Last Updated 14 Sep 2020

Work and Travel U.S.A.

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Our theme is “Work and Travel in the USA”. “Work and Travel USA” is a program of international cultural exchange that allows students from different countries of the world, to depart on summer vacations to the United States to work and travel. The primary purpose of the program is to acquaint foreign students with the culture and life of modern America and the distribution of other cultures among its inhabitants. We've chosen this theme because we think it is a very hot topic nowadays.

A lot of people from different countries use this program to work and travel in a foreign country – the USA. In our work, we talk not only about the benefits and the limitations of this one, but we will also tell you about situations, which make people use this program, about people’s views who used this program. We think that it is a very actual theme, because a lot of students who want to use this program don’t know a lot about it, and they don’t know where they can find information. Of cause, they can find it through the internet, but not every topic from there is true.

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We will tell you about the relations which fold between students and citizens in an unfamiliar, alien environment for them, about how they learn to earn, about the challenges they face there, and the opportunities to be deceived by unscrupulous companies.

What kind of program is it?

The founder of the program and its main supervisor is the Department of State, which determines the number of students that have a right to take part each year. Companies that represent the program abroad, register students in the program and help to provide information, and get the necessary documents.

Also, some agencies help program participants to plan their journey to their future place of work, giving the possibility of purchasing international airline tickets on students’ tariffs.


To participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements. Participants must be post-secondary school students who are actively pursuing a degree or a full-time course of study at an accredited educational institution in their country of residence may participate in the Summer Work program only during their summer vacation.

Students may not participate in this program during time periods other than their summer vacations. Prospective exchange visitors must also possess sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in their programs.

How to apply for the Summer Work and Travel program.

There are a number of local agencies that work with American sponsors and recruit Summer Work and Travel Program participants. These agencies and American sponsors hold job fairs throughout Moldova during the winter and spring during which qualified participants can be interviewed by prospective employers.

Local agencies can also help participants locate employment on their own. The final step involves an interview with a consular officer at the U. S. Embassy in Chisinau, which the local agency will help to arrange. The purpose of the interview is to ensure that participants meet the requirements of the program and is eligible to receive visas.

Work & Travel: Step by Step

Prepare: Now what? You’ve been accepted to the Work & Travel USA program; it’s time to prepare for a successful experience. In this section, we’ll talk about important documents and things you’ll need to do before leaving your home country.

You’ll need to plan your transportation and housing, pack your luggage, and more! Important Documents You must have current and correct documents, or you might not be allowed to enter the U. S. Please make sure that you have all of the important documents explained below. Make at least two photocopies of each document, and leave one copy at home with a parent or friend. Do not pack any of these documents in your checked luggage - take all of them on the plane with you. Your luggage could be lost during your travel, and you may be required to return home if you do not have these documents with you.

DS-2019 Form: This form is issued by your legal sponsor, and is provided to you by your representative in your home country. You will need your DS-2019 Form for your J-1 Visa interview at the U. S. Embassy. When you receive your DS-2019 form, please check that your work dates are correct. If they are incorrect, notify your representative immediately and have them corrected. You will also need to present your DS-2019 form to the immigration officer upon entry to the U. S. 2. SEVIS Receipt: You will receive this official receipt along with your DS-2019 Form after your Work & Travel application is successfully processed.

You will need to take the SEVIS receipt with you to your embassy interview. 3. Passport and J-1 Visa: You need a valid passport and a valid J-1 Visa in order to enter the U. S. To get your J-1 Visa, you need to contact the U. S. Embassy in your home country and schedule an interview. It’s possible your representative will help you with this, so be sure to ask them. Your J-1 Visa will note whether it is a single entry or multiple entry visa. If you have an M in your J-1 visa this means you can 4. enter the U. S. multiple times.

