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Council for Educational Travel, USA

CETUSA is dedicated to the mission of "reaching out to encourage a lifelong journey of global peace and understanding." We support this mission through the implementation of exchange programs for high school students - both American and international - and trainee and internship programs for university students/young professionals. This blog space is meant to continue the conversation on the value of education through experience - more specifically the experience of study abroad. There will be guest blogs here as well as announcements of resources for students, parents and teachers to learn more about study abroad and the global perspective.

Category archive for: Trainee/Internship

I-LEAD: One Intern’s Experience of a Lifetime

Posted in CETUSA News, and Trainee/Internship


“Hello All! Two CETUSA staff members were lucky enough to be invited to the I-LEAD Conference, an event that is designed to bring together J-1 Interns who are leaders in their community. One of our participants, Shanyque Crewes was selected as one of the few interns that were able to attend. She provided us with a record of her thoughts throughout to conference, read her story below!

‘Day one after I arrived and did registration we did an introduction to the entire ILEAD team as well as the delegates and an intercultural activity to send us off to bed.

Day two we had a presentation on leadership from one of the ILEAD staff, then training on leadership through reflection of our experiences throughout our lives then we had a presentation on the international rule of law with Joel from the world justice project then later down we had dinner and did a few TED talks video on leadership and we discussed it.


Shanyque (second from right) and her pitch team"
Shanyque (second from right) and her pitch team

Day three we did activities with the staff and took a site visit on the campus to Startup Hall it’s a hub for Seattles entrepreneurs and we had discussions with startup companies there that shares their experiences in entrepreneurship afterwards we did more training on leadership then watched a film called Poverty, Inc and discussed it over dinner.

Day four we had presenters from the Street Law, Inc then we had a chat with Vice President of CIEE Phil Simon and then they sent us on our own to have dinner wherever and we had a pitch night .

Day five we had presentation by the ILEAD staff then we all went on a tour of Seattle where they took us to South Lake Union Park, Pike Place Market, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Pioneer Square afterwards we had dinner and all the delegates presented on topics which we were placed in groups from before.

Shanyque and other I-LEAD attendees at Seattle's famous 'Gum Wall'
Shanyque and other I-LEAD attendees at Seattle’s famous ‘Gum Wall’

Day six last day where it all ended we basically discuss of experiences throughout the week, did evaluations and spoke with a lady from the office of alumni affairs for the J1 Alumni.

Most favorite thing was the night when they sent us on our own to have dinner and we had the pitch night so basically we had to pitch our idea to a stranger on the street and convince them that our project is something worth taking part in then after for their contribution they had to donate $2 to our cause. It was fun as well as nerve wrecking because I’m not that open up of a person and for me to do that it was brave and I was extremely proud of myself for that and the support that I got from the other delegates was something I will cherish.’

It seems like Shanyque really took a lot away from this conference and was able to learn a lot from her fellow interns. For CETUSA, it was really great to be able to meet Shanyque and all of the other interns in attendance, they are all such a motivated group of young people.”

‘World Oceans Day’ Beach Cleanup – One Intern’s Perspective

Posted in CETUSA News, and Trainee/Internship


As you may have heard, World Ocean’s Day was last month and we received lots of stories and photos from our participants taking part in beach cleanups. One of those stories came from Yao Chieh “Jeff” Hu. Jeff told us all about the great experience he had with a few other CETUSA participants at a World Oceans Day beach cleanup at Aquarium of the Bay. This is what he had to say:


Since the jet lagged problem, I woke up at 4 in the early morning and decided to start off my journey of the day. The streets were silent. There’s no man chatting, bird chirping and wheel running. What I feel like real, is the pulse of my heart. And here I started off. It took me an hour or so to the beach. I arrived as the sun rose up, and the entire world woke up. Shin Nishimura and Taoda (Masa) Masahiro, another two interns from CETUSA, were nice Japanese guys, we tried our best to clean the entire beach up. Though the beach is not quite large, there were still a lot of trashes, plastics and cigarettes. In the end, there were 1,170 cigarettes collected. What the beach cleanup means for me, was the feeling of some contribution to the world and a decent sort of workout. We then went for the pier. We visited around the beach and piers, having great food in a well-known seafood restaurant BOUDIN and visiting the pier to watch quite a few busker shows. Next stop is the warship museum, where we ran into several retired WWII battle ships. Most of them had the introduction for tourists stating how many Japanese ships they destroyed during WWII. It suddenly occurred to me that the history is moving on the way. Even though there were so many conflicts between countries at that time, for now, people are free to travel around the world. That’s the peace. And what we live for, is to keep this. 🙂

Jeff and Shin

Pictured above are Shin Nishimura (left) and Jeff Hu (right) along with some of the trash they found during the beach cleanup. Below is a picture of Jeff Hu (left) and Masahiro Taoda (right) riding one of San Francisco’s famous cable cars. Shin and Masahiro are both involved in business and finance programs while Jeff is a software engineer intern.

