What is Summer Work and Travel?

Variously known as the Work and Travel programme and the Summer Work and Travel programme (or the Summer Working Holiday in USA programme) - it is a cultural exchange programme run by the US State Department. It allows current full-time university students of any course, 18 - 25 years old and preferably in their first or second year (if in a 3 year course) or even 3rd year (if in a 4 year course), to enter the US on a J1 visa. Participants get to meet other young people from hundreds of countries around the world and learn about American culture while working (and earning !) during their summer vacation.

Students also get the opportunity to travel around the US for 30 days. This is a great way of  learning about the US culture and exploring a beautiful country.

The time in the US will be filled with opportunities to make new friends, learn new skills, overcome challenges, improve communication skills, help gain independence and confidence !

Frequently Asked Questions

Duration of the Summer Work and Travel Program?

This is a 4 month summer programme, from May to August each year. The sponsorship document, called DS 2019, mentions the start and end dates of the program. J1 visa holders are given an extra 30 days for travel after their work experience concludes, depending on permission from college.

What kind of placements do you offer?

Placements are usually in resorts, hotels and restaurants, theme parks, retail stores etc. Almost all the locations are beautiful tourist spots right across the US on a first come, first served basis.

How many hours do I work in a week?

Usually 30-40 hours per week. Some companies offer overtime hours that are paid extra. Students are allowed a second job.

Do I get paid?  When do I get paid?

You will receive a stipend, between $7.00- $12.00 per hour. Usually, you will get your stipend once every two weeks.

Where will I stay during my programme? 

Accommodation is taken care of ! Students will be assisted by the host company in securing housing. In all cases, you will pay for accommodation.

Students cook their own food. In some cases, free or subsidized meals are provided at work. The accommodation is usually a fully furnished apartment – so if you haven’t cooked a meal in your life, now is the time to start !

When should I start applying?

ASAP – as soon as possible. We advise you register in Dec/Jan at the latest.

What all is included?

  • Programme orientations and briefings together with parents or guardians
  • Assistance in processing applications
  • Guaranteed placement prior to arrival, J-1 Visa Documents such as DS 2019, Work Agreement and SEVIS
  • Assistance in securing Social Security card
  • Comprehensive Medical insurance for the duration of the program
  • Monitoring and support throughout the program, including a 24-hour toll-free emergency phone number in the USA
  • Pre-visa interview guidelines 
  • Pre-Departure orientation 

What are the requirements? 

You should be willing and able to learn and perform the job you signed up for, as indicated in the placement. Apart from that – enthusiasm and a cheerful attitude is a great plus. 

What level of English do I need to join?

It is important that you have at least conversational level English to communicate with others and understand instructions well.  The J1 visa interview at the consulate will be in English. If you can read this and understand it – you are doing just fine !

Do I need to get a visa for this program?

Yes. You will need to apply for a J1 visa. We will help you with this.

Can you guarantee that I will get a visa?  

NO.  Only the visa officer at the US embassy has the final say in issuing you a visa. Neither we nor our US partners are responsible for visa denials. However, we will provide complete assistance in preparing for the visa interview. 

Do I pay taxes?  

Yes.  Do remember to complete documentation before the start and end of your stay so that you can claim a tax refund.

Can I participate in this programme again?  

Yes, as long as you still have one more academic year to finish. In certain cases those in the final year may qualify with special arrangement with their College – we have done this in the past.