International students are in Lawrence County this summer on a cultural exchange program run by Global Educational Concepts through the United States Department of State. It is a notable and respected public diplomacy program designed to help young people from around the world have a better understanding of United States culture, commerce, and values. One out of every three world leaders have participated in this type of exchange program.

In the first week of August 2019, Southwestern Advantage and GEC participated in Exchange Day, a nationwide celebration of the power of international exchanges and an opportunity to raise awareness of educational and cultural exchange programs.

Under the motto “Eat, Play, Give,” exchange visitors across the United States held similar events providing both participants and local citizens an opportunity to give back to their local communities, enjoying American cuisines, and sharing cultural diversity and customs.

Participants in Aurora volunteered at Aurora United Methodist Church, cleaning rooms and helping organize church service materials. Sander Sildver, a student from Estonia said, “We have gained so much from the people of Missouri -- and with so many ways to volunteer, we wanted to give back. Thank you Charlene Dart for the opportunity. We had a good time there, made new friends, and have new memories of our time in the U.S.”

About GEC and Southwestern Advantage

Since 1868, Southwestern Advantage has offered a sales and leadership program that gives university students a way to afford their degrees, gain entrepreneurial skills, and build character. This summer, more than 1,600 independent student reps from over 240 campuses around the world are marketing an educational learning system to families in the US and Canada.

GEC is a designated sponsor of the U.S. Department of State’s J-1 Summer Work Travel and Internship programs. GEC fully supports and believes in the public diplomacy opportunities that exchange programs offer its participants, host families and host employers.