Cultural Exchange is the cornerstone of our J-1 program. We plan for at least 2 cultural activities a month, which means we have thousands of participants across the United States experiencing local culture. Cultural activities increase in the participant’s emotional ties to the community they’re living and working in, strengthens the relationships with their colleagues, and introduces Americans to invaluable experiences from the participant’s home culture.
On August 10, 21 participants, 3 employers, and 1 Spirit staff all met at Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park for an evening boat tour. The boat ride was an hour in length and the tour guide shared a lot of historical information about glaciers, the lake itself and life in Glacier National Park. There were two levels on the boat and the participants enjoying getting up and walking around to mingle with participants working at other employers. Throughout the boat tour, the employers also enjoyed speaking with other local J-1’s and learning about their culture. There was a lot of history and cultural exchange and the students were very comfortable introducing themselves to other Spirit participants. They shared their favorite experiences hiking with American friends and listing off the different types of animals they were able to see while living and visiting the national park.
On August 11, 10 participants, 4 employers, and 1 Spirit staff all met at St Mary Lake in Glacier National Park for an evening boat tour. The boat ride was an hour in length and was on the east side of the national park. This side of the park was closed due to a wildfire and recently opened the road and boat tour. The tour guide shared interesting information about wildfires and took us to a point where we could visibly see the effects of a wildfire. The students enjoyed learning about the wildfire since for many weeks they could see the smoke in the sky from the fire. A couple of the participants were most excited to witness their first black bear roaming around the boat launch. They were able to take a couple of pictures before it wandered away. Participants enjoyed telling the tour guide about their home country sharing comparisons of Glacier National Park and the scenery in Mongolia.