Conditions of the Work and travel USA program
Work and Travel USA is an international student exchange program, founded by the U.S. State Department. Russian students have been participating in this program for over than 20 years now. Put all doubts aside and start your adventure now together with your friends! Student Agency is an official partner of several program sponsors, which is why we can offer the best placements for Work and Travel.
As for official information: Work and Travel USA starts May 15th and ends September 15th. It means that you may travel to America any day in May – June and come back in August - September. It only depends on your preferences and your university's approval.
Basing on the Certificate of the Eligibility for Exchange Program (DS-2019 form) program participants are issued a J-1 visa, which allows them to legally work in the U.S. for up to 4 months. One month upon the job end date is granted for traveling. But nothing keeps you from going for mini-trips at weekends, you just have to buy a bus ticket, rent a car or find a good company of locals – and you're good to go!
Students usually work on seasonal customer service jobs in resort towns: restaurants, hotels, shops, amusement and entertainment parks and national parks and sanctuaries. The job must be seasonal – this is the main condition of the program. Work and Travel students normally earn as much as their American colleagues – from $7.25 to $12 an hour. Accommodation is usually provided by an employer or program sponsor, it can be free of charge sometimes (for example, in a hotel if it's a workplace), but the customary charge is $40-$150 per week (everyone understands that the price for a place to live in LA with Hollywood view and to live in small town won’t be the same)
How to become a Work and Travel USA participant?
If you are:
- Full-time university student
- Between 18 and 23 years old at the time of departure to USA
- Studying English
…. you can become a participant of Work and Travel program!
Enrollment starts in September and ends in March. But it's better to hurry up – the program's price increases by the end of the enrollment period, besides, the best job offers are always taken first. So, to avoid the rush with documents, while attempting to improve your English, hustle with exams at your university and to get the best job in USA – apply as soon as possible.
Step 1. Registration.
Students fill out the registration form, you can do it on-line on our website or at our office in Kaliningrad. If you live outside of Kaliningrad you can apply on-line, we work with students all over the country!
Step 2. Consultation.
You have an interview with us in the office or via Skype, Viber. We answer all your questions, check your English language level and tell you what documents you need to provide and what to do next.
Step 3. Job search.
Begging from October you start a job search – with our help or by yourself. If we are helping you with a job search we provide you an access to our database of the vacancies with a detailed description of every job. You apply for the jobs you like and have an interview after. After receiving your job offer and paying the second program fee, sponsor starts the process of work permit – DS-2019 form.
Step 4. J1 Visa application.
As soon as you have a work permit we start to help you with application for US visa. We prepare you for an interview and schedule the date of an interview with the US embassy (interviews start in March and ends in June).
Step 5. Departure
After your visa has been approved you pay the rest fee of the program. We book a convenient flight from Russia to US and hold an orientation meeting where you learn a lot of interesting and useful information about your trip.
Work and Travel USA: how much does it cost?
Work and Travel program fee depends on what kind of the program you choose and when you start your application for the program. It could be with job placement and housing as well as flight tickets, could be without. You need to keep in mind that together with the program fee you will pay visa fee, trip to the US embassy and you need to get from New York airport to you job placement (the most expensive flights are from New York to West coast and to Alaska).
Our agency has formulated 4 options of the program, so you can choose the one that fits you most:
We provide you with the program, but you search for a job yourself. Also, you book your plane tickets yourself.
The price includes job placement. But you book plane tickets yourself.
You find a job by yourself, but we provide round-trip air tickets.
Everything is included in price (job placement with housing and air tickets)
1.“Eco” – we provide you with the program, but you search for a job yourself or your friends help you to find one. Also, you book your plane tickets yourself or with our help. This option is mostly for “experienced” participants who have traveled before.
2.“Self” - participants find a job themselves, but we provide them with round-trip air tickets. This way you don't have to worry about increasing tickets prices.
3.“Premium” - the price includes job placement which you choose from our vacancies list. But you book plane tickets yourself.
4.“All Inclusive” - everything is included in price (job placement with housing and air tickets). It's a perfect option if you are traveling for the first time and you want to have everything set for you, cares and troubles-free.
What is included in the program fees?
