CENET Hosts Culture in the Community Benefit

By Leslie Corn

Culture in the Community | #CENETJ1 #CITC

ALTO PASS, IL– On April 27, 45 community members attended “Taste of Sweden,” a culinary and wine event benefitting CENET’s local program, Culture in the Community.

The event was held at Hedman Vineyards, operated by Swedish natives, Gerd and Anders Hedman. Each ticket included a 3-course dinner with wine pairings and a welcome drink. Guests were provided with a brief overview of Culture in the Community by CENET Executive Director, Robyn Walker, as well as a menu description by Gerd Hedman. A former Rotary high school exchange student, Amelia Blakely, also shared about her exchange experience in Sweden.

Proceeds from a “Taste of Sweden” will be used to provide scholarships for area students to attend the world-renowned language immersion programs offered by Concordia Language Villages. 

Thank you to the community members who supported “Taste of Sweden.” Special thanks to Secutive for sponsoring a portion of the evening, and to Hedman Vineyards for donating the event space.

To learn more about Culture in the Community or to be added to our mailing list, please contact 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’s First 100 Days

Op-Ed By Leslie Corn

#CENETJ1 #ExchangesImpact

I believe it was the wise words of Alabama that once proclaimed “you can’t keep a good man down.” And that’s exactly what’s happening here. Thanks Randy Owen. I’m not certain the song was written for this moment in time, but it could be. It is, after all, 2017– the year of anything is possible.

Due to events that will not be named in this apolitical post (hint: it started in November), it’s safe to say there’s been some recent challenges presented to the exchange community.

In the midst of adversity, it’s as though Alabama (the band) was singing directly to Missouri (the state), and we got to work. Although it felt like our course became uphill, we continued in forward-movement towards our goals.

Below is a snapshot of CENET’s first 100 Days; 100 days well spent, endeavoring to inspire a safer, more prosperous and compassionate world through international education and cultural exploration.


Local:

CENET started the year in our new office, with our new website, with our old staff holding some new titles, and some new staff joining the team. We also welcomed a new J-1 category. It was like we won the lottery. But better because we didn’t get the curse that goes along with all lottery wins (source: the internet).

We also provided Culture in the Classroom sessions for 530 students, impacting 31 classrooms at 3 schools with 9 different presenters sharing their unique cultural backgrounds. A special presentation in Oran attracted media attention from the Southeast Missourian  and KFVS coverage; the session also had support from the offices of Senator Blunt and Representative Smith.

CENET hosted a Welcome Reception in our office space, to share our mission with new friends and long-time supporters. Over 150 community members joined us to sample international cuisine and wine & beer selections from around the world.

On April 27, over 40 CENET supporters gathered at Hedman Vineyards for a special culinary and wine event celebrating Swedish culture and raising funds for Culture in the Community. The funds raised at the event will be directed to sending area youth to the world-renowned Concordia Language Villages for 2017 summer programs.

In addition, CENET hosted a local Chamber of Commerce After-Hours event, presented at the women’s Optimist Club in Jackson, sponsored “Carnaval Night: Welcome to Rio” as part of SEMO of the World, welcomed various visiting partners from around the world, and hosted a Magellan University member from Zuyd University of Applied Sciences.

 


Regional:

In Branson, CENET cohosted the J-1 Community Forum, and the Branson Lakes Area Lodging Association’s monthly meeting. CENET was also selected to present at the County Partnership’s Workforce Summit. Community members in Branson are highly supportive, with the Branson Mayor and the office of Representative Billy Long regularly attending J-1 related events. CENET’s Regional Director, support staff, fellow sponsors, and community members continue to prepare for another successful summer season in Branson.


National:

We began the year with a visit to our west coast partners to provide J-1 education and training on our new website.

To connect within the exchange community and to gain valuable insight into the Camp Counselor program, CENET attended the American Camp Association Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Once again, CENET participated in Advocacy Day. CENET and fellow Alliance members visited over 170 congressional offices on Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of J-1 exchanges.

