Support staff from the English Language Institute and the International Education and Training Center.
  • MSU Student Leaders

CENET strives to inspire a safer, more prosperous and compassionate world through international education and cultural exploration. For more news and updates about CENET, please visit our Facebook Page.


CENET Announces Winners for Summer of CENET Contest

Cultural Component | #SummerOfCENET #CENETJ1

This past summer, CENET challenged our participants to submit photos, videos, or essays detailing their time in the United States. Entries were accepted from Intern, Trainee, Camp Counselor, and Summer Work and Travel participants.

CENET received entries depicting both big adventures and day-to-day life in host communities; whether showcasing travels, time spent working or training at the host company, or adventures with new friends, it was clear that a Summer of CENET was a summer well-spent.

Winners were selected based on content and quality; cash prizes were awarded to a grand prize winner and two honorable mention selections.

  • Grand Prize: Marvin Raymundo, Philippines
  • Honorable Mention: Matyas Eckl, Hungary & Anastasia Peycheva, Bulgaria 

Congratulations to our winners!

Summer of CENET

CENET strives to inspire a safer, more prosperous and compassionate world through international education and cultural exploration.For more news and updates about CENET, please visit our Facebook Page.

CENET Co-Hosts International Alumni Ambassador Training in Budapest

Alumni | #ExchangesImpact #CENETJ1

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY– CENET joined our partner, Smaller Earth, in Hungary to host an alumni training event.

Twenty-five exceptional J-1 alumni were selected to attend an International Alumni Ambassador workshop. The one-day event included a keynote by Smaller Earth CEO Bastian Weinberger, communications and messaging training, and interactive breakout sessions. After the workshop, the alumni — joined by CENET, Smaller Earth, and embassy officials– enjoyed a cocktail reception and dinner.

The selected attendees will work with the embassy to develop an alumni group in Hungary which will welcome all exchange alumni.

The International Alumni Ambassadors are now thriving in the following fields:

  • Global Outsourcing Project Manager
  • HR Manager
  • PhD & Graduate Students
  • Logistics Manager
  • International Relations Director
  • Digital Marketer
  • Customer Service Coordinator
  • Business Mangement
  • Research Chemist
  • History Teacher
  • Pianist
  • IT Teacher
  • Software Developer
  • The Smaller Earth team is made up largely of J-1 alumni, including the company CEO.

The majority of J-1 alumni depart the U.S. reporting satisfaction with their programs and an improved perception of the U.S. and its people. The global alumni network includes world leaders, entrepreneurs, influencers, experts, and decision-makers across various fields and nations. By developing a structured alumni network, CENET can engage with leaders from around the world and share their success stories & how exchange programs enhanced their lives and careers.

CENET strives to inspire a safer, more prosperous and compassionate world through international education and cultural exploration.For more news and updates about CENET, please visit our Facebook Page.

CENET’s Culture in the Community Hosts First Stretch’n’Sip

Culture in the Community | #CITC #CENETJ1

CENET’s local program, Culture in the Community, will be hosting a series of Stretch’n’Sips in Cape Girardeau, MO. The events provide community engagement, enhanced awareness of Culture in the Community, and an opportunity to partner with organizations that provide artistic and cultural enrichment in the local community.

The first Stretch’n’Sip took place on Thursday, November 2; the fee included a yoga class and 2 glasses of wine. The event was held at Catapult, a student learning laboratory which cultivates creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship; all proceeds raised at the Stretch’n’Sip went to funding Catapult’s artists incubator and CENET’s Culture in the Classroom sessions.

The yoga class was led by Culture in the Community Director, Danielle Henry, and SEMO faculty member, Hannah March Sanders.

Future classes will be announced soon; please follow CENET on social media or contact Danielle for more information.

Stretch N Sip.JPGSpecial thanks to Primo Vino for contributing the wine for the event. 

CENET strives to inspire a safer, more prosperous and compassionate world through international education and cultural exploration.For more news and updates about CENET, please visit our Facebook Page.


Note to Washington: Exchanges Work. Leave Them Alone.

Op-Ed | #CENETJ1 #ExchangesImpact

On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the White House is considering eliminating or severely reducing 5 State Department exchange programs:  Summer Work Travel, Intern, Trainee, Camp Counselor, and Au Pair.

This misguided idea emerged in a White House working group charged with implementing the President’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ executive order.  While the notion may suggest superficial sense – if internationals aren’t doing these jobs, then Americans could – this move in fact would have virtually no impact on U.S. employment.

And you don’t have to dig very deep to understand the harm it would do:  damage or destroy exchange programs that provide powerful support to our national security, and stifle U.S. economies in resort areas with insufficient supplies of seasonal workers. This move also would do irreparable harm to the large constellation of mission-driven, private American organizations that – with decades-long encouragement and cooperation from the U.S. government – implement exchange programs.  Some of these organizations would be forced to close their doors, others would continue in much reduced form.

