THE OF A LIFETIME
U.S. NAVAL SEA CADET CORPS FOCUS ON: INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE PROGRAM
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Bermuda Photos Courtesy of TS Admiral Somers, St. Georgeâ€™s, Bermuda
Join us on a trip around the world.
FOCUS ON: INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE PROGRAM The International Exchange Program (IEP) continues to be a place where Sea Cadets can experience the world by meeting and working with their peers from 19 other countries. Viewing the world from a unique perspective sheds light on why things happen in the world. There are three advantages of participating in an international exchange. The first is educational. International learning propels cadets towards understanding and acceptance of different cultural perspectives. Cadets get an enhanced interest in global issues and some have even picked international studies as a major in college. The second is personal. The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps is well known for enhancing confidence and self-esteem. When you add the international experience of the IEP to the mix you get the benefits of making lifelong international friends, the ability to accept others for who they are and a tremendous sense of accomplishment in developing independent opinions that weren’t present before. The third are the long-term benefits. These include the ability to react better when placed in environments that aren’t familiar. Prospective employers in every field look well upon those who have overseas experience. Working in the IEP can be stressful and when pressured to communicate and relate to others it stretches one’s skill set in a way that can be used throughout life. Those who attend an international exchange find it easier to reach compromise and succeed in challenging times. Because the IEP is geared specifically to Sea Cadets, we know the best way to support their adventures abroad. Our experienced team of officers are experts and are committed to delivering the best adventure possible whether it is in the United States at our own exchange or other points on the globe. 2015 was a great year for the IEP. Cadets from all over the country went to seven different exchanges. Because of our membership in the International Sea Cadet Association, we were prepared to deliver the safest and most meaningful experiences. This year also marked the first time in history we conducted the International Officer Leadership Academy in Hartford, Connecticut (above photo). This weekend training brought all outbound international officers together in a learning environment. Officers learned everything from traveling safe to participating in work groups to solve problems associated with international travel. We work hard in the IEP. There are many details that most people don’t consider and our IEP team gets them all done. They work year round and their primary interest is giving the cadets the adventure of a lifetime. Because of this I want to thank all those who assisted this year. Without you, we wouldn’t have this program. And without this program the world would be a very small place.
LCDR Michael L. Campbell, NSCC Director, International Exchange Program U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps
of a Lifetime
UNITED STATES WHERE: Newport, Rhode Island, U.S. WHEN: June 21 – July 6, 2015 STAFF OFFICERS: LCDR Michael Campbell, LCDR Jennifer Weggen, LCDR George Dimock, CDR Duncan Rowles, USNR (Ret), MIDN Andrea Coutoulakis, WO David Kerwood, LT Dolly Stevens, LT Bruce Stump STAFF CADETS: PO2 Isabella Cioffi, PO2 Vivian Dees, CPO Zachary Lee, PO1 Tamera Riffle, CPO Riley Regul
Cadets tour U.S. Coast Guard Station New London.
Every year, we host cadets from around the world at the Naval Education Training Command in Newport, Rhode Island. This summer Sea Cadets from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom traveled to the United States where they met our U.S. staff officers and cadets for a full two weeks of adventure and travel around the region. The group was billeted at the Naval Academy Preparatory School. Highlights from our time in Newport:
Drove 688-class trainers at the submarine base in New London Toured Boston in an amphibious vehicle known as “The Duck” LCDR Michael Campbell, NSCC, Commanding Officer of the U.S. Exchange and Director of the IEP shares a restful moment with the International Command Duty Officer for the day, ENS Sonia Porter of New Zealand outside of Ripley Hall at the Naval Academy Preparatory School.