- All paper work for Work and Travel program
- Round-trip air ticket to New York for SELF and All-Inclusive programs
- Job search for Premium and All-Inclusive programs
- Application for US visa and preparation for an interview in the US embassy
- Help and consultation during your stay in the US
Where you can work during Work and Travel program:
“I don’t have any experience! What American company is going to hire me? And why do they need ф student labor force? For sure because they what to save money!” Not even close! You will be working in hospitality business: restaurants, hotels, amusement parks, shops, swimming pools. The job and your rate depend on your skills and your English level. Usually students earn from $7.5 up to $12 an hour and you will be paid an overtime if you work more than 40 hours per week.
We offer you to choose a job and you will know in advance what job you have.
Many students have 2 or 3 jobs to save up money and go travelling in September. To visit Las Vegas, San Francisco, Jamaica and Hawaii – everything is real. You friends are going to be so jealous.
Minimum requirements for housekeepers, kitchen help – where you won’t be communicating most of your time with costumers. As soon as you improve your English and get used to English speaking environment, you can be promoted. Take your English very seriously if you would like to get a job working with people as a lifeguard, waiter etc.
Work and Travel students usually work at the following positions:
Work in hotels
Working in a hotel is one of the most popular types of jobs on Work and Travel USA. This is due to the fact that this type of employment offers a great variety of vacancies for students with poor command (pre-intermediate) of English. Usually hotels hire people for positions of housekeepers (that means cleaning the rooms), but there are also other different jobs. Hotel often offer rotating positions that combine several duties (for example cleaning rooms and working as a porter at the same time). If you have a good command of English you can work on a reception or front desk.
Jobs in a hotel:
- Laundry assistant
- Area Worker
Work at a restaurant/café/bistro
Working at a restaurant might be tiresome, but the advantages are free meals (or a discount for meals in a restaurant) and good tips. Also, you communicate with a lot of people every day, so it's a great chance to improve your English! If you don't feel very confident about your language, but really like working with food, you may choose a position of kitchen helper or a dishwasher, they are simple and not overwhelmingly-communicated. Types of restaurants are very different: from big exquisite restaurants to fast food cafes. The best thing about this type of work is that there are thousands of restaurants, coffee shops and cafes all over the USA that need personnel all the time.
- Cook assistant / line cook
- Kitchen worker
- Busser / food runner
- Crew member
- Server, waiter/waitress
Usually employers are not ready to hire students and provide such jobs as a waiter or hostess without having a personal interview. You can start from a busser or waiter assistant, where you will be cleaning and help to serve tables. If you are hardworking person and you show your motivation you can be promoted and receive a good tip. These jobs are usually suitable for girls with previous restaurant experience and good command of English.
Work at amusement parks
There are lots of various amusement parks in the USA (for example Disney World, Six Flags etc.) and thematic parks where students from different countries are hired for summer. Mostly working in parks means working as ride operators, ice-cream and pop-corn sellers, territory cleaners, and cashiers in gift shops. One of the advantages of working in amusement parks is to use all the attractions for free! This also means that happy mood will surround you all day long and you’ll get lots of positive emotions. One of the responsibilities of the amusement park operators is to provide safety for guests and this means that you’ll socialize with them quite often and that’s why there is no possibility to work there not knowing the language well enough.
- ride operator
- salesman (sweets, souvenirs)
- territory cleaner/ area worker
Work in National Parks
Every year national parks in the U.S.A. hire stuff for summer time because it's the busiest season of the year. Most parks are in the western part of the country, far from big cities, which means that there is not a lot going on around, all the nightlife is in cities. On the other hand, this also saves a lot of money for your vacation! Also working at the national parks gives you an opportunity to enjoy fresh air and see the most beautiful places of America. Your main duties there will be cleaning the areas, kitchen help, assisting waiters, selling souvenirs and other.
The most popular national parks in America are Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Death Valley, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Great Smoky Mountains, Sequoia, Glacier, Zion, Grand Teton Please visit this website for more information www.us-national-parks.net.
Working as a lifeguard in a swimming pool
Some of you might not want to go to America just to clean rooms or make burgers. If you are physically fit, a good swimmer a you speak good English – the lifeguard job is just for you!
The job of a lifeguard is to provide safety for all pool visitors. You need to have a good command of English and be able to swim 300 m (without a set time limit)
Before you start work, you will have to take a swimming and giving first aid tests to get an American Red Cross Certificate. Student agency is an authorized recruiter for High Sierra Pools company that employs lifeguards and has work locations all around the east coast area. We arrange the lifeguard training and swimming tests and in Kaliningrad, so you will be fully prepared for the trip.
