Exchange Day 2023, a nationwide celebration of the power of international exchange, took place on Monday, August 7. But at Spirit Cultural Exchange, the festivities last all week long! This year, Spirit hosted an event in Wisconsin Dells at the International Crane Foundation. Spirit representative Katherine attended this event as well as the two events that followed – our annual Madison cultural tours.
Almost every summer since 2014, Spirit has brought our Wisconsin Dells participants for a free day of tours in Madison. The day starts with a tour at the Wisconsin State Capitol, which is followed by a second tour at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lunch.
These tours are a great way for participants to learn more about US culture, particularly in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin State Capitol Tour
At the Wisconsin State Capitol, tour guides lead participants throughout important rooms like the Supreme Court, the Governor’s Conference Room, and the Senate Chamber. In each room, the tour guide shares information about US government, Wisconsin history, and the symbolism of each room’s décor.
This gives our participants a better understanding of our government and culture. This year they especially appreciated the art, the atmosphere, learning about the history of the state, and of course, all the gold decorations!
University of Wisconsin-Madison Tour
After the Capitol tour, participants walk down Madison’s famous State Street and enjoy looking at all of the unique restaurants and shops on their way to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Many participants enjoy experiencing Madison, as it is so different from Wisconsin Dells. As one participant observed this week, “I feel like I am in a different country!”
At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, two students from the university lead participants in a tour around some of the school’s most interesting buildings like the Memorial Union and Discovery Building.
Participants thought the university was a special and unique environment. They couldn’t believe how large the university was and how many resources it had, and they especially loved seeing the trees growing indoors at the Discovery Building.
After the tour, participants enjoy the variety of dining options at the Memorial Union, as well as the outdoor terrace overlooking Lake Mendota.
On Tour Day 1, Katherine and Susie took twelve participants on these tours, representing Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Jamaica, Jordan, and Turkey. On Tour Day 2, Katherine and Chelsea took a new group of nine participants, representing Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, and the Philippines. One participant, Alvin from the Philippines, also attended the Exchange Day volunteer event at the International Crane Foundation!
Tour guides at both locations are always interested to learn about what countries our participants represent and learn more about their experience in the US on the Work and Travel program, making this a perfect Exchange Day 2023 activity.