Traveled to New York City and Newport where we learned how to budget our money while shopping for family and friends The 2015 U.S. Exchange staff in Times Square in the heart of New York City. From left to right: LCDR George Dimock, MIDN Andrea Coutoulakis, PO2 Vivian Dees, CPO Riley Regul, PO1 Tamera Riffle, PO3 Isabella Cioffi, CPO Zachary Lee, LCDR Jennifer Weggen, LT Dolly Stevens, LCDR Michael Campbell and CDR Duncan M. Rowles, Jr., USNR (Ret)
I never thought that staffing the inbound International Exchange Program would be as rewarding as it was. I knew it would be a great experience, but I didn’t know that I would make friends with cadets from across the globe. My favorite experience from staffing the IEP was the arrival of our international guests. We spent days scrubbing, sweeping, waxing, and dusting every inch of Ripley Hall so our guests would feel comfortable during their stay in the U.S. I was excited to welcome our guests, but I was not prepared for the flood of other emotions: “Did we make their beds nicely? Do we ask them about their trip? Does every room have hand soap? Do we look presentable? Should we shake their hand, or just say “hello”? What language do they speak? Do you know how to say “hello” in Swedish? I really hope they enjoy what we have planned for them!” I was both thrilled and apprehensive when the South African cadets arrived after a nearly 23-hour journey. We carried their bags and escorted them to their rooms, happily chattering about this, that, and the other thing. The other staff cadets and I talked with our first guests for a long time and learned so many new things from them. There are a few things that I will never forget about my IEP experience. Of course I keep in touch with my international friends, but I will never forget the way their eyes lit up in Times Square, or the look of pure awe they had when they gazed down upon one of the most iconic cities in the world from the top of the Rockefeller Center. It was moments like these that made me proud to be a sea cadet and incredibly proud to be an American. The whole training ran like a well-oiled machine, with all of the parts falling into place. This can be attributed to our fantastic leadership through the tireless efforts of LCDR Campbell and many others. I can say with complete confidence that the inbound International Exchange Program 2015 has changed my life. If I were given the privilege and the honor to staff the training again next year, I would do it in a heartbeat. – PO2 Vivian Dees, NSCC Staff Cadet, International Exchange Program – United States
of a Lifetime
Our Staff Cadet Team Jessica France, United Kingdom: All U.S. cadets represented their country with honour as they carried out all tasks to a high level and never took their eye off of the ball. You should be very proud of them.
From left to right: CPO Riley Regul, CPO Zachary Lee, PO2 Vivian Dees, PO2 Isabella Cioffi, PO1 Tamera Riffle
Our Top Moments 01
New York City and Wicked on Broadway PO2 Vivian Dees, United States: Wicked was my favorite part of the whole trip and possibly my whole life.
Kayaking Jessica France, United Kingdom: One of my favourite days as we really bonded as a team.
Submarine Force Library and Museum
What is the number one thing you learned? “Even though countries abroad may seem very different, they actually have a lot more in common with us than we think. This applies to people too.” – PO1 Tamera Rifﬂe, NSCC International staff officers snap a photo before traveling to U.S. Coast Guard Station New London in Connecticut.
A few years ago I got an unexpected call from LCDR Michael Campbell, the Director of our International Exchange Program (IEP). The IEP is considered the “brass ring”, the pinnacle of our Sea Cadet training program, so right away I knew this was going to be something important. As luck would have it, he was looking for an Operations Officer and had heard through the grapevine that I might be a good candidate. That call changed my life. Over the years, LCDR Campbell, along with his deputy, CDR Duncan Rowles, taught me so much about running a globally-oriented organization. Playing a gracious hostess to our guests takes a lot more than just smiling and offering a place to stay. It takes a great balance of organization, planning, attention to detail, patience and cultural awareness — and hours of work. From the day one exchange ends, we plan and coordinate the next year’s program. Each year we put together a well-qualified group of officers and cadets from around the country to host incoming international guests. The officers chosen to be a part our staff have decades of experience in the Sea Cadets, and come from all walks of life. Despite our varied backgrounds, we all strive to make a difference in the lives of each of the cadets by changing the way they see themselves and their place in the world. We hand select the U.S. cadets from among the finest that the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps has to offer. As youth ambassadors, they understand the significance of their roles, and work to ensure that our guests return home with a better understanding and appreciation of the United States and its people. The friendships we develop through personal interaction and common experiences teach all of us just how small the world really is, and how we share more similarities than differences. Although we may never get the opportunity to travel to their home countries, through inbound U.S. Exchange Program our cadets and officers are able to gain an appreciation of our guests’ societies, values, customs and traditions. It is through cultural exchanges such as ours that we are able to make a positive global impact by breaking down barriers built by ignorance and misinformation. Serving on the International Exchange Program staff and providing once-in-a-lifetime experiences to our international guests has humbled me in many ways, and has changed me for the better. Seeing the United States through the eyes of young people gives me a deeper appreciation for the little things I take for granted every day. My world view is broadened, my appreciation for the cultural diversity is greater, and my optimism for the future is brighter. I am grateful to the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets for allowing me to be a part of this extraordinary program, and enthusiastically invite others to share in this invaluable opportunity. LCDR Jennifer Weggen, NSCC Operations Officer, International Exchange Program U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps
of a Lifetime
WHERE: In and around Sydney, New South Wales and Canberra, Australia WHEN: April 12 – April 26, 2015 ESCORT OFFICER: LCDR Jennifer Weggen CADETS: CPO Tracy Robinson, CPO Paul Treacy Treacy, Weggen and Robinson stand in front of the Sydney Opera House on a windy day.
