As of March 22nd, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman traveled to Ukraine to meet with senior Ukrainian officials and representatives of civil society. “Secretary Sherman reaffirmed the United States’ strong support for the Ukrainian people and for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
AAG has been sponsoring students from Ukraine since 2004. We have several valuable partners in J-1 programs based here with whom we have worked very closely over the years. Part of what makes our partnerships strong is open communication and positive relationships. Last week we had the opportunity to candidly discuss the country’s situation first hand with Rustem Ayedinov, Director General of STUDY.UA.
AAG: How do Ukrainian university students feel about what’s happening in the Ukraine right now?
Rustem: At first, they were very excited to be part of the change and a part of history. However, they are now worried about the next challenge. They want Ukraine to be a united country regardless of cultural differences.
AAG: Are students still excited to come to the U.S. for their Summer Work Travel programs?
Rustem: Yes! I can tell the U.S. Embassy is also truly supporting their participation, as they are still encouraging students to go and apply for the program. Our own company’s visa approval rates are much higher than in recent years.
AAG: Do cultural exchange programs such as the J-1 visas help diplomacy during challenging times?
Rustem: Programs like Summer Work Travel are unique tools in giving a new generation the ability to imagine how life could work without corruption or oppression. Their experiences in the U.S. teach them and show them a democratic way of life, and give them hope and understanding for a better tomorrow.
Many thanks to Rustem for sharing his thoughts with us. We look forward to welcoming over 450 STUDY.UA participants to the U.S. this summer!
Continue to stay informed on the situation in Ukraine. You can read what the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Says about Crimea here: Crimea Should Stay In Ukraine
Interested in hearing first hand from Future Leaders Exchange Program Ukrainian Alumni participants? Watch This