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Past Internship Participant Returns for a Visit

IMG_4844Last fall, two CHI staffers were in Sebastopol, CA as part of an exciting reunion. Sebastian Closs participated in CHI’s Career Exploration Program (which evolved into the current Short-Term Enrichment Program) back in 2004. Coming from his native France, he spent six months in Sebastopol, being placed in an internship at O’Reilly and Associates and spending his homestay with Hideko Oga and her family. This past October, Sebastian was back in town. His former host family, as well as some friends, threw him a party to commemorate the occasion.

Sebastian has fond memories of his time as a CHI participant. While with O’Reilly and Associates he improved his website management skills, and he enjoyed living in the San Francisco Bay Area. After his program, Sebastian returned to France to finish his education, participating in another Internship program before beginning a career in website management.

Eventually, Sebastian was hired by Barrisol, a French manufacturer of ‘stretch ceilings’, flexible PVC ceilings that can be stretched to fit a variety of shapes. He was offered the position of managing the company’s international website. Sebastian is currently in charge of ensuring that the company website runs in 12 different languages. He knows that his past experience in America with CHI has helped him greatly in this role.

In addition to improving his English skills and helping him learn more about the inner workings of a company first hand, Sebastian’s time in the United States showed Barrisol that he has an open mind. When his co-workers and employer learned that he spent time learning more about his craft in the United States, they were very impressed. He knows this experience speaks to the person he is and how willing he is to explore other cultures and broaden his horizons.

Sebastian made wonderful connections while he was a CHI participant. He has stayed in touch with friends and his host family. A close friend from California visited him for a short time in 2006, and his host mother flew to France to be at his wedding in 2009. That leads us to the present when Sebastian and his wife returned to the United States to sightsee and spend some time with his host family. The young couple spent three weeks visiting San Francisco, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.

IMG_4848They ended their trip with the party at host mom Hideko’s home in Sebastopol. Sebastian’s past CHI Coordinator Jan King, and CHI Communications Coordinator Kristin Chasan, attended the event. (impactus.org) Hideko made a delicious meal for everyone, and a number of Sebastian’s old California friends took the time to come say hello. Hideko also made Sebastian his favorite dessert, which was of course a highlight of the evening.

CHI is extremely proud of Sebastian for all that he has accomplished since completing his CHI program. He is a wonderful young man who has been very successful in his chosen field. Just as importantly, he understands the value of maintaining the friendships and connections he made eight years ago. We are thrilled that he continues to keep in touch with his host family and friends. This gathering was a perfect example of the bonds CHI’s programs strive to create. We look forward to more fun reunions in the future.

Past Internship Participant Returns for a Visit 1
Host mom Hideko along with her niece on LT

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