Thanks to the international Work and Travel exchange program, now every student can go to the United States and gain life experience, a good job in an American company, and an unforgettable travel experience.
The story of the Program
In 1961, the US State Department passed the Law on Cultural Exchange between Young People from Different Countries. The Act identified the organizations that administered international exchange programs. Such organizations came to be called sponsors. Now all over the world, there are a large number of sponsoring organizations with an extensive network of partners and agents.
For the safety of program participants, all data is entered into the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) Internet system, which transmits information to the Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of State. SEVIS has information about the status of students, the date of entry and exit from the country, the address of residence of the participant and workplace, changes in the program, etc.
The system allows you to track information about students who arrived on visas of categories F, M, J.
The terms of participation
To become a member of the Work and Travel USA program, you must:
- be a full-time student of the university;
- at the age from 18 to 23 years (under certain conditions, participants up to 25–26 years old are allowed);
- know English at a conversational (or higher) level;
Documents required for participation in the program and submission to the consulate
You need to prepare some documents to obtain a J1 visa.
- International passport;
- A copy of a civil passport (first, second pages);
- A copy of the first page of your passport and, if available, a copy of American visas;
- Original certificate from the university confirming the status of a full-time student;
- Copy and original of student ID;
- CV in English;
- Completed application form DS-160 and DS-2019;
- Receipt for payment of SEVIS fee – 35 USD;
- 4 photos 3 × 4 cm and 2 photos 5 × 5 cm (on a white background, hair should be pinned, from the top of the head to the chin, the distance is from 2.5 cm to 3.5 cm, from the eye line to the bottom of the photo from 2.8 cm to 3.5 cm).
Vacancies and working conditions
Program participants work, as a rule, in vacancies that do not require qualifications, for example, a salesman, a waiter in a restaurant, a cashier, a barista, a hotel assistant, a lifeguard, etc.
All companies offer participants a choice of vacancies and a place of possible work. The participant can also find an employer.
A working day in the United States lasts 8 hours. Typically, most employees in the restaurant and hospitality industry have a minimum wage rate that differs from state to state.
Overtime work is paid a bonus. The contract prescribes working conditions, including the hourly wage rate and the number of hours per week, even before arriving in the United States.
Benefits of the Work and Travel program
The program provides students with a unique opportunity to work and travel throughout the United States.
Gaining work experience in foreign companies
US companies provide a good opportunity for novice specialists to learn the basic principles of the work of American corporations, test them in action, and further use the experience gained in their homeland. Participants of the program receive letters of recommendation from employers, which will undoubtedly allow them to be more competitive in the labor market and in the future to get a promotion on the career ladder.
An opportunity to see some of the most beautiful places in the USA
Each of the participants has the right to use 30 days for travel after the end of the program. You can go on a tour of the canyons of Arizona and Nevada, see the famous Grand Canyon and the equally majestic Bryce Canyon, go to Monument Valley and learn how modern Indians live. You can get together, rent a car and drive along the famous Route 66, or relax on the white beaches of Miami.
You can visit the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Atlantic in the east. And, of course, New York, the capital of the States – Washington, Boston, Chicago and Miami. You will have an opportunity to see the incredible Niagara Falls. Many beautiful places in the United States will impress even the most avid travelers. However, you can always go to explore the nearby countries: colorful Mexico and incredible Canada.
Improving the level of English
Constant practice of communication in English, an increase in vocabulary, and, importantly, the removal of the language barrier will significantly increase the level of knowledge of the English language. Within a couple of weeks, a student with spoken English will be able to confidently express himself, hold a conversation, answer phone calls, completely forgetting about previous fears.
One of the main reasons why students go to the USA is the opportunity to make good money. Even working at the same job, program participants cover the entire cost of the program and earn several thousand dollars. Many students work overtime or two jobs. Also, based on the participant’s previous work experience, you can find a higher-paying job than is offered at the Job Fair.
An invaluable life experience
The experience that program participants gain in the United States is invaluable. And this applies not only to the acquisition of skills and knowledge but also to growing up, the ability to solve complex issues and tasks, overcome difficulties in communication and adaptation. All this allows you to look at life in a different way, form priorities, and evaluate your place. Thanks to the program, students open up more opportunities for achieving goals.
Preparation to Work and Travel
It is worthwhile to think in advance about accommodation options, at least for the first time, if the employer does not provide them. For several days, you can book a room in a hostel, hotel, or apartment. And upon arrival, there will be more opportunities to find a suitable place, for example, to rent an apartment.
Upon arrival in the United States, you can start looking for options for a second job. In the summer season at the resorts, each student can find a part-time job, there are enough offers. To begin with, you can ask your employer and friends about vacancies. Or print your resume and walk through the streets where restaurants and shops are most concentrated. It is best to communicate directly with the manager who is hiring the workers. In this case, you are more likely to get the desired job.