Thousands of Americans who work for these organizations would lose good, public-spirited jobs, jobs that make America a better and safer place.

That’s a lot of damage for a move that brings us nothing in return.

As I noted in a recent blog post, young Americans are increasingly less interested in traditional summer jobs.  Time cites data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicating that only 35 per cent of American teenagers actually look for summer jobs, and notes (again BLS stats) that the number of young Americans seeking summer jobs has declined 15 per cent over the past 15 years.

The BLS data strongly suggest that international students who come to the U.S. are not displacing Americans.  Instead, they are filling a staffing gap that the tourism and camp sectors of our economy desperately need filled, and can’t fill with local hires.  Recent survey data show that ninety-seven per cent of such employers can’t find enough seasonal employees locally, 39 per cent would have to reduce their operations, and 25 per cent couldn’t stay open during the summer.  Time quotes a resort operator from the Wisconsin Dells:  “If anyone says these people are taking jobs away from Americans, they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

And of course, If businesses reduced their hours of operation or closed altogether, there would be a significant adverse impact on their American staff.

NPR makes a persuasive economic case that relatively low wages from a summer resort job no longer make a dent in sharply rising college costs.  Students thus invest their time in activities they perceive to have a higher return, i.e., enhancing their resumes, even if the return isn’t monetary.

We’ve known since at least 2005 that the impact of these programs on the U.S. labor market is virtually non-existent.  That year, the GAO published a study on this very question.  GAO summarized its findings in a single sentence:  “(Department of) Labor officials stated that it is not likely that the exchange programs will have any effect on the U.S. labor market because of the small number of J-1 exchange visitors (about 283,000 in fiscal year 2004) relative to the U.S. workforce.”

When I met in 2005 with the GAO team and asked about their findings on labor impact, their response conveyed the same meaning, but with a bit more color:  ‘The Bureau of Labor Statistics laughed us out of the room.  They said such a small number (of students) was not worth studying”.

This White House proposal would not enhance American employment, but it would eliminate important programs that that build good relationships with other nations.  Think of it:  every year, thousands of university students from around the world come to the United States, most for a year or less, at virtually no cost to the American taxpayer.  They make American friends, improve their English, and gain a better understanding of our culture and values.  All surveys show that the overwhelming majority has a great time. They go home and share their impressions with others.  This is an extremely effective way to build good will, mutual understanding, and respect.

In the years after the Berlin Wall came down and the Warsaw Pact dissolved, large numbers of Central European university students seized this opportunity to visit the U.S. for the first time.  For most of that period, Poland was the leading sending country for Summer Work Travel, and our embassy in Warsaw summarized the impact of the program in a 2003 cable:

“Sending such a large contingent of university students to the U.S. annually builds a reservoir of good will that will support a strong bilateral relationship for decades as these young Poles move into leadership positions throughout society. Moreover, by helping them sharpen their English skills, the program will help facilitate their success in a very competitive Polish job market.”

In other words, our exchange programs help us make friends of future leaders, and help those leaders succeed when they return home – an awfully good long-term investment, especially when it costs the U.S. almost nothing.

Interestingly, the student flows to the U.S. for the Summer Work Travel program have aligned fairly closely with global trends. Central European numbers declined as those nations connected with the European Union, and were replaced by strong flows from Russia and Ukraine as former Soviet republics began to find their feet as independent nations.  In recent years, we’ve seen strong interest from emerging economies:  China, Brazil, Turkey, and Thailand.

Adopting the White House proposal will not create jobs for Americans. Adopting it would, however, weaken U.S. diplomacy, damage the economies of American towns and regions that depend on tourism, and wreck a substantial segment of our very vibrant non-governmental exchange community.  American jobs will be lost.  American businesses and nonprofits will be shuttered.

Is that a good deal for America?

*This post was updated on August 30.

Michael McCarry

Michael McCarry, senior adviser to CENET, served for 21 years as Executive Director of the Alliance for International Exchange.  Before joining the Alliance, he was a U.S. diplomat with assignments in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Beijing, and Washington, including a tour as Staff Director for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  His international involvement began with a year as a graduate student at Melbourne University. 

Proposed changes to privately funded exchange programs would hurt many American communities, especially those that rely on seasonal business. We are working defend cultural exchange programs against impending restrictions. You can help, too. Please take a minute to inform your senators and representative about the impact of BAHA restrictions on exchange programs. You can do that by sending a letter asking them to contact the White House and urge that J-1 international exchange programs NOT be included in the BAHA implementation. Privately funded exchanges serve as a vital element of our national’s diplomacy. They support our national security and strengthen local economies across the U.S. Let us work together to ensure Congress helps preserve these programs!

CENET strives to inspire a safer, more prosperous and compassionate world through international education and cultural exploration.For more news and updates about CENET, please visit our Facebook Page.