Recently, CENET had the privilege of participating in a volunteer project in Wisconsin Dells, which attracted approximately 360 winter work and travel exchange participants; the following day, CENET attended the Wisconsin Dells Annual Employer and Community Forum.


International:

CENET staff members have visited international partners in the United Kingdom, Budapest, Prague, Bratislava, and Warsaw, while also attended hiring fairs throughout Europe and the Dominican Republic. In addition, an alumni gathering was held in the Dominican Republic.

Magellan member universities, Aachen University of Applied Sciences and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, also received CENET visits.

CENET attended the WETM conference in Munich, Germany.


Looking Ahead: 

As we move forward, CENET will continue to dedicate ourselves to programs that inspire a safer, more prosperous, and compassionate world through international education and cultural exploration. We will also continue to advocate for exchange programs and initiatives that promote global knowledge, cultural sensitivity, peaceful solutions. Should you be interested in learning more about CENET programs or how to get involved, please contact CENET.

And if you aren’t sure what CENET is or how you got on this page, you should probably go watch the Alabama Can’t Keep a Good Man Down video. You earned it.

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 Participates in ‘SEMO of the World’ Celebration

By Leslie Corn

Culture in the Community | #CITC #CENETJ1

Throughout the spring semester, Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) will provide activities honoring world cultures. Students, faculty, and members of the regional community are invited to participate in “SEMO of the World,” a celebration of cultural diversity in Southeast Missouri.

“This is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the numerous internationally-focused activities happening across campus and in the community during the remainder of the semester.  Not everyone is aware of the deep and meaningful ways Southeast is engaged in international education, and ‘SEMO of the World’ is an opportunity to demonstrate that engagement,” said Kevin Timlin, executive director of Southeast’s International Education and Services, “‘SEMO of the World’ is an opportunity to demonstrate how much we, as a University community, respect and value all that international students and scholars bring to the educational environment here. We hope everyone will take the time to attend some of these events to show that everyone from around the world is welcome here.” (source: Southeast Missourian)

Currently, 883 international students representing 50 countries are enrolled at SEMO. Various student and community organizations are joining forces to provide a calendar of meaningful activities for the “SEMO of the World” series; these activities will provide international students with opportunities to share their cultures and customs with their American counterparts.

CENET joined the festivities by sponsoring “Carnaval Night: Welcome to Rio,” organized by the Brazilian Student Association and hosted by Centenary United Methodist Church. Per the event description, the evening was a “high-energy night exploring the richness and diversity of Brazil by enjoying traditional Brazilian dishes prepared by Chef Juliana, a live samba performance by renowned Brazilian music and dance group Samba Bom, carnival dancers, samba lessons, bossa nova, capoeira, freestyle soccer and much more.”

The CENET staff especially enjoyed getting to see several Brazilian volunteers from Culture in the Community (CITC) participate in the event; one demonstrated capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music, while others performed a Brazilian pop song.

CENET’s contribution was used to hire Samba Bom, a renowned music and dance group, and to provide special lighting for the event.

The evening was a huge success and a true celebration of Brazilian culture.

Check out event photos in the gallery below. Details about other “SEMO of the World” events may be found here.

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.

Culture in the Classroom Provides Presentations for 200 Local High School Students

By Leslie Corn

Local Impact | #CITC #CENETJ1

SIKESTON, MO– On Wednesday, March 29, Culture in the Classroom visited the Spanish classrooms at Sikeston High School.

Approximately 200 students were provided authentic, international education, with a focus on Costa Rican culture. CENET staff member and native of Costa Rica, Brayan Rueda, shared about the geography, language, and customs of his home culture. A highlight of the visit included a sampling of gallo pinto, a Costa Rican cuisine, paired with fresh limeade; the culinary addition fit into the classroom’s recent unit on foods.