If you have an S in your J-1 Visa this means that you can only enter the U. S. ONLY one time. 5. I -94 Arrival Card: The I-94 is a critically important document! You will receive this card on your flight to the U. S. and it is required for the Social Security number application. You should ask the U. S. Customs official to staple your I-94 to your passport once you enter the country. If you lose your I-94 card before you apply for a Social Security number you will need to apply for a replacement I-94 card and this will cause significant time delays.

During this time you may not be able to work and it’s very possible you will be required to return home early because of these problems. Please take care of your I-94 card! " 6. Customs Declaration Form 6059B: You will receive this card on your flight to the U. S. and must fill it out before going through Customs. 7. Insurance ID/Health & Safety Pocket Guide: This guide contains important information about your travel insurance and serves as your insurance card. Write your DS-2019 number on your insurance card in the space titled ‘Member ID. ’ When you are in the U. S. eep this card with you at all times since it will be required if you seek medical assistance. Your Health & Safety guide also contains useful health and safety tips. 8. Employment Offer Agreement Form (EOAF): This document is your job agreement with your employer. It indicates the details of your job and the dates you have agreed to work. The immigration officer may ask you to present this form upon entry to the U. S. Before you depart for the U. S. There are some important things that you need to do before you depart for the U. S. If you have any questions as you prepare for the program, talk to your representative.

If your plans or travel dates change, be sure to let your representative know, as you will not be able to make changes to your DS-2019 and/or program dates once you are in the U. S. Plan your Transportation and Housing Plan your transportation and temporary housing in the U. S. before departing. You should research transportation (buses, trains, and subway systems) from the airport to your job as well as temporary housing (hostels and affordable hotels or motels). Be sure to consider alternate options in case you need to change your plan along the way.

Your employer can be a good resource for advice on transportation and housing. Bring Enough Money When you enter the U. S., it is required that you show proof of funds (at least $800 if you have a job upon entering the U. S. or $1200 if you do not already have a confirmed job) to customs. Only cash, bank statements, and traveler’s checks are accepted as proof of funds. CIEE recommends that you bring more money if possible in case of unexpected problems. You want to make sure that you have extra money to cover all of your expenses before you receive your first paycheck.

Contact your Employer Once your travel plans have been finalized, contact your employer in the U. S. Let them know when you will arrive, and make sure the dates on your DS-2019 Form match the dates your employer expects you to work. If any of your plans or travel dates change, be sure to contact your employer. It’s possible that your employer will be willing to meet you at the airport or bus station when you arrive. Share your flight details with them and work out a plan to get to the job. Also, confirm your employer’s phone number(s) in case there are any unexpected delays.

Finally, your employer is an excellent resource for local information on housing. They might be able to share ideas on what to do and where to stay. Pack your Bags When preparing to depart for the U. S., make sure to pack all of your important documents as well as a change of clothes and anything else you might need in your carry-on bag, in case your checked luggage is delayed. When packing your bags, note the following: 1. Always check with your airline before you travel about luggage restrictions. 2. Take an extra set of clothes in your carry-on luggage. 3. Make sure you pack your important documents in your carry-on luggage.

Pack copies in your checked luggage. 4. All prescription drugs should be clearly marked and accompanied by a prescription from your doctor. 5. Do not bring articles made from protected species or perishable foods such as cheese, fruit, or nuts. 6. If you bring alcohol, you must be 21 or older. 7. If you carry more than $10,000 you must report this to a customs official. Arrive Welcome to the U. S.! Now, what do you do? When you first enter the U. S. it is a good idea to contact your employer, during regular business hours, to let them know you have arrived and are traveling to your job.

If your plane arrives late and you will not arrive as scheduled at your job, notify your employer of your new time. And don’t forget to call your parents or relatives back home so they know you have safely arrived in the U. S. Immigration and Customs When you enter the U. S., it is important that you cooperate fully with the Customs Official and answer all of their questions clearly and respectfully. The Officer may ask you some general questions about your visit, program, and the place where you will stay. You should be prepared to present U. S.

