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Made in Southeast Missouri: Cenet: Cultural Exchange Network

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Fostering cultural understanding: it’s important work.

That’s just what Cenet: Cultural Exchange Network does. The nonprofit based in Cape Girardeau administers four in-bound international exchange programs, bringing approximately 2,000 young people to the United States each year. Not only does Cenet have international reach, they also impact economies across the United States, matching students with seasonal jobs in Branson, Missouri, and camp counselor positions across the U.S. They also pair recent college graduates and people with one to five years of workforce experience in intern and trainee business marketing and management positions in New York City, hospitality positions in Florida and southern California, and IT positions in San Francisco.

In addition to these work programs, Cenet created the Magellan Exchange, a university exchange consortium of 36 universities worldwide, five of which are in Missouri. And in late September, they announced a Cultural Classroom program that will fund travel for teachers from Southeast Missouri to the Dominican Republic, so they can bring their experiences back to students.

It’s this kind of practical understanding that Cenet believes is important to offer to all young people, to bolster their employability in a competitive market.

“We’re democratizing international exchange, opening it up,” Robyn Walker, Cenet executive director, says. “You have to have a good resume and be driven to do these programs, but you don’t have to be the top of your class, and you don’t have to be wealthy.”