It’s only about fears and how you overcome them!

July 10, 2020

More than 300,000 exchange visitors come to the United States on privately funded programs each year to experience American culture and society. They come from different corners of the world and represent different cultures, credos and backgrounds, but they all return home having lived (as many of them refer to): “The experience of a lifetime.”
Following the Presidential Proclamation on Immigration on 22 June 2020, many Exchange Visitor’s Programs’ visas, including the J-1 has been suspended. Natalia de Isidoro, our Spain Office Director, wanted to share her story and talk about how this Proclamation will affect not only sponsors, agents and young travelers in a deep personal way but also the future of the Global world many of us were dreaming of living in. 


The most inspiring thing for them is discovering that America is really what Americans always say: the place where you can dream and the land of opportunities. But it is also essential for them to understand what the word effort means: there is no big dream fulfilled without any effort.


When I created my company some years ago, I thought I was helping my SWT participants to have the most incredible experience in the USA (The best summer ever, as they always say!). However, it’s been the other way around, as they have been the ones helping me!!!

I cannot imagine a smarter, more powerful or more peaceful way to build a better world than having young people traveling around the globe and showing us that there are no boundaries they cannot jump, no prejudices that cannot be banished and the most important thing:  there are no fears that cannot be overcome.

Because most of the time, it is only about fears (worst of the diseases) and how we overcome them.

Before participants go to the USA, they have a lot of doubts and a lot of fears: will I perform well in my position? Will my English be good enough there? Will American people accept me? Will I understand and get on well with the rest of the international participants?  You can see all of their fears written on their faces!

But you can also feel how thrilled they are to discover a new way of life, because after their first experience in the USA they will not be the same anymore!

Once they land in the USA, a new horizon opens to them.

They can see American people accept them as part of their own families. They can feel they are beneficial to local American businesses (it makes them feel very proud and useful). They begin to understand very different kinds of cultures and behaviors, thanks to their exposure to other participants as well as Americans, and they live the difference as a positive thing. In this case, they don’t overcome diversity; in this case, they integrate different cultures as the only wise way to understand the world and make it better and more vibrant. From that moment on, they have friends all over the world, and they will not stop traveling to different countries.

The most inspiring thing for them is discovering that America is really what Americans always say: the place where you can dream and the land of opportunities. But it is also essential for them to understand what the word effort means: there is no big dream fulfilled without any effort.

At any time, young people are the best ones to change the world into a better version. So, could we imagine what our young people could do with dreams, opportunities, and intelligence? Please, don’t think I am naive thinking this could be done, because I see it every single year when they come back to Spain after summer. I can see the change in them.   There is no need to ask them about their experience; they always say: I will recommend the experience to all my friends (even in the cases when they had some problems).

So please, I beg to anyone out there, with decision making power about these programs and to the American society in general: don’t be afraid of international participants. They are not a threat; they are the opportunity we all need to have in order to create the best version of this global world. Thanks to these incredible programs, they become independent, intelligent, and free, so Americans should be proud of being offering this to the world!

So now you could understand when I was telling you my help is tiny in comparison to all they get from the experience and turn it into the best tool to change the world. Is there anything more helpful than showing us a better world is possible?!

For the first time in my life, I can see how a microscopic virus has forced all of us to stay at home, closing all borders, seeing the other one as a threat … But please, don’t let the virus of fear make the world local again. We all deserve to dream big and our opportunity to have the best version of us! So together, let’s #saveJ1

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#salvemosJ1 !!!

Natalia de Isidoro | Office Director | Alliance Abroad Spain

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