Building Bridges Program


Building Bridges Program

- Fall Program -
Date: September 20 - November 1, 2019
Program Theme:  Education, Social Work, and Nonprofit Administration
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Cost: $1,200 USD

Click HERE to read about the experience of a previous Building Bridges Program participant. 

Click HERE to download a program information packet (PDF) (participants must sign this information packet)
Click HERE to download the program application (PDF)
Click HERE to download a credit card form to pay program fees (PDF)
Click HERE to download a host family application (PDF)
*NOTE* Please fill out the program application and host family application in Adobe Acrobat OR by printing and handwriting (do NOT fill out in "preview" mode on a Mac computer)



Building bridges among cultures has been the heart of CIPUSA programming from our inception. We strive to foster a better understanding of each other, our professions, and our communities. To help promote our mission, CIPUSA has developed the Building Bridges Program, a six-week professional development program under the Civil Society Theme: Social Services and NGO Administration. The program focuses on personal development, professional development, and community impact. In addition to fostering introspection and career development, the program aims to give participants the tools to better understand their host community in the U.S. and their own hometowns and to build a bridge to connect the two communities internationally.

While on the program, participants will be placed at a training site related to their field for 32 hours a week where they will learn about the U.S.-side of their profession through observation, discussion, and some hands-on activities. For the remainder of each week, time will be put towards a research project, cultural/educational activities, and volunteerism. At the end of the program each participant will share what they have learned during the program with CIPUSA and the host community. 

Each program includes opportunities to:

  • Meet colleagues in their profession and learn about their professional field first hand
  • Research a professionally related topic
  • Explore educational and cultural institutions
  • Volunteer at a community event
  • Understand another country’s culture and life through host family living
  • Network with six international professionals in the field of Social Services and NGO Administration
  • Join the CIPUSA alumni forum 
At the beginning of each program, newly arrived participants will receive an orientation on life in the U.S., their local communities, and specific information on the program itself. CIPUSA staff will be available to assist you throughout the program. CIPUSA staff will also touch base with you weekly to see how your program is progressing. There will be a closing ceremony at the end of the program during which each participant will receive a certificate of completion and an opportunity to formally say farewell to all involved. 




Each program includes (click to learn more):

Professional Training

Participants will be placed at a training site in their desired field of training for 32 hours a week (approximately 4 days a week). While there, the participant will be able to observe, network, and learn through various activities or projects the participant will take part in.

Research Project

Participants will research a topic related to their professional field. Each participant will come to the U.S. with a research project and use their time in the U.S. to think about, expand, and learn how to apply it back home. At the end of the program participants, will share their research and discoveries to CIPUSA and their training site in the U.S, and have the opportunity to share with your organization back home. Each project will be added to the CIPUSA Alumni website page. Projects can range in creativity, from a typical typed paper to a photo collage.  Guidelines for the project will be given to the participant prior to their arrival to the U.S.  CIPUSA staff will meet with you throughout your program to ensure the project is moving forward.

Cultural / Educational Activities

Participants will engage in local cultural and educational activities. CIPUSA will arrange two activities during the program but we expect participants during their free time to explore their host city on their own.


This is an important component of the program as it is embedded in American culture and believed to be the way for individuals to “make a difference” in their communities and around the world. Volunteering is highly valued and is considered one of the top activities outside of school and work life for individuals, families and social and professional groups. CIPUSA will provide participants with a list of volunteer activities and will arrange the volunteer activity you choose. CIPUSA expects participants to volunteer in one activity during the program. Local volunteer activities with community members can include cooking and serving meals to homeless teens, making arts and crafts with residents of a nursing home, community revitalization, etc.

Lunch Box and Brown Bag Series

Participants will visit with a school (K-12) to have an informal lunch and have open and friendly exchange of cultural knowledge. CIPUSA would like to provide communities, especially school-age children, the opportunity to meet, engage and learn about our participants from around the world. For this program, CIPUSA will provide lunch to a classroom and a setting where kids can feel open to ask questions about a “typical school day” or “how life is like in your country.” The goal is to have an exchange of knowledge that benefits the local community as well as the international participants. In addition, participants will arrange an informal lunch with their colleagues to have an open and friendly exchange of cultural and professional knowledge with employees from their trianing site. CIPUSA would like to provide the training site an opportunity to openly learn about the participant and hi/her home country. For this program, CIPUSA will provide lunch to the training site in an informal setting where professionals can feel open to an exchange of knowledge that benefits the employees of the training site, as well as the international participants.

Host Family Living

Participants will live with host families during their six weeks. Some participants may live with two families. Participants will be provided a private room, shared bath, and breakfast and dinners.  Participants should expect to pay for their own lunches. Host family living is a hallmark of the CIPUSA program. CIPUSA truly believes that this is where the true understanding of one another takes place. Living in a “typical” American home and engaging with your family on their daily activities will allow for a greater understanding of each other. Host families volunteer to do this because they want a chance to meet someone new, want to learn about life and customs of another country, and are open-minded to the idea of sharing their home with someone. CIPUSA expects participants to engage and interact with their host families. Many times the relationships that are made during a hosting experience are so great they last a lifetime and span generations of family members.


Each participant will have opportunities to network with U.S. colleagues and international colleagues that are on their program. Participants will also have opportunities to meet with people from the local community. Various opportunities will be provided by CIPUSA, however it is up to the individuals to assert themselves.

Alumni Forum

After completion of the program each participant will be able to join the CIPUSA alumni network via our private alumni website page. Here alumni can network, share recent accomplishments, ask questions and participate in ongoing educational online opportunities.


Participants will complete various evaluations to provide us the essential feedback we need to continue these programs.




CIPUSA will provide the best program to our ability and expect the participants who join the program to understand our expectations and commit to the program.

CIPUSA will provide:

  • Visa support
  • Well designed training program
  • Orientation to the U.S., local community, program
  • Two cultural/educational activities
  • Arrange a volunteering activity
  • Research project resource guide
  • Host Family Living
  • Local transportation in form of a bus pass
  • Farewell ceremony
  • Certificate of Completion 

Participants will:

  • Have an open-minded attitude
  • Engage in host family living
  • Complete a research project and present at the end of the program
  • Volunteer at an arranged activity
  • Join the CIPUSA Alumni forum
  • Complete required evaluations
  • Share their experience with CIPUSA though an article for the newsletter, blog or picture story
  • Be a Program Ambassador and help CIPUSA by sharing their experiences with their colleagues and help us with recruitment or establishing their own alumni group back home
  • Not travel outside of their hosting city during the six-week program. If a participant in interested in traveling, they are asked to do so BEFORE or AFTER the six-week program. Please inform CIPUSA if you plan on traveling, as this will affect the dates on your visa.
  • Not have family or friends visit during the six-week program. Time for visits can be arranged BEFORE or AFTER the program. Please inform CIPUSA if you are expecting visitors.


CIPUSA is responsible for:

  • A training experience based on your application
  • Room and Board through host family living
  • Opportunities to participate in cultural/educational activities
  • Volunteer activity
  • Providing guidance on research project

International Participant is responsible for:

  • Program fee of $1,200 to be paid by March 15th. Please click HERE to download a form to pay by credit card.
  • Any additional fees you may have to pay at the U.S. Embassy or SEVIS fees
  • Airfare to and from the U.S. hosting city from their home country
  • Health Insurance (please provide a copy of purchased health coverage)
  • Lunches and some other meals
  • Any additional expenses (spending money, general living expenses, extra curricular activities)

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