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CCIP J-1 Interns race in the 27th Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York
The Cross Cultural Internship Program (CCIP)
Internship in New York City

Pub Date: Sat, Aug 12, 2017
BY Joseph Fonseca (FUSIA) | Sat, Aug 12, 2017 EST

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Ready, set, row!

The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York (www.hkdbf-ny.org) is one of the largest dragon boat festivals in the US, an annual sporting and multicultural event held every August on Meadow Lake in Flushing. The festival hosts over 120 dragon boat teams from across North America and provides visitors with traditional Chinese foods and performances.

This year, the Festival celebrated its 27th anniversary with an opening day parade at noon on Saturday, August 12, and the US Dragon Boat Open Championship Race on Sunday, August 13.

Sixteen CCIP J-1 Interns (all exchange visitors from Asia) attended the races and enjoyed the festivities. They wore their team t-shirt featuring the slogan "We're all in the same boat," symbolizing how cultural diversity and cooperation are needed to achieve the great things that the program inspires.

On the water, the interns competed in four of the dragon boat races, including the Saturday Heritage Open 250M, Sunday Educational 250M, Sponsor Challenge 250M, and Media 250M. The paddlers showed their morale and determination in the dragon boat races, inspired by the cheers of their peers.

Team captain Fernando Garcia Albero, a student from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said, "We worked hard to demonstrate teamwork and our commitment. We wanted to show that CCIP participants are team-oriented and full of can-do energy." The team made a strong showing despite their inexperience. "We had to come together quickly as a team to learn how to work as if we had trained together for years," he added.

"Teamwork makes the dream work," echoed Cathy Li from the Macau University of Science and Technology. "Dragon boat is no easy task, but the fact that it was hard only made the whole festival more memorable. We started with zero experience and successfully completed the races."

Back on dry land, other CCIP students volunteered at the festival booths to meet visitors and interact with local children.

Student leaders crafted and distributed colorful balloon flowers and other inflated icons which attracted hundreds of kids. The students had a lot of fun handcrafting and distributing balloon bracelets, taking photos with the kids, learning more about the local culture, and teaching kids how to make their own balloon art.

"We thought a long time about what to include in our booth," said Hayley Chau, the booth manager and a student from The University of Hong Kong. "We thought colorful balloon art was the best way to represent our spirit and this festive day. Seeing all those smiling faces on every kid told me we made the right choice."

"This was my first time doing balloon art and I absolutely loved it," exclaimed Carrie Chau, a student from City University of Hong Kong, who showed off her balloon "masterpiece." "I had so much fun interacting with the kids while enjoying the atmosphere of such a multi-cultural activity."

At the festival's end on Sunday, the students had dinner together to celebrate their hard work and volunteer efforts over the weekend. In a short time, they will be returning back to their homes and universities to share what they've learned here in New York.


ABOUT:

The Cross Cultural Internship Program (CCIP) is a cultural exchange internship program that takes place in New York City every year. It is dedicated to fostering mutually beneficial East-West cultural exchange, targeting exchange visitors from Asia and the Pacific region.

CCIP provides exchange visitors and host organizations the opportunity to exchange insights, ideas, and experiences. Through the program, participants acquire practical knowledge and cultural experiences, and host organizations connect with the international community and stay abreast of trends in the global marketplace.

CCIP is organized by FUSIA Communications, one of the approximately 98 J-1 intern designated visa sponsors in the nation. FUSIA is responsible for the selection of interns as well as supporting and monitoring theĀ¬m during the program.

CCIP is a structured, full-placement internship program. Since 2008, CCIP has provided internship opportunities to over 850 exchange visitors. In 2015, 71 students were selected out of 1050 applicants. They were matched to 20-plus host organizations of diverse disciplines including government district offices, law firms, publishing houses, media firms, advertising agencies, real estate agencies, and more.


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