CPO Robinson: I was able to take part in so many new activities that it would be nearly impossible to list them all! A few of my favorites, however, were towing a submarine, body-boarding at Manly Beach, and taking a boat ride to TS Sydney. The craziest thing I ate during the two weeks was grilled kangaroo. Honestly, I didn’t like it, but I’m so glad that I had the chance to give it a try!
Highlights from our time in Australia:
CPO Treacy: The main event that all the international cadets participated in was the Anzac Day parade, which was an absolutely incredible experience... Marching in the Anzac Day parade was by far my favorite part of the trip.
Tried new foods Experienced a cyclonic super storm Hugged a koala Marched in the Anzac Day Parade
Treacy and Robinson had the honor of marching in the Anzac Parade, which commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who sacrificed and served in wars, conflicts and peace-keeping operations.
Was there anything that surprised you about Australia? LCDR Weggen: Probably what surprised me the most was the crazy weather! During the second week, we were hit by a cyclonic super storm lasting more than three days. I had never seen so much rain for so long! Then, on the last day, we got a hail storm that blanketed the streets of Sydney like snow. But somehow, despite the chaotic weather, our hosts made us feel safe and still pretty much kept to the scheduled program. CPO Robinson: Honestly, the amount of greenery and farmland really surprised me, since I had always thought of Australia as a really dry place. Another thing that surprised me was how different the “ordinary” things like food were. When we went to the grocery store, I hardly knew what any of the food was! Robinson and Weggen pose with a new friend.
CPO Treacy: The landscape in Australia is totally different from North America. I was surprised to learn how many poisonous and venomous creatures live in Australia.
What was it like hanging out with Sea Cadets from all over the world? LCDR Weggen: Because we all spoke English as a first language, we didn’t have difficulty communicating. It was fun to learn new phrases and slang. I truly enjoyed the company of the adult leaders and feel I have made lifelong friends. We have so many similarities, but we could learn a lot from each other. CPO Robinson: Hanging out with the other Sea Cadets was one of the brightest highlights of my trip! It was fantastic learning about their different countries, but it was also fascinating just listening to them talk and deciphering their accents! One cadet from Liverpool was unanimously voted as “cadet with the best accent,” and it took almost everyone the full two weeks to understand what he was trying to say. CPO Treacy: The Australian trip for me was the experience of a lifetime. I lived, I laughed, I cried, I learned life lessons with my international friends and, for the rest of my life, I will continue to carry the memories of my adventure in “the Land Down Under.” International cadets take a selfie at the Anzac Day parade.
Closing Remarks Treacy, Robinson and Weggen visit the Royal Australian Navy Diving School.
of a Lifetime
CPO Robinson: When we boarded our planes for home, we carried more than just luggage. After our incredible two weeks in Australia, we carried new life experiences, knowledge of other cultures, and memories that would last for the rest of our lives. But most of all, we carried away a new family. From five separate countries and cultures, we had become one inseparable unit — bonded together by the experiences we shared during our trip to Australia: truly, the Adventure of a Lifetime.
Strickland swims with personnel from the United Kingdom and Canada in the beautiful Bermuda water at John Smith’s Bay Beach.
WHERE: St. George’s, Bermuda WHEN: July 2 – July 12, 2015 ESCORT OFFICER: LCDR Lisa Strickland CADETS: CPO Cameron Brewer, PO2 Hanh-Bao Phan
Phan and Brewer stand in front of the Government House, the official residence of the Governor of Bermuda.
Highlights from our time in Bermuda: Jet-skied Visited the Institute of Ocean Sciences — their research vessel was so interesting Found the only fast food restaurant in Bermuda Made new friends
Phan and two Canadian cadets aboard USCG Barque Eagle.
Were you surprised when you found out you were going to Bermuda? PO2 Phan: I was absolutely ecstatic. Being that I am a petty officer third class, I thought that I would be an underdog in the application process. After accepting the invitation, it was clear that you never know what will happen when you take a chance.
