General Program Questions

Question: What is Spirit Cultural Exchange?

Answer: Spirit is a J-1 Work and Travel, Internship and Trainee Program sponsor, designated by the U.S. Department of State. Our programs offer international university students and young professionals the opportunity to experience the benefits of cultural exchange while taking part in work and bona fide training programs in their field of study in the USA.

Question: What is the cultural component of Spirit’s programs?

Answer: Cultural activities refer to the things you do in your free time that expose you to the life and culture of the United States. Many participants engage in cultural activities without even knowing it! Examples of cultural activities include:

  • Gathering with American friends for meals, games, or movies etc.
  • Visiting a museum or historic site
  • Touring a US city
  • Visiting a national park
  • Volunteering in the local community
  • Attending an American sporting event

Question: How many cultural activities should I complete each month?

Answer: As a requirement of Spirit’s programs, you must participate in at least two cultural activities per month. However, many participants complete many more cultural activities throughout their program. Participants who engage in more cultural activities than the minimum tend to have a much more enriching experience in the USA.

Question: What if I need help or have any questions during my program?

Answer: Before arrival in the USA, participants should contact their home agency with any pre-arrival questions. After arrival in the USA, participants may contact Spirit at 1 (800) 390-0978 during office hours, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday – Friday. We can be reached in an emergency 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1 800-390-0978, ext. 399 to reach our emergency answering service.

Professional Development Program Questions

Question: How do I begin to develop a Training or Internship Placement Plan (T/IPP)?

Answer: T/IPPs for the J-1 Intern and Trainee Program must meet specific regulatory requirements and it is critical that each phase of the training or internship build on the previous phases. Contact Spirit to receive specific guidance.

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