Spirit Sponsors Trips to Madison

October 21, 2016

Each year Spirit hosts several cultural activities. Our most popular is the trip to Madison, Wisconsin to visit the state capitol buliding and the University of Wisconsin. This year, due to the popularity of the event, Spirit made two trips to Madison with participants from Wisconsin Dells. On these trips, participants toured the capitol building and had the opportunity to ask local senators and representatives about the law and America in general. Not only is it a chance for J1 participants to learn more about American democracy, but it is also an opportunity to educate local elected officials on the importance of the J1 program in their communities. It sparks great conversations about cultural and political similarities and differences between countries. 

When: July 26th and 27th, 2016
Event: Madison Wisconsin Capitol tour and University of Wisconsin tour
Nationalities: China, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Russia, and Moldova

This is the fourth year that Spirit has organized a trip to Madison for our participants located in Wisconsin Dells. This July, 36 participants from 7 countries toured the state capitol, met with the state representative and senator representing the Dells, ate in a UW campus dining hall, and took a tour of the UW campus.

On the first day a group of participants met with Senator Olsen, and on the second day a separate group met with Representative Ballweg. The participants had great questions for the elected officials about civics, elections, and America on the world stage. The participants asked questions like “why are there so many laws in America” and “why is America great?” They suggested community improvements for the Dells, such as more public transportation for participants traveling to and from work. The participants really enjoyed the opportunity to speak with local elected officials, and snap selfies together!

During the UW Madison tour, participants spoke with the tour guide about the differences between American Universities and their own universities at home. They discussed the available classes and asked questions about everyday student life, such as living in the dorms. They were surprised to hear how much college costs in America, as most of their education is paid for by their governments. Overall, the trip was a great introduction to the American government and university life.


When: August 30th and 31st, 2016
Event: Madison Wisconsin Capitol tour and University of Wisconsin tour
Nationalities: China, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Russia, and Jamaica

This is the 2nd time this year that we organized a tour of the Wisconsin state capitol and University of Wisconsin Madison campus due to its popularity when we hosted the event in July. On this trip, 31 participants from 7 countries toured the state capitol, ate in a UW campus dining hall, and took a tour of the UW campus.

The participants were surprised by the grand architecture of the capital building and enjoyed taking pictures. During our lunch at the university dining hall, the participants were overwhelmed by the amount and variety of food available to university students. While they liked the food, several talked about how large the portions were compare to what they were used to at home. The Turkish participants also talked about how food in their country tended to be healthier compared to American food (they also commented on America’s love for sweet food).

Everyone enjoyed the campus tour and several participants were surprised just how large the campus was. A few participants even wanted to return for a semester of university classes, through the high cost of tuition was a discouragement. The participants were also excited to hear that 2 graduates of the university now play in the NBA. Overall, it was a great chance for everyone to experience a snapshot of the American government and university system.