Before the trip, what were you looking forward to the most? LCDR Strickland: Meeting the officers and cadets... and learning about the history and culture of the host country. CPO Brewer: I had three things I wanted to see: the Crystal Caves, the pink sand beaches and the only fast food restaurant on the island — KFC. I got to see all three and even took a picture with the cashier at KFC. She thought we were crazy when we asked.
What was the craziest new food you tried? CPO Brewer: Macaroni and cheese with tomatoes in it! PO2 Phan: Fish chowder. LCDR Strickland: Wahoo taco. International cadets at Fort St. Catherine, which was originally built in 1614 in St. George, Bermuda.
What was it like hanging out with Sea Cadets from all over the world? How was the language barrier? Any good stories about trying to comunicate? PO2 Phan: It was so much fun! There was a language barrier, but everyone understood the challenges faced by other people so we accomodated each other. CPO Brewer: This was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I loved listening to how other units function, what activities they do and how they promote. I brought up to the U.K. cadets that I was going to make biscuits and gravy and they freaked out because English biscuits are like crackers.
The escort officers pose in front of the Government House.
Closing Remarks PO2 Phan: We are the cream of the crop. You are going to meet other people who will become great leaders of other great nations. Let the relationships you foster on the international exchange be an example of the global, united relationships we will have in the future. Brewer and Phan at John Smith’s Bay Beach.
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CPO Brewer: Always keep an open mind. Your way of doing things isn’t always the right way. Always keep asking questions. Never stay content with what you know — strive for better.
U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, along with cadets from Australia, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Sweden, marching onto the grounds of the Victoria Legislature Building for the annual Ceremony of the Flags. International Sea Cadets were part of the two guard companies performing a close order drill performance, including a saluting volley.
WHERE: HMCS Quadra, Comox, British Columbia, Canada WHEN: July 2 â€“ July 12, 2015 ESCORT OFFICER: LCDR Rodel Agpaoa CADETS: CPO Daniel Browne, PO2 Stephen Dante, PO3 Jerverous Johnson, PO2 Lucas LaFave, PO1 Peter Nguyen, PO1 Seth Thompson, CPO Connor Wheatley
Highlights from our time in Canada: Experienced a major adrenaline rush on a zipline adventure course Marched in the Ceremony of Flags Learned Canadian drill practices
What types of activities did you participate in? LCDR Agpaoa: There were a lot of physical activities such as the obstacle course, the ropes course (Wild Play/Monkido Aerial Adventure), boating, sailing. We had a day at their air rifle range and had a marksmanship competition. My favorites were going sailing and boating and being able to go out and take a relaxing or fast trip on the waves and enjoy the scenery. There were also some Quadra staff officer versus cadet activities like the kickball game. That was fun to go and play too as I was able to engage with the Canadian officers and cadets in a manner different from working in uniform.
Top row: PO2 Lucas LaFave, CPO Connor Wheatley, PO1 Seth Thompson. Middle row: PO2 Stephen Dante, PO1 Peter Nguyen, PO3 Jerverous Johnson, CPO Daniel Browne. Front row: LCDR Rodel Agpaoa, LCdr Steven Cowan, PO Katherine McWilliams
PO2 Dante: I got the chance to participate in many activities, such as learning Canadian drill, doing the obstacle course and jetty jump, shooting, team building, sports, on the job training, and so much more. My favorite activity would probably have to have been the Ceremony of the Flags, which is a big annual parade that HMCS Quadra has the chance to participate in every year. It was held on the Saturday before we left at the Parliament building in front of roughly 10,000 people. It was one of the most memorable moments of my Sea Cadet career.
Was there anything that surprised you about Canada? PO3 Johnson: The only thing that surprised me about Canada was that they don’t say “aye” after everything like I thought they would. The craziest food I had in Canada was ketchup chips. PO2 LaFave: The craziest food I had was probably poutine. If you do not know what poutine is, you are defiantly missing out. It is french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds, it is to die for. No lie. PO1 Nguyen: I was extremely surprised at how their Sea Cadet program works so closely with the Department of National Defense in terms of resources allocated Nguyen, Dante, LaFave, Johnson, Browne and Wheatley on the Confidence Course, a series of and training opportunities afforded to the obstacles built to challenge each division of cadets as they ran the course. Course instructors cadets. They even go so far as to pay encouraged team-building skills and strategies to enhance teamwork and develop mutual professional trust among the cadets. Every cadet who passes through HMCS Quadra runs the cadets who are undergoing training, and Confidence Course, linking the former cadets with the present, and all future generations of requiring officers to receive actual comHMCS Quadra course attendees. missions into the Canadian Forces! My favorite part of the trip was the two weeks spent at HMCS Quadra. Don’t get me wrong, shopping in Victoria and ziplining in Nanaimo was extremely fun, but the purpose of our trip was to meet and train with cadets from all around the world. I treasure the moments where I’d be walking around on base and have a Canadian cadet racing to take a selfie with me or having one on one conversations with them or sweating profusely alongside them during parade! It was these types of moments that built friendships and memories that are sure to last a lifetime. Craziest new food? Poutine. They are basically French Fries covered in cheese curds and doused in gravy. You bet I pigged out on those, and I have no regrets! Poutine is definitely not an everyday meal, and the health-conscious should steer clear!
