By Malgorzata Tekgoz, Market Research Analyst, Work and Travel

While on program, SWT participants make friends with youth from all over the World.  Those who worked or lived together usually keep in touch.  Until recently, however, there was not a platform that would create an opportunity for them to reunite upon arrival to their home countries.

To change this and provide former SWT participants an opportunity to connect and engage in civic initiatives, The U.S. Department of State in cooperation with their overseas posts and J-1 sponsors have a created a SWT Alumni project.  The first Alumni Reception took place at Youth Centre in Skopje, Macedonia.

It was a wonderful event that gathered a number of 2011 and 2012 SWT Alumni from Macedonia, local recruiting agencies, J-1 sponsors and U.S. government officials. Ambassador Paul D. Wohlers and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Exchanges, Robin Lerner spoke about the importance of this initiative.

CCI Greenheart attended the reception and had the pleasure to meet in person many program participants, such as Dragan who shared stories about his 3 months in Maine and learning to speak like a native Mainer.  Many former Work and Travel participants at the reception expressed interest in further engagement in international and civic initiatives in Macedonia and around the world.

CCI Greenheart will continue supporting the Alumni project. We hope to see many more of our SWT program participants on similar events in other parts on the World!