Jeff and Masa

Do you have anything you’d like to share on the CETUSA blog? Send your stories and photos to your program administrator or to Kody at

CETUSA Alumni: Alina from Peru

Posted in Alumni, CETUSA News, and Trainee/Internship

As always, we love to hear any and all feedback from our participants about their time on the program. Recently, we’ve been reaching out to program alumni to see what they thought about their time with CETUSA and discuss their experiences. Last week, I had a chance to speak with Alina from Lima, Peru.

Alina was an intern at Scripps Research Institute in Southeast Florida. While she wasn’t allowed to explicitly say what her research project was, Alina was able to tell me that it was focused around nutrition and aging. According to Alina, the work was very intense and mentally demanding, but ultimately fulfilling. “I wouldn’t be where I’m at now without my internship through CETUSA,” she explained, “it really reaffirmed that this was what I wanted to do”.

After finishing her program, Alina returned to Lima to finish her B.S. in Biology. She has since moved on from academia and is working in research and development at a food company in Lima, though she may want to return to school to earn her Master’s in Food Science and Technology.

I asked Alina about what she remembered most about her time in the US and her face instantly lit up from the happy memories. The first thing she mentioned was going to see the blue moon on a beach at night. Interestingly enough, her other favorite memory involved going to the beach as well, going to see giant sea turtles laying their eggs in the sand. “They bury them so deep!” Alina exclaimed as she was describing the experience to me. Overall, she has very fond memories of the United States. She told me all about how polite Americans were during her time here and how she enjoyed talking to people every day.

Alina Soto-Obando - flyroom (1)

Alina developed a good relationship with her supervisor during her time at Scripps. She told me that the person in charge of her research group was one of her closest friends while she was in the US. The two have stayed in close contact even after Alina’s program ended. “A few papers we worked on together are being published so we have to talk because of that,” Alina tells me, but then goes on to explain that they had been in touch besides that as well. In fact, Alina even told me that when the company she works for now had to travel to California for an industry exhibition, she made a point to stop in Florida just to see her supervisor as well as another friend she had made who was still interning at Scripps.

It’s clear to see how beneficial this program was for Alina. She was able to get fantastic real world experience while also becoming familiar with a completely different culture from her own. This is exactly what we love to see come out of the program, participants who are able to take the knowledge they gained from their training or internship and apply to their careers. We would like to wish Alina all the best in her career.

Are you a CETUSA Alumni and would like to share your story? Please send an email to for more information.

CETUSA Takes Part in ‘World Oceans Day’ Beach Cleanup

Posted in CETUSA News, and Trainee/Internship

On a sunny morning of Saturday, June 18th we pulled up to the parking lot near Venice Beach Pier to find a long line of cars waiting to park. I had a bag packed with water, sunscreen and a bundle of company T-shirts made for the event. As we were parking my phone started to ring as our program participants were arriving to the meeting spot. The beach was packed with various groups of people, some dressed in color-coordinated shirts which suggested that they too, were volunteering with their organizations. On the beach there were tents set up and people gathered around, some with buckets and gloves in hand. I greeted our interns who were all from Japan and we introduced each other and gave them T-shirts to wear and we walked over to the check-in tent and stood in line. The volunteering spirit was in the air!

Once we checked-in we were directed to another tent for the security orientation. An enthusiastic young lady in Heal the Bay T-shirt spoke to us about the major causes of pollution — such as stormwater being the biggest source of pollution to the Santa Monica Bay. She said that with runoff comes all sorts of urban slobber: bacteria, motor oil, pesticides, trash, and other pollutants. Heal the Bay staff continue to fight against plastic pollution through education and proactive policies to protect aquatic life from confusing trash for food, or becoming entangled in plastic that pollutes our local waters, and we were doing our part by picking up trash from the beach which eventually ends up in the water and kills the fish. We were given a bucket, gloves and a card with a pencil to document the type of trash that we found, which is eventually entered in The Marine Debris Database (MDDB) – an online tool that collects and analyses the type and amount of trash collected at various Heal the Bay events. This database has been the driving tool in making the legislative bans on the type of trash disposal allowed, so our input was very important, we were told.

We disbursed into smaller groups and went about wandering the beach looking through sand to find and pick up items that did not belong on the beach. During our stroll we chatted about the value of the professional experience on the program abroad, the differences between cultures, in food and leisurely things to do in Los Angeles. Some beachgoers were curious who we were and what we were doing. When they found out they thanked us for volunteering and for making the beaches clean. In two hours-time the event was wrapping up and the sun was at noon and becoming very fierce. So we emptied our bucket, which was mainly filled with plastic debris, Styrofoam and cigarette filters, all of which were documented on the report card. Our interns exchanged numbers and made plans to see each other another time. It was a good Saturday morning and everyone left feeling great!

Kody Blog post

The four participants who chose to join in the fun with Olivia (in middle) were (left to right) Chieko Tomioka, Chiharu Kawasaki,  Yuri Aramaki, and Maya Miyakawa. Chiharu is currently in a training program at a logistics company while everyone else is currently involved in business administration and management training. Despite their different backgrounds, all of the participants were able to come together and work towards a common goal. Thank you all for participating in this beach cleanup!

If you have any questions about similar events near your, please contact your program administrator.