What was it like hanging out with Sea Cadets from all over the world? CPO Browne: It was surprisingly normal hanging out with kids from the other countries. Just average kids from different places. PO1 Thompson: I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet cadets from all around the world. It very interesting to learn about their country and their Sea Cadet Corps, and it was fun teaching them about America and our Sea Cadet Corps. The only country that did not speak English as a first language was the Hong Kong Cadets, and they knew a fair amount of English, so the language barrier was never really much of a struggle. The first night my roommate was Brian from Hong Kong, so I became friends with the three others from Hong Kong as well, and I made an effort to make sure that they felt included with everyone else from the group. Sometimes there was a language barrier that made things difficult. I just had to learn to talk slower and enunciate my words more clearly. Browne teaches Swedish cadet Julia Albinsson a special handshake that they would do every day for the rest of the exchange. The last special handshake was on the morning that the U.S. departed. As the American cadets were the first group to leave, most of the cadets woke up very early or never went to sleep in order to see them off at 0430.
of a Lifetime
Closing Remarks CPO Wheatley: Work hard. That’s really the key to anything. I have invested many hours into this program and when you put in the time, good things come in return. If you want to go on an international training just make sure you do your coursework, go to trainings and just give this program your best effort.
WHERE: In and around Hong Kong, China WHEN: August 2 – August 10, 2015 ESCORT OFFICER: LCDR Pamela Silver CADET: CPO Frederick LaCombe
LaCombe enjoys a meal during his exchange to Hong Kong.
Highlights from our time in Hong Kong: Tried the delicacy of chicken feet Visited “Big Buddha” Watched sunset and kayak regattas LaCombe, Captain Ernest Chan, Silver and CDR Sam Lau pause for a photo during a gift presentation.
Before the trip, what were you most excited about? CPO LaCombe: Kung fu or some kind of martial arts training — and the Big Buddha. LCDR Silver: I was looking forward to experiencing the culture and the food. I was also looking forward to meeting the individuals from the other countries and learning how they offer NSCC-equivalent programs in their own countries.
What types of activities did you participate in? LCDR Silver: I participated in all of the activities. I personally enjoyed sailing on “Lady Cat” through the bay and watching the sunset regatta and kayak regatta of our cadets. CPO LaCombe: A great variety: boating, kayaking, swimming, shopping, eating, sightseeing and having a generally good time. My favorites were the cultural activities and sightseeing.
What was the craziest new food you tried? CPO LaCombe: Chicken lung attached to the spine. It was my first time trying lung and it was delicious. LCDR Silver: Chicken feet. LaCombe receives accolades for his military bearing and precision during jiu-jitsu training.
What was it like hanging out with Sea Cadets from all over the world? How was the language barrier? Any good stories about trying to comunicate? CPO LaCombe: It was interesting. I was asked many questions about how I lead my cadets and unit. The language barrier was not as large as I thought it would be; we could communicate with a strange combination of English, Cantonese, sign language and facial expressions.
Cadets from Hong Kong, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore and South Korea visit Tian Tan Buddha, or Big Buddha.
Closing Remarks CPO LaCombe: Jump in and experience everything that is offered! Itâ€™s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so donâ€™t waste it by sticking with what you know! LaCombe is all smiles as he is briefed on the events of the day.
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CPO Khuat: We participated in a few Japan Sea Cadet Federation activities such as rowing. We did a lot of sightseeing and touring museums. My favorite was watching the Japanese Sea Cadet activities. It was interesting how they dressed, their command structure and how competitive the Japanese units were. I also enjoyed being a part of the cutter boat races even though we lost.
