During his internship, one of our J1 visa program participants had the unique opportunity to participate in the I-LEAD program at the American University in Washington D.C. This 5-day conference was held from May 15-50, 2016.
We are excited to share his report with you!
“My name is Ole and I am a 25-year-old Industrial Engineer from Denmark”
These were the first words I said in front of the 57 other delegates attending the first-ever Intern Leadership Enrichment and Development Program.
From 600+ applications, 58 J-1 interns were selected to participate in the I-LEAD Program at the American University in Washington D.C. The 5-day conference, which was hosted by the Council of International and Educational Exchange (CIEE) and the U.S. Department of State, was designed to refine and improve leadership skills through intercultural learning and to promote global social awareness.
What I initially thought would simply be professional leadership development and networking opportunity, soon turned out to be so much more.
Spending a week together with 57 people, from 30 different countries, who had the same amount of enthusiasm and willingness to share, listen and learn as I did was eye-opening.
The first day was all about getting comfortable and getting to know everyone. That was accomplished through different exercises between the participants in pairs, groups and with the whole delegacy. Amazingly the organizers managed, in a few hours, to make everyone feel comfortable.
The following days was a series of workshops, exercises, excursions, speeches and presentations. We learned about different cultures, social entrepreneurship, global issues, and leadership skills. A unique package of knowledge and experience was being presented and every single one of us embraced it to the full extent. Some of the most valuable things we learned at the conference were the things we learned about ourselves. At the end of the day we were left with many new thoughts, impressions and experiences to reflect on. I can without a doubt say that after having attended the I-LEAD conference, I have become a better leader, a better professional, and a better person
If you want to push yourself to go out of your comfort zone, to become a better professional, then the I-LEAD Program is a perfect, exciting opportunity.
In 5 days I made 57 new friends, learned about 29 different cultures, became aware of important global issues and learned more about myself than I ever expected I would.
Ole from Denmark