We advice to start searching for a job as soon as possible. There are thousands of other J-1 students looking for a summer job, and chances to leave behind your competitors in finding a good place are lower and lower every day.
However, please remember that the job that you eventually find, must comply with the program rules. There are certain types of jobs that are prohibited for Work and Travel USA participants:
- Work at factories, manufacturing plants, construction sites – any hard-physical work;
- Work at traveling fairs;
- Any jobs with a commission payment only;
- Work at private houses: as a gardener, nanny, driver etc.;
- Any commercial transportation service;
- Any jobs with physical contacts with clients (tattoo and beauty salons, SPA);
- Any jobs which can influence on reputation of the program (“adult” types of entertainment clubs);
- Any night time jobs;
- Any jobs where you need a different type of visa (summer camps program or internships)
There are following job limits in the big cities:
- The job should be seasonable
- Employer must prove the need to hire students and not locals
- Accommodation is provided with a reasonable rate
Questions Work and Travel USA
What are the job placements?
You will be working in hospitality business: restaurants, hotels, amusement parks, shops, swimming pools. Most of the Work and Travel students working in small resort towns. Here you can see “the participants map” from last year:
How much money I can earn?
Usually students earn from $7.5 up to $12 an hour and you will be paid an overtime (1,5 of normal rate) if you work more than 40 hours per week.
Can I find a second job?
Yes, upon your arrival you can find a second job, only if you can manage working there and on your first job. Don’t forget to get a permit from your sponsor. Many students have 2 or 3 jobs to save up money and go travelling in September. If I am searching for a
job myself, can I work in the office for example and not in the hospitality business?
Unfortunately, no. Certain rules of the program are drafted by the US Department of State. It has to season job, and to meet the following criteria: safety (you can’t work at factories, manufacturing plants, construction sites, “adult” types of entertainment clubs, during night time); guaranteed wage (you can’t work with a commission payment only; any commercial transportation service), not overlap with other exchange programs (you can’t work as a baby-sitter because this is an au-pair program, you can’t work in an office because you need an intern visa). We will explain all the rules during your application process.
For are the program dates?
Work and Travel USA starts May 15th and ends September 15th. It means that you may travel to America any day in May – June and come back in August - September. It only depends on your preferences and your university's approval.
How well I need to speak English?
You need to be able to start a conversation in the shop or café, to find your way to the job placement and to take care of the daily matters in the US.
How much money do I spend for the program and what are the ways of paying?
Work and Travel program fee depends on what kind of the program you choose and when you start your application for the program. It could be with job placement and housing as well as flight tickets, could be without. The total program expenses together with a program fee, visa fee, medical insurance, trip to the US embassy and flights from New York airport to your job placement is $2000-$2500 (the most expensive flights are from New York to West coast and to Alaska).
Can I go together with my friends?
Sure! Your friends can be even from a different city.
Is this program only for a student?
Yes, you need to be a full-time university student. If you are not student anymore we can offer you a variety of programs. Please visit our website for more information www.student-agency.ru
Where I am going to live?
Most (not all of them) of the employers provide an accommodation. Usually it’s a rental apartment, houses, rooms in a hotel or motel, student houses or even trailers. The price depends on conditions and location. Usually is from $60 up to $120 per week from a person.
What I am going to eat?
Well this you need to decide! If you are working at the restaurant or fast-food probably you can get a free meal at work. If not – on your way to a supermarket to get some supplies! Would be useful to learn in advance how to cook.
How do I get to my job placement?
We can help you to plan your trip but you need to get there by yourself. You can take a train, bus or plane.
Will I have an internet access?
Usually yes. Not – only if it’s remote part of the US but there is always a wi-fi to connect anywhere. Besides, you can buy a sim-card and to use a mobile internet.
What to do if I fall sick?
You will have a medical insurance during all your stay in the US. You can consult a doctor if you need.
What documents do I need to participate in the program?
International passport, university certificate, photo for US visa (colorful, resolution of 600x600 pixel). We will help with the rest.
What visa I need to apply for?
Every participant of an exchange program needs to get a J-1 visa. Based on your work permit and DS-2019 form you apply for a visa. We will help you with all visa application process.
What if I want to find a job myself and get a visa without agency help?
Unfortunately, no. Only program sponsors approved by the US Department of State can fill in a DS 2019 form, that you’ll need for your visa.
What is a Job Offer?
It’s your contract with an employer.