WHERE: In and around Tokyo, Japan WHEN: July 31– August 13, 2015 ESCORT OFFICER: LCDR Todd Dunn CADETS: CPO Dominick Khuat, PO2 Tatianna Capko
Highlights from our time in Japan: Raced cutter boats Tried new, interesting foods Visited a maritime university where they worked on problems dealing with marine fisheries. “They were trying to figure out a way to make it so mackerel could give birth to blue fin tuna. During the testing phase they figured out a way to make salmon give birth to baby trout. The NSCC is really encouraging STEM and this stuff and the tour of the facilities was utterly fascinating to me.” (Dunn)
LCDR Dunn: I had been to Japan in 1984 during a portof-call visit while I was in the Navy. I’ve always wanted to go back. The kindness of the people, the food, the uniqueness of the culture were always calling me back. I just wanted more of the same.
International cadets standing in front of Training Ship Nippon Maru wearing Pokemon hats from a local convention.
Was there anything that surprised you about Japan? LCDR Dunn: I was impressed by how the Japanese worked so hard to give us a meaningful and memorable experience. From an officer’s perspective, I enjoyed seeing how they pulled the program together for us. CPO Khuat: I was very surprised at the fact that Tokyo has a small amount of trashcans yet they maintain the city very well. It was very clean. My favorite part of the trip had to be trying different types of foods. The craziest food I tried there was probably rice with raw tuna in a sauce with a soft boiled egg. It tasted very fishy and unique, but it was kind of good. PO2 Capko: Although Chief Khuat and I had prepared ourselves for Japanese culture by doing all of our mini and major assignments, I never realized how respectful, neat, and clean the Japanese people would be. Those aspects of the culture surprised me because they are so different from American culture. In Japan, everyone obeyed the traffic lights, there was no litter on the street (despite the fact that there were no trash cans), cashiers handed you your purchase with both hands, and people were silent on the subway. It is such a mindful society. I enjoyed getting to experience that for two weeks. Khuat eating spicy noodles at a traditional noodle shop in Shinjuku Station near Tokyo.
What was it like hanging out with Sea Cadets from all over the world? How was the language barrier? PO2 Capko: It was interesting (and a little freaky) to discover how much some cadets knew about American culture already, through media, especially television shows and Capko, Dunn and Khuat on a YouTube. Occasionally, I would butt heads with cadets from other countries over small cloudy day at a base camp on cultural differences, but it always turned out to be okay. Even though we were all from different countries, it was crazy to find out how similar some of us were. We knew the same viral songs and dances and that was pretty cool. I also got better at non-verbal communication. Lots of smiling and gestures were used when language wasn’t a reliable form of communication. I probably had the most trouble understanding a female cadet from Newcastle in Northern England because her accent was so strong. Her name was Tyler, but when she introduced herself, I thought her name was “Ty-la” because of her accent. I called her “Ty-la” for about a day until I saw her name tag. She must’ve thought I was just saying her name with a really bad English accent until then...
U.S. cadets standing with a Kendo Master after he demonstrated — and taught them — Kendo sword fighting basics.
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PO2 Capko: If you wish to participate in the International Exchange Program, make sure you keep an open mind. Don’t immediately judge something just because it’s different. In order to immerse yourself in new culture, you need to be willing to try new foods and new customs, and you need to accept cultural differences that may make you feel uncomfortable at first. You must be willing to delve into the culture surrounding the country you hope to visit before you go. When you are prepared, people might respect you a little more instead of regarding you as a dumb foreigner. Sometimes you need to lean into discomfort when trying new things. Also, get involved! Whether it be in your community or in your school, on a sports team, wherever. You need to stand out to the committee of the IEP in some way in order to be chosen. Rank up when eligible, work hard in everything you do, and you might get chosen for the adventure of a lifetime!
WHERE: In and around Karlskrona, Sweden WHEN: June 30 â€“ July 11, 2015 ESCORT OFFICER: LCDR Jay Meisner CADETS: PO2 David Almeida, CPO Kimberly Vickers
PO2 Almeida: We basically did every activity that the Swedish cadets did on their first, second and third trainings. That is to say: sailing, swimming, Morse code, navigation, marching, knot-tying and general line-handling. My favorite was the navigation because we got to sail around the archipelago for days.
