Since 1970, the West Virginia Council of International Programs (CIP) has coordinated a unique exchange program for professionals in the human services from around the world. West Virginia CIP, in collaboration with West Virginia University, provides an exchange experience that enhances professional skills, improves cross-cultural communications, and provides insights into American life and society.
Our exchange program is four months in duration, beginning in mid-August and concluding in late November. Evaluations are conducted halfway through the program and upon departure.
The program blends six components into the four-month placement for each international professional.
- Agency Placement and Professional Internship
- Academic Courses and Seminars
- Immersion in American Society and Culture
- Retreat and Orientation
- International Presentations
- Weekly Meetings
Agency Placement and Professional Internship
Participants engage in a professional practicum at designated agencies or academic departments for training and work related experiences in the following areas: education, health care and administration, mental health, social work, physical therapy, industrial and labor management, engineering, public administration, human resources, community and economic development, transportation and urban planning, environmental protection, law, agriculture, business, and communications.
CIP believes that mid-career professionals learn best by doing, especially across culture and language barriers. Performing real tasks with new colleagues in their work environment creates insight and mastery of problem solving skills. Interns may work along with American counterparts, carry out special assignments, handle a representative set of cases, and/or design a project for transfer and utilization back home. CIP promotes and supports long-term, substantive linkages between its alumni and host agencies.
Academic Courses and Seminars
Opportunities exist to enhance practical learning by auditing one or two university courses related to practicum assignment and professional occupation.
Immersion in American Society and Culture
Each CIP Professional lives with three or four American families during his or her stay in West Virginia. Host-family living provides individuals unique insights into American society and culture. It also personalizes the experience and builds lifelong friendships.
Retreat and Orientation
Upon arrival, participants begin the first part of our orientation program with a three-day retreat. This is a time for recreation, cooking, eating, talking, and learning about the CIP program and about each other. The second half of the orientation program consists of a ten-day seminar planned around these general topics:
1. US educational system
2. US health system, special services, and social work
3. US legal and economic systems
4. Morgantown, WV and vicinity—community, environment,
Participants provide international educational presentations on human service themes determined during the program to the Morgantown and West Virginia University communities.
Weekly Meetings Participants
The CIP Professionals come together weekly to discuss their own countries and other topics of general interest. Depending on financial ability, they may also travel together to points of interest in West Virginia, bordering states, and to Canada.