The students were attentive and energetic, and the hosting teachers expressed gratitude to CENET. One teacher shared, “My students loved it…thank you so much! I definitely hope we can continue to do more presentations in the future.”

Culture in the Classroom is part of CENET’s local program, Culture in the Community. The programs utilize Southeast Missouri State University’s exchange students, local residents from other countries, and CENET staff to provide authentic, interactive education about world cultures. Each Culture in the Classroom program offers tailored curriculum to match the needs of the specific school or group. If you are interested in booking a session or learning more about the program, please email cenet@cenet.org or call 573-335-7111 during regular business hours.

CENET will also be hosting an upcoming culinary and wine event, “Taste of Sweden,” an authentic Swedish experience. All proceeds will benefit Culture in Community. For more details or to purchase tickets, please visit: https://tasteofsweden.eventbrite.com

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.

Legislative Offices and Local Media Attend CENET Program at Elementary School

By Leslie Corn

Culture in the Community|#ExchangesImpact #CENETJ1

On February 1, Culture in the Community (CITC) visited the 3rd & 4th grade classes at Oran Elementary. After receiving play passports, the students embarked on a “journey around the world”—all from within their school’s gymnasium.

The students rotated through six country stations: Brazil, Australia, India, Costa Rica, Japan, and World Geography. At each stop, international presenters shared their home cultures, customs, and cuisines. Through the interactive presentations, students learned there are not only differences between U.S. and world cultures, but also similarities – and those differences and similarities should be celebrated and not feared.

CENET was joined by staff from the offices of Senator Blunt and Representative Smith, as well as KFVS and the Southeast Missourian. Special thanks to Senator Blunt for supporting CITC on social media:

roy-blunt-tweet

CITC aims to provide authentic international education for area schools and groups. Since its inception in 2011, CITC has provided free programs for thousands of area youth. The program utilizes Southeast Missouri State University’s exchange students and international faculty, CENET staff, and local residents from other countries to provide interactive, international education about world cultures.

For more information about the event, check out the Southeast Missourian article  or KFVS coverage.

A photo gallery from the event is included below:

CENET is a non-profit organization located in the Marquette Tech District in Cape Girardeau. In addition to Culture in the Community, CENET serves as a U.S. State Department authorized J-1 visa sponsor. CENET also provides The Magellan Exchange, a study abroad program for faculty and staff from universities worldwide, including Southeast Missouri State University.

Should your organization or school be interested in booking a CITC program, please contact CENET. 573-335-7111; cenet@cenet.org

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.

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Scholarship Winners Return to Southeast Missouri After Cultural Immersion Program

By Leslie Corn

Culture in the Community | #CITC #CENETJ1

This summer, CENET selected four area students to receive full scholarships to attend Concordia Language Villages (CLV) in Bemidji, Minnesota. The scholarships were provided in partnership between CENET & CLV.

CLV is one of the world’s premier immersion language learning programs.The area scholarship winners included:

•Maggie Shelton, 17, of Jackson, MO, who will study Arabic for four weeks.

•Jake Shelton, 12, of Jackson, MO, who will study Portuguese for two weeks.

•Chance Earles, 11, of Carbondale, IL, who will study Portuguese for two weeks.

•Mariena Collins, 11, of Jackson, MO, who will study Chinese for one week.

The local students have returned home and shared their experiences with CENET:

Mariena Collins, age 11

Mariena attended CLV’s Chinese Village, Sēn Lín Hú. She was immersed into a world full of rich, Chinese culture where she was “excited to try new things.” Mariena enjoyed sharing her unique American culture with friends that she met from Africa, England, Italy, and all over the United States. They played a variety of games, including one about Harry Potter and a Chinese game called Jianzi, which is similar to Hacky Sack. On her experience at CLV, Mariena added, “everything is a challenge and a new obstacle and everyone tries to help you. That’s why I think everyone should be immersed at least once in an experience like this.  I learned so much about the culture and language.”

shuttlecock
Photo of the Jianzi shuttlecock Mariene brought home with her.