Highlights from our time in Sweden:
Toured the Royal Palace and the city of Stockholm Tried caviar with bread and butter Practiced our seamanship skills with knot-tying, navigation and sailing Ate a meal at the Stockholm Hard Rock Cafe with Sea Cadets from around the world
Were you excited when you found out that you were going to Sweden? CPO Vickers: I was extremely excited! I couldnâ€™t believe I was going out of the country. I was surprised about getting my first choice. I figured I would get one of my choices, just not my first. PO2 Almeida: I was so excited when I found out that I was selected for this training! It honestly took a long time for it to really hit me that I was going to Sweden. A. Bjorngreen, Almeida, Meisner, Thomas Koford, Vickers and Calle Lindstrom spend time at a park in Karlskrona.
Before the trip, what were you looking forward to the most? PO2 Almeida: I was looking forward to a full immersion into a foreign culture the most. I personally have always wanted to travel the world, but thought it was something that would happen much later in life. Plus, the excitement of the unknown was a thriller on its own! CPO Vickers: The food! I always look forward to food, but I was really looking forward to trying new food.
Was there anything that surprised you about Sweden? What new foods did you try? PO2 Almeida: It sounds funny to mention this after being in Sweden for two weeks, but the Swedes knew so much more about the U.S. than I ever could have guessed. Not just pop culture, but history, politics and current events. My favorite part of this trip was talking to Swedish cadets. It enhanced the cultural immersion by leaps and bounds. A somewhat comically crazy food that I tried was caviar in what looked like a toothpaste tube! It was very strong, but I actually did like it! CPO Vickers: The thing that surprised me the most were the American bars and restaurants everywhere. I didn’t expect American culture there. International cadets and officers visit Maschon, one of the 30,000 islands, islets and rocks off the coast of Stockholm.
What was it like hanging out with Sea Cadets from all over the world? CPO Vickers: It was really cool meeting everyone. I think I‘ve made some lifelong friends. Everyone speaks English so it wasn’t that hard. It was weird because certain words mean different things in British English. PO2 Almeida: I thought it was very interesting to see how, even though the leaders were from different cultures, countries, creeds and upbringings, the basic principles of leadership remained universal. The language barrier was a little discouraging at first, but just a couple of days in, I was understanding large portions of spoken Swedish. I would totally mess up some Swedish phrases that I tried. It sometimes came out with a more Danish accent with English and German words in it. We all thought it was pretty funny.
Vickers hangs out with Swedish cadets in Maschon.
Closing Remarks PO2 Almeida: One major piece of advice I would give to cadets who want to go to another country is: learn as much as possible of their native language. Learn personal pronouns, interrogatives, conjunctions, sentence structure and prepositions. That, along with some basic phrases and words, and the people there will think very highly of you. It means so much to them to see a foreigner appreciate their language and culture.
Almeida visits the officer’s quarters in Maschon.
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CPO Churchill: Sailing, power-boating, wallclimbing, biking, kayaking, ziplining and touring the city. My favorites were historical exploration and sailing.
WHERE: In and around London, United Kingdom WHEN: July 19 – August 1, 2015 ESCORT OFFICER: LCDR Eric Thiessen CADETS: CPO Joshua Churchill, PO1 Noah Dahm
Highlights from our time in the United Kingdom: Dined on — and loved — fish and chips Visited the Windsor Palace, the London Bridge and the Tower of London Spoke Chinese with cadets from Hong Kong Bonded with our fellow cadets and escort officers
Thiessen, Dahm and Churchill toured major sites around London, including the Tower Bridge.
Thiessen: I was a bit surprised to be chosen considering I have applied twice before and was not selected. Once it sank in that I was selected, I felt honored. Not only was I going to another country, but I was representing the NSCC and the USA.
Before the trip, what were you looking forward to most? PO1 Dahm: I was looking forward to meeting people from all around the world in one of the world’s most recognizable cities, as well as representing the country that I love. I think of that the most.
What was your favorite part about the trip? CPO Churchill: The exchange of stories. LCDR Thiessen: My favorite part was learning about the history of the United Kingdom and the way they honor their military history, as well as visiting the Tower of London and Windsor Castle.
The cadets and escort officers were given a tour of London on board a vintage 1950’s red double deck bus.
PO1 Dahm: My favorite part was the people, hands down! And I love fish n’ chips!
What was it like hanging out with Sea Cadets from all over the world? PO1 Dahm: I was looking forward to this aspect the most and it was great. I was able to speak Chinese with Team Hong Kong, which was incredible. I really enjoyed that. But it was funny having the Hong Kong cadets saying American slang. It was fun. CPO Churchill: Interacting with the other leaders gave me a new perspective on the different styles and attitudes of leadership. LCDR Thiessen: We had no language barrier. All of the escorts bonded very well. We laughed so much, hung together and were always looking for Wi-Fi and coffee. The Sea Cadet Corps is my family and now it is an international family. International cadets stand outside the entrance to the Old Royal Naval College.
