BridgeUSA Leadership Conference
Exchange students from around the world pose in front of the Washington Monument

Alex from Mexico/MN reports (center, hoodie)

It was incredible to be selected for the BridgeUSA Leadership Development Program, a program sponsored by the Department of State, and it was an incredible trip to Washington, D.C.

Before coming to the USA, I received an email asking if I wanted to participate in BridgeUSA. I sent a video application, and three weeks later I received an email and a letter that said, “Congratulations Alex! You were selected to participate in the BridgeUSA Leadership Development Program.”

I was very happy. I was very nervous at first when sending my video, because I thought that maybe I would not be selected. The process was somewhat difficult since they only chose a certain number of students to be finalists in this program.

I met new people from different parts of the world: Italy, Germany, Belgium, France, China, Japan, Poland, Norway, and Spain. I made many new friends that I will never forget, and we are even planning when we can see each other again.

It was fun to be part of the BridgeUSA Leadership Development Program. We arrived in Washington, D.C., then went to the hotel, had a nice welcome, I met the other students, and we had a very fun welcome dinner!! 

Only one other girl was selected from Minnesota, and I was the only one from my town.

It was raining but I said, “I’m all wet, but I’m in Washington!”

The next day we woke up early to visit the Department of State where we discussed leadership. Then we went on a tour of Washington, D.C. We visited the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Memorial, the White House, and War Memorials. It was raining but I said, “I’m all wet, but I’m in Washington!”

The next day, we did team activities and games, and it was sad because it was our last day together. In our free time, we all went outside to some bonfires, and we sat there talking and laughing. We fell asleep late, but it was worth it.

Being selected for this program has been the best experience I have had during my stay here in the USA. I am very happy to have been a finalist and to have participated in the BridgeUSA Leadership Development Program 2023. By being part of the program, we became students of the program. We now have access to a community on LinkedIn with students from past years, and all this counts as a great experience!!

—Alex (Mexico), hosted by the Thrippleton family (MN)