Ice Skating Party in Wisconsin Dells

Jan 6, 2016

The Dells J-1 Consortium is hosting its 2nd event for J-1 participants in the Wisconsin Dells and Lake Delton area. Please join us on Monday, January 11 from 4 - 8 p.m. at the Poppy Waterman Ice Arena in Lake Delton, Wisconsin. Participants will be able to ice skate for free and enjoy a group meal. 

Like the Dells J-1 Consortium page on Facebook for important news and updates on upcoming events.

Office closed for Christmas and New Year's Day

Dec 23, 2015

Spirit's office will be closed on December 24 - 25, 2015 and on January 1, 2016. If you require emergency support while our office is closed, please call 1-800-390-0978 and dial 399 to connect with our emergency answering service. We appreciate your patience and hope you enjoy your weekend. 

Office closed for Thanksgiving

Nov 24, 2015
Spirit's office will be closed Thursday, November 26 and Friday, November 27. The office will reopen at 9 a.m. Central Time on Monday, November 30.
If you require emergency support while our office is closed, please call 1-800-390-0978 and dial 399 to connect with our emergency answering service. We appreciate your patience and hope you enjoy your weekend.

Spirit is hiring!

Nov 23, 2015

Spirit currently has a part-time and full-time position available immediately. Please visit our Careers page for more information about our available positions in Oak Park, Illinos.

Note: These positions are not open to J-1 visa participants. 

Space is available in our 2015 J-1 Intern and Trainee program

Nov 4, 2015
Spirit still has space available in its 2015 J-1 Intern & Trainee program. We are now accepting Independent applicants who have secured their own host company placement and Training/ Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP or DS-7002). 
Spirit is a designated J-1 sponsor in the following categories:
  • Arts and Culture
  • Social Sciences and Social Services
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Information Media and Communications
  •  Management, Business, Commerce and Finance
  • Public Administration and Law
  • The Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics and Industrial Occupations
Contact Spirit today to inquire about our J-1 Intern and Trainee program. All interested applicants can complete our quick, online Get Information form. 

Spirit J-1 participant meets President Obama during Alaska visit

Sep 15, 2015

A Spirit participant had the opportunity to meet President Obama during his recent visit to Alaska. Yumei Pan, one of our J-1 Work and Travel participants from China, met President Obama while at the Sweet Darlings candy store and gelato shop in Seward, Alaska. 

View a video clip from Pan's encounter here:

Volunteer Abroad: Rita arrives in Cuenca, Ecuador!

Aug 17, 2015

Rita Hess, one of Spirit's Volunteer Abroad Scholarship recipients, has left Quito and arrived in Cuenca, Ecuador to begin volunteering at a local orphanage. Rita has been documenting her experience through a travel blog - check out her posts for updates on her adventures in Ecuador!

Live media coverage from Spirit's J Day event!

Aug 12, 2015

Spirit's 2nd annual J Day event welcomed local media from ABC 6 and WVLT Local 8 to cover our event - check out live footage below!

Spirit hosts J Day celebration in Tennessee!

Aug 4, 2015

Spirit participants celebrating J Day at the Tennessee Smokies Baseball Stadium.

Date: August 3, 2015

Location: Kodak, Tennessee

News clips: ABC 6 News: Smokies host 2nd annual J Day / WVLT Local 8: Eat. Play. Give: Spirit Cultural Exchange hosted at Smokies

Spirit brings international participants to the Smokies Stadium to enjoy their first American minor league baseball game and has done so for the past three years. This year, Spirit decided to host its 2nd annual J Day celebration at the stadium on Monday, August 3. As part of the celebration, participants were able to enjoy a variety of activities during the baseball game. 

First, the students arrived and settled into the Right Deck area to pick up their J Day shirts and cool down from the Tennessee heat with cold refreshments. Participants were greeted by journalists from two local news stations that wanted to document their experience at their first baseball game. Participants enjoyed being interviewed and recorded throughout the event – they felt like celebrities.

Shortly after, the entire group of 35 participants and 2 Spirit representatives walked down to the warning track of the baseball field for a pre-game parade. Participants were announced to the public over the loudspeaker and walked as a large group around the entire field. Participants waved at many of the fans at the baseball game and stopped to take pictures of the baseball players warming up on the field only a few feet away from them. Many of the participants were surprised at how large the baseball field was and how far apart the bases actually were from up close.

After completing the pre-game parade, a smaller group of 10 participants had the opportunity to run out onto the field and have their names announced along with the baseball players over the loud speaker. Participants then stood next to the baseball players as the national anthem played. Participants were also treated to a quick tour of the dugout area and underground batting cages before returning to their seats.

After the excitement, participants returned to their seats to enjoy dinner together and presented their donations to the Sevier County Food Ministries. All participants were encouraged to bring two canned food items or $5 to donate to the local food bank. The local food bank representative, Jim Davis, took a few minutes to explain the importance of volunteerism and the impact their individual donations would make on helping families in Sevier County. Each dollar donated was the equivalent of five cans of food so Spirit participants donated enough cans or cash to equal approximately 3,200 cans! The participants were shocked and very proud to hear how their $5 donation could provide 25 cans of food to a single family.

During the game, Spirit representatives handed out information sheets describing the rules of American Baseball and took the time to answer participant questions. Some participants also chose to participate in a mid-inning game where they had to hold hands in a line and pass a hula hoop around them without breaking the chain. Our participants worked quickly together as a team and won the game against the other team!

All attendees received roundtrip transportation, a ticket to the baseball game, a J Day t-shirt, admission to the Right Deck area for a food buffet of hot dogs, cookies, chips, and beverages.

Facebook link to photos

ISU graduate student is gearing up for her volunteer project in Ecuador

Jul 14, 2015

Spirit's Volunteer Abroad scholarship recipient, Rita Hess, is preparing for her volunteer project in Ecuador. Hess is a student in the Spanish linguistics and pedagogy master’s program at Illinois State University

As part of this new service learning experience, Hess will complete a week of advanced Spanish lessons in Quito and then spend two weeks volunteering at a girls orphanage in Cuenca. She will also assist in putting together recreational activities for the children, helping them with their classes, and sharing with them about her life and experiences in the United States. 

“Once I got the scholarship, I was able to choose which of their volunteer programs I wanted to do and when,” says Hess. “I chose the girls orphanage because I wanted to do something that wasn’t teaching for once. I’ve always had a soft spot for orphans and adoption so it was just generally interesting to me, and I take it as my personal responsibility in life to help girls realize their potential and break through all barriers so, yeah, a perfect fit!” 

Read the full story here.