Closing Remarks CPO Churchill: I would advise reading up on culture and make sure you have at least one other language under your belt. Most all other countries are bilingual and even if they don’t speak English, you may still be able to communicate. Churchill, Dahm and Thiessen visit the Tower of London.
of a Lifetime
PO1 Dahm: Learn a language. Even though it might seem pointless, it benefits you in the long run. Love your country. Represent the United States in all that you do.
CPO Daniel Browne (Canada): Do it. Before you know it, you’ll graduate and you’ll be so mad you didn’t do more.
So, you want to apply... The IEP is an exceptional opportunity for high performing Sea Cadets and ofﬁcers. Please remember that you are applying for an extremely competitive training. You must set yourself apart from the others by demonstrating your dedication to the USNSCC and to yourself. Sea Cadets and ofﬁcers can visit iep.seacadets.org for application instructions.
PO1 Seth Thompson (Canada): I would encourage them to apply because the International Exchange Program was a really fun and rewarding experience. It is a completely different experience from any other Advanced Training, and this training was, by far, the best training I’ve ever been on.
PO2 David Almeida (Sweden): This training was, by far, the best Sea Cadet experience I have ever had! Now I know for a fact that I have the travel bug. Thank you to the ISCA program and thank you to the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps!
LCDR Todd Dunn (Japan): Work hard at becoming known as a team player who can work well with others and be relied upon. You are pretty much on your own when you are the escort officer overseas and you have to be able to work out problems, be patient, stick to NSCC core values and be able to think on your feet. Being an escort officer is immensely rewarding! We work with, and lead, some of the top cadets in the U.S. Seeing them be rewarded for their efforts is gratifying. Exposing our cadets to other cadets and customs from around the world, while learning about another country is exciting to see. We uplift the world-view of the U.S. and we open a whole new world of possibilities for our cadets. If you have the cultural sensitivity, time and dedication to be an IEP escort officer, I would strongly recommend applying.
Thank you! It takes a team of dedicated professional volunteers to make the IEP go. Our permanent International Exchange Program staff: LCDR Michael L. Campbell, NSCC – Director CDR Duncan M. Rowles, Jr., USNR (Ret) – Deputy Director LCDR Jennifer Weggen, NSCC – Operations Officer Special thanks to Christine Tanguay of Sanditz Travel in West Hartford, Connecticut for serving as our Travel Manager for many years. Thanks to our selection committee who painstakingly choose who gets the adventure of a lifetime: LCDR Michael L. Campbell, NSCC - Chair CDR Duncan M. Rowles, Jr., USNR (Ret) - Deputy Chair; Mr. Andrew Stern; CDR Paul Willis, USMM (Ret); Ms. Jennifer Colman; LCDR Jennifer Weggen, NSCC; CAPT James Monahan, USN (Ret) and CAPT Henry Nyland, USN (Ret) Thank you to our very dedicated National Headquarters staffers who make it all happen. Without them, we wouldn’t have a program. Finally, thank you to the member countries of the International Sea Cadet Association (ISCA). Without their support, we would have nowhere to send cadets. ISCA takes safety and programming to heart and all hands work tirelessly to ensure quality exchanges and memories that will last a lifetime.
Member Countries of ISCA: Australian Navy Cadets Royal Sea Cadet Corps Belgium Bermuda Sea Cadet Corps The Navy League of Canada Deutsche Marine Jugend e.V. (Sea Cadet Corps of Germany) Hong Kong Sea Cadet Corps Sea Cadet Corps of India Japan Sea Cadet Federation Sea Explorers of Korea Sea Cadets of Lithuania Zeekadetkorps Nederland (Sea Cadet Corps of the Netherlands) Sea Cadet Association of New Zealand Sea Cadets of Portugal Young Mariners League of Russia Singapore National Cadet Corps (Sea) South African Sea Cadet Corps (NPC) Sjovarnskarernas Riksforbund (Swedish Sea Cadet Corps Association) Sea Cadets UK United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps Zimbabwe Sea Cadet Corps
of a Lifetime
In Focus is an official publication series of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps. In Focus promotes a greater understanding of the programs and mission of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness...” – Mark Twain
An in-depth look at our exchange program, as told by our cadets and volunteers