US and Russian participants of the winning teams of the Digital Entrepreneurship project and their teachers met face-to-face in San Francisco and spent unforgettable days exploring centres of technology and innovations in the Silicon Valley.  This experience offered students an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the importance of the digital and entrepreneurial competencies for their future successful careers.  Members of the winning teams share impressions of visiting San Francisco and Silicon Valley and meeting their peers.

First Day

Our first day in San Francisco was marked by a welcome dinner where we met face-to-face with our teammates after several months of joint online work on our digital entrepreneurship projects. It was wonderful to meet and talk, to share memories and milestones of our communication and collaboration, to learn better our teammates and other teams’ ideas, to discuss our hobbies and future plans, learning more about each other, our schools, our cities and countries. It was a fantastic way to celebrate our achievements and the amazing award we received– our joint trip to California.

Second & Third Days 

These days were dedicated to sightseeing. We started our discovery of San Francisco together taking a hop on hop of tour which provided for visiting al major landmarks and attractions. We admired the streets and a variety of architectural styles which were completely different from our native cities. We saw San Francisco icons - the Golden Bridge, Pier 39 and historic waterfront, took a closer look at the city’s business and financial centre, tasted delicious local food, and were adapting to San Francisco’s life style where people are smiling and interested in what is going on around them. We spent these fabulous days talking, laughing, taking photographs, sharing our observations and impressions. It was enjoyable! 

Fourth Day

It was the most memorable day which included exploring the two Silicon Valley technology giants - Cisco and Intel.

We had a wonderful tour at Cisco HQ, where we were warmly greeted by Cisco employees Raquel Aguilar, Benjamin Lopez and Tri Nguyen who kindly introduced us to the world of the one of world’s biggest IT companies. We were amazed by what we saw and heard during this visit. Cisco security system, Internet of things, all smart decisions we could observe – it was fantastic! Our tour was interactive and we had a chance to test some of technologies and better understand how companies like Cisco are changing and improving life. We were really happy and lucky to visit and learn all these incredible things about IT.

In the Intel Museum, we saw the oldest computer processors, got to know the history of the company and tested the new interactive guide systems.  We saw the first computer processor and learned about its evolution. We could play with interactive exhibits – it was both informative and fun!

As future IT specialists we were overwhelmed by the achievements of these corporations, which are well known for making our life easier and better. We learned a lot of things about the world of high technologies, revealed the history of these corporations, found out the newest tendencies of web security and business control. It was a pleasure to take a closer look at the two firms which some of us will probably work for in the future. 

After our great Silicon Valley experience we went for a walk to the Ocean beach, enjoying the beauty and the natural force of Pacific Ocean. While walking we had a great time with discussing our recent impressions and ways we can use in the future gained knowledge and skills. That day we became real friends.

Cisco Visit Impressions

Egor: "We've had a wonderful tour to the Cisco's office, where we enjoyed watching how one of the world's biggest IT companies works. I was amazed by the Cisco's security systems and even more by the very smart decisions which they use in their office. Especially I loved the fact that the tour was interacted and so we had a chance to test the equipment they use. I really enjoyed watching how the video conversation systems work, starting from the video concierge in the office and up to the equipment for making online conversations worldwide, which make the life of people easier. I believe that companies like Cisco are changing and improving our world, and it was very useful and interesting for us to take a closer look at it."

Svyatoslav: "Today I have visited the head office of Cisco Company. We were friendly greeted by our guides and started our course. We got to know a lot of about internet security systems, hacker attacks and group web conversations. We had a great opportunity to test new conversation systems. We saw a world map with potential threats, and heard about remote computers, presentation boards and signal and files interceptions. I would like to thank all those who made this visit possible."

Polina: "It was a fantastic tour to Cisco. It was a lot of fun there because we were allowed to try ourselves as employees, touch and play with equipment. The tour leader explained us how the security systems work; it was both amazing and scaring that it is very easy for Cisco staff to get the information about every Internet user. I was really excited by the systems which help to organize meetings and conversations via Internet. Everything is done to make people's work as convenient as possible, and that's what I liked most of all. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to gain such experience."

Anastasia: "Today I had an incredible opportunity to visit Cisco office. I'm interested in information technologies so I was very happy to Iearn a lot of new things about it. The most attractive for me was the Internet Security. I didn't know before that all the information about the user can be learnt by Wi-Fi! Now I'm sure that I know much more about IT. I want to thank everybody for such a chance. Also I want to thank the guides who told us about Cisco. It was very interesting, interactive and informative."

Ksenia: "During the excursion I got to know many new things about Internet connection, security systems in Cisco. The lectors spoke very clearly, I was so interested in their speech that I'm going to dedicate my life to engineering. It was amazing to visit conference halls with modern equipment. Most of all I appreciated the possibility to try using HD cameras and smart computers which made a funny and friendly atmosphere. In my opinion, Cisco does care about their business  and clients and that's perfect. Thanks to Cisco team and the Digital Entrepreneurship project for an opportunity to see it with my own eyes."

