InterExchange Christianson Grant Recipients Take Volunteer Spirit to Uganda and Kenya in 2013

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Grantees Pursuing Health Care Projects for Disease Prevention and Maternal Support

Instead of following the typical route of college graduation followed by entry into the workforce, these young men and women have opted to adjust the traditional trajectoryand follow a new path by experiencing immersion in another country and culture.

The InterExchange Foundation has recently awarded two Christianson Grants to American graduates of Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The new year will see them participating in important work at non-profit organizations in communities in Kenya and Uganda.

The InterExchange Foundation distributes grants of up to $10,000 to individuals throughout the year and has awarded 68 grants since it began in 2007.

As part of the InterExchange mission to promote cultural exchange and learning within the global community, The Foundation helps fund projects initiated by deserving young people from the U.S. who have committed to long-term, international volunteer or work projects.

All recipients are recent university graduates who have postponed working or further academic study to instead focus on supporting and learning about international social issues while engaging in a different country and culture – which is part of the InterExchange mission to promote cultural exchange.

Juliana K., a graduate of Cornell University, will be going to work for Massachusetts General Hospital’s Global Primary Care Program, a division of Partners Healthcare, located three hours west of Mbarara, Uganda, to complete a year-long global health internship. With an interest in global healthcare and learning about tropical disease and rural service systems, Juliana will conduct health services research and develop courses for healthcare providers in Bugoye to add to their skill set and better address the needs of the community.

“I will work hard to forge an international learning community, a mutually beneficial relationship in which we can advise one another on health reform through shared understanding of each other’s cultures, livelihoods and experiences,” says Juliana.

The second Christianson Grant recipient is Kelsi H., a University of Wisconsin-Madison 2009 graduate of the Sociology and African Studies departments. Kelsi will be interning in a year-long position for Midwife International in Nairobi, Kenya. While in East Africa, Kelsi will help establish a clinic in Nairobi and develop a “work-for-trade” program for low-income patients.

“One thing I hope to learn is effective education and outreach skills for targeting populations with limited access to maternal health care. Whether in the U.S. or in the Kibera district of Nairobi, a lack of knowledge, resources or access to appropriate medical care continues to impact the overall quality of maternal health around the world,” says Kelsi.

The InterExchange Foundation is part of the organization’s commitment to spreading cultural understanding and appreciation. Both current and past grantees have demonstrated this shared value in their project work. InterExchange anticipates 2013 to be a banner year, with the number of applications for grants increasing every quarter. Throughout the U.S., young people continue to see gaining an international viewpoint as a critical element for career as well as personal development.

Myisha Battle, Manager of the InterExchange Foundation, is inspired daily by grantees’ stories that demonstrate the importance of learning about and living in another part of the world.

“Our grantees all have a global outlook in both their careers as well as their lives. Instead of following the typical route of college graduation followed by entry into the workforce, these young men and women have opted to adjust the traditional trajectory and follow a new path by experiencing immersion in another country and culture,” says Battle.

InterExchange is a non-profit organization committed to improving international understanding by facilitating life-changing, exceptional cultural exchange experiences for young people, businesses and families around the world. As both a J-1 Visa sponsor designated by the U.S. Department of State and a cross-cultural ambassador, we develop meaningful relationships with participants from more than 60 countries as well as with international recruiting partners, host employers and families. We ensure that all in our community are treated with the respect and consideration that comes from staff with first-hand experience living and working abroad and more than 40 years of leadership in the industry.

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Media Contact:
Ron Hernandez
Director of Marketing and Communications
InterExchange, Inc.
161 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 10013

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