Educational Resource Development Trust (ERDT), a nonprofit educational foundation, was established in 1974 and has, since its inception, been successfully involved in working with international students — both individually and in groups — for short-term and long-term educational and home stay programs. In the 1970s, ERDT was primarily involved in administering scholarships for employees of foreign government agencies and multinational corporations for study at U.S. colleges and universities.
In 1980, ERDT was designated by the United States Information Agency (now part of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs) to sponsor a Teenager High School Exchange Program — our SHARE! High School Exchange Program. ERDT/SHARE! now places more than 700 international students a year with American host families while they attend local high schools. ERDT also organizes short-term home stays, outbound programs for Americans, and administers a J1 Work / Travel program, which brings 300-400 university students to the U.S.A. each year to work in seasonal jobs.
The goal of ERDT is to provide opportunities for people of different cultures to come together to learn about other points of view and ways of life. We at ERDT believe that cross-cultural understanding is fundamental to developing mutual respect and tolerance between Americans and people from around the world. Our programs provide cultural experiences that foster good will, tolerance, and understanding through a positive people-to-people experience.
The J1 Work Travel Program
College and University students enrolled full time and pursuing studies at post-secondary accredited academic institutions located outside the United States come to the United States to share their culture and ideas with people of the United States through temporary work and travel opportunities.
The Summer Work Travel program provides foreign students with an opportunity to live and work in the United States during their vacation from college or university to experience and to be exposed to the people and way of life in the United States.
Summer Work Travel Students must be:
- Sufficiently proficient in English to successfully interact in an English speaking environment;
- Post-secondary school students enrolled in and actively pursuing a degree or other full-time course of study at an accredited classroom based, post-secondary educational institution outside the United States;
- Have successfully completed at least one semester or equivalent of post-secondary academic study; and
- Pre-placed in a job prior to entry unless from a visa waiver country.
ERDT Program Director Emily Reppun
ERDT Program Director Emily Reppun joined ERDT in 2005 as an Associate Director for the SHARE! High School Exchange Program, and begin as Director of ERDT's J1 Work & Travel Program in 2008.
During college in 2001, Emily worked for 2 seasons in Chitwan National Park, Nepal as a Guest Relations Officer at Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge. She has also worked:
- as a restaurant server and host for Bennigans Irish Restaurant outside the Art Institute of Chicago
- pushing TVs from classroom to classroom, up and down the elevator, at her university
- in a computer lab even though she knew nothing about computers
- as Susie the Strawberry Pancake for IHOP
- in a factory that manufactured big dog beds for Costco
- in a different factory that packaged paper bedding for hamsters and guinea pigs
She moonlights as a housekeeper for 2 Airbnb vacation rentals, and as a professional French horn player for movies and TV, and for orchestras around Southern California.