Enzio: “The Cisco trip was very interesting and informative. I liked the technology put into the facility regarding the concierge camera work and the meeting room cameras. As a bonus the presenter's little tangent about his life was interesting too, good information to reflect on.”
Alejandro: “The Cisco visit was a great experience where we got to see how they operate and what their main goal as a company is, to be the best company at digital security.”

Carlos: “Cisco was a great experience for me because I got see innovating technology and how Cisco solutions provide a safe network to everyday business.”
Andrew: “I visited Cisco today and I had a very good experience. The staff made us feel like we were part of the company and I appreciated that.”

Julian: “Cisco has been a great experience for me to get more knowledge of how Cisco work and know about the many different jobs involved in the company.”
Tate: “The trip to Cisco was a cool experience and was a lot of fun being toured around the facility and getting to experience some of the company's technology.”

Fifth Day

This was the most creative day. We visited TechShop - an incredibly interesting place where dreams and ideas come true. We learnt a lot about fast developing Maker's Movement. It's marvelous because everybody can come, acquire a skill to implement ideas in any field and even have a chance attract investors. It was an inspirational experience!

Later we visited iconic Ferry Building and enjoyed a variety of delicious samples local and international cuisine.

Sixth Day

The most important event of this day was definitely visiting the General Consulate of the Russian Federation in San Francisco. We had an interesting and friendly conversation with the Consulate employees Ivan Pausin and Maxim Goncharov who told us about diplomatic work and careers. A friendly atmosphere and engaging discussions made the Russian teams feel completely at home, and the US teams had a chance to visit Russia without a visa.

The General Consulate Visit Impressions

Ksenia “It's amazing that the consulate is in the beautiful building on the great street not in the office. I'm very happy that I had the opportunity to talk with these wonderful people. It's really perfect that I have answers to my questions about consulting now. Also, it was fun to listen to the funny stories about the councils' life abroad. Thank you so much for this meeting!”

Egor “I am very thankful to Global Initiatives and Junior Achievement for giving me a chance of lifetime to visit Russian Consulate. There we met with the Consuls of Russia, talked to them and learned a lot of things of their job. I found out some astonishing facts about the consulate building, its history and the area of neighborhood, and also realized how many Russians live in United States. These are giant numbers, and with that fact I can understand what tough job consuls have. But at the same time it seems to be very interesting, because the diplomats we saw told us a couple of incredible stories, which had happened to them during their career. This visit is the experience I will never forget!”

Svyatoslav “On our last day we visited the Russian Consulate in San Francisco. We were warmly invited into the main hall for a conversation, we found out what exactly Consul and his assistants do and talked in a very friendly atmosphere. We all felt that we were in our homeland, and our American partners have been to Russia without a visa.”

Anastasia “Today we visited the Russian consulate in San Francisco. After six-days being in the USA I was very happy to hear Russian speech and to see something native. I'm very happy I had an opportunity to talk to Russian diplomats in a friendly atmosphere. Afterglow will be with me forever. I'd like to thank JA Russia and Russian Consulate in San Francisco for such an opportunity.”

Polina ”We were truly proud to get Russian Council's Building. There we told about their work and education, and gave answers for our questions. The Council's Building and the view from its window were beautiful and it is also very comfortable and cozy inside. I really appreciated that councils were very kind and did everything to make us feel at home, even though they are highly respected people. Thanks a lot to Russian Councils for these opportunities!”

The US students “The Russian consulate was very different. It was like going into another country. The atmosphere in the building we felt was very firm, important, and diligent. We liked the fact that as soon as we walked in they made us feel welcome and the structure of the building was beautiful, it looked like an antique. We got to see very important diplomatic people as well as the building's soviet era architecture, and we enjoy the talk with the diplomats about their life and work, very exciting experience. It was a moment that will forever stay in our memories. From the beauty of the building and its inside, to the chat we had with the Russian diplomats. We also learned about their jobs are, what they do everyday, and learned about their lifestyle as diplomats. We also laughed and enjoyed the funny stories that each of the diplomats told us about the cities that they have visited. They were so nice. It was overall an amazing experience.”

Thanks a lot to JA Russia and Global Initiatives for a perfect trip and memorable impressions!


In conclusion, at the end of our adventure we would like to thank for all wonderful events and activities, new knowledge and skills, and most importantly for opportunity to make life-long friends and gain life-changing experiences. Participation in the Digital Entrepreneurship Project made a difference for all of us.

On our last day we decided to visit Coit Tower. From the Hill where the Tower is situated you can see the whole city, and the view is incredible. Though it had been very hard for us to say good buy to our friends and partners, we knew we’d be in touch and continue our communication and our friendship, and hopefully we’ll meet face-to-face again – in Moscow, in Miami and in San Francisco. We are looking forward to meeting again and to taking part in wonderful projects like our Digital Entrepreneurship organized by Junior Achievement and Global Initiatives within US – Russia Peer-to-Peer Program. Thank you!