Jake Shelton, age 12

Jake Shelton attended CLV’s Portuguese camp, Mar e Floresta. During camp, Jake went by his chosen Portuguese name, Leonardo. He shared that the counselors and fellow campers made him “feel safe and like we were one big family.” A few of the activities that took place in his Village were Portuguese art, Disco-Techa, and futbol. Jake made great friends at camp. He stated, “My best friend was Christiano, he was a lot like my best friend here in Jackson.”

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Jake Shelton smiles with friends at CLV.

Maggie Shelton, age 17

Maggie Shelton attended the CLV Arabic Village for high school credit. She spent an entire month immersed in the Arabic Village, Al-Wāḥa. Maggie went by her chosen Arabic name, لو لو , which spells “LuLu.” Maggie’s assignments included: a poem, a presentation, a portfolio, a family tree, an interview, and a mid-term and final exam– all in Arabic!

Maggie enjoyed her time at CLV. Her favorite activities were learning the songs and dances of her Village. At the camp’s International Day, Maggie became involved with the Global Summit where they discussed issues in relation to the Paris Agreement pertaining to climate change. This event was very inspiring for Maggie, as she was able to see how treaty meetings are conducted. She was also involved in certain camp counselor duties for an evening shift of “manning the camp’s well.” Maggie is excited to continue her studies in Arabic and use the skills she obtained at CLV throughout her academic and professional endeavors.

All of the Villagers were invited to participate in an activity in which they were to speak only the language of their Village for an entire day. Jake, Maggie, and Mariena participated in the challenge. They reported they enjoyed the activity, even though it was very intensive and difficult at times. The scholarship winners have shared that they are hopeful to return to CLV in the future.

To learn more about the experiences of the scholarship winners, check out the feature published by the Southeast Missourian. 

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.

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CENET Hosts J-Day Celebration in Branson

By Leslie Corn

#CelebrateJDay #EatPlayGive #CENETJ1 | J-Day 2016

BRANSON, MO– On Monday, August 1, 2016, over 230 J-1 participants, community members, and elected officials and staff gathered at Moonshine Beach to celebrate J-Day and the power of international exchange programs.

Under the motto “Eat Play Give,” J-Day merges community service and celebration. J-Day Branson involved a morning session of Culture in the Community at the Ozark Mountain Family YMCA. J-1 participants volunteered their time to serve as J-Day Ambassadors, providing cultural presentations to children ages 5-12.

Later at the Moonshine Beach celebration, J-Day Ambassadors were presented with Certificates of Achievement by Mayor Karen Best.

Along with a keynote speech by Mayor Best, J-Day attendees enjoyed American style cuisine, beach games, volleyball, swimming, and dancing.

The event received bipartisan support, as the offices of Senator Claire McCaskill and Senator Roy Blunt attended J-Day festivities. Both elected officials took to social media after the event to show their support of J-Day and the value of international exchange programs.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program is governed by the U.S. State Department. The program gives future leaders from around the globe the opportunity to come to the United States to exchange ideas and cultures with the people of the U.S. through temporary training and educational opportunities. This summer, approximately 500 J-1 visitors are spending their university summer breaks in Branson, MO; approximately 200 J-1 participants attended J-Day Branson.

Other attendees included community members, area business owners and operators, and Cultural Exchange Network (CENET).

CENET is a non-profit organization located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri with an additional office servicing the Springfield/Branson area. CENET is a U.S. State Department authorized J-1 visa sponsor. CENET also operates The Magellan Exchange, a consortium of universities worldwide providing student and faculty exchanges. In addition, CENET facilitates Culture in the Community, an initiative aimed at providing authentic international education for local youth.

CENET strives to inspire a safer, more prosperous and compassionate world through international education and cultural exploration.

Helpful Links:

www.culturalexchangenetwork.org

http://www.alliance-exchange.org/CelebrateJDay

For more news and updates about CENET, please visit our Facebook Page.

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