Customs Officials with all of your relevant travel documentation. They will ask you many questions related to the information you have provided on your I-94 Arrival Card and Customs Declaration Form (Form 6059B), as well as about the nature of your citizenship, your trip, and any unusual items you are bringing into the U. S. Expect to have your baggage opened for examination, and make sure that you have declared any non-travel-related goods that you have with you. Collect Your Bags After passing through Immigration and Customs, follow signs to the baggage claim area.

To find the correct carousel, check the display board for your flight number. If you waited a long time at Customs, your bags may have already passed through and been placed on the floor of the baggage area. If your luggage is lost or delayed, go to the airline desk at the airport and file a lost luggage report. If you know where you will be staying in the U. S., give this address; if you don’t know where you will be staying, provide your employer’s address so your bags can be delivered there. Housing Do your best to find housing long before your arrival in the U. S.

In many cases, your employer may have recommendations for short- or long-term housing near your workplace. If you are beginning the search on your own, use the resources below. Most importantly, don’t arrive in the U. S. without any pre-arranged housing. For the first few nights in the U. S., you may need short-term housing. Hostels, affordable motels, or universities and colleges are good options. It’s even better if you can travel and share expenses with other Work & Travel USA students. Make reservations ahead of time to make sure you have a bed or room when you arrive.

When planning your long term-housing, consider living with other Work & Travel students - this is a great way to make new friends and save money. Also consider whether or not the housing is furnished, includes utilities, and whether it is close to work or is close to public transportation, as these can all affect your monthly costs. Rent, Sublet, or Share? When you start looking for a place to live, you will find apartments that are available to rent, sublet, or share. 1. Rent When you rent an apartment you sign a lease, or contract, with a landlord.

Pay close attention to the lease agreement, as there may be penalties for breaking the contract. For example, if you lease an apartment for four months but decide to leave after two months, there may be a financial penalty in addition to your rent. 2. Sublet A sublet is an apartment or room rented by the owner or leaseholder to another person. Finding a sublet is a good option because it gives you flexibility similar to a month-to-month lease. 3. Share If you share an apartment you will pay a portion of the rent and common apartment expenses. This can be easier than looking for a place yourself.

If you decide to share an apartment, make sure to meet your possible roommate to get a feel for the situation. Your first instinct is always your best, and you should not accept a situation that you don’t feel comfortable with. Eviction "Eviction" means being removed from your housing, and there are many reasons your landlord can do this, including not paying rent on time, making too much noise, or damaging property. If you are evicted from your housing, you should get an eviction notice and be given a deadline to leave the housing. Do not let eviction happen to you! Be respectful of your living situation.

This means paying the rent on time, taking care of your property, and following all of the rules in your lease or living agreement. If you have any concerns, talk to your landlord or the person responsible. Work & Travel USA is an opportunity not only to explore the U. S., but also to earn money, make new friends, practice English, and experience what it’s really like to be part of a new culture. But first, you need to find a job and understand how to get started. Check out this section to learn about everything from getting a job, to Social Security, to income taxes.

I don’t have a job yet... If you traveled to the U. S. without a job, you will need to find one as soon as possible. For suggestions and resources to help you find a job while in the United States, please visit the Find a Job section. The list of all workplaces is very big. You can find all kinds of jobs, and everyone can be very interesting and well-paid. As compared with a salary in Moldova, in the U. S. jobs are paid much well then in Moldova, and that salary is enough for staying there for a long time. List of jobs is varied: Amusement pack worker; Barmen; Cashier;

Casino host; Builder; Cook or cook assistant; Customer service; Dishwasher; Maid; Janitor; Painter; Woodworker; Car painter or Body shop worker; Waiter; How we can see jobs are simple, but they are taking a lot of time and force. I want to find a second job! This is a great idea. Many Work & Travel USA students get second jobs while they’re in the United States. There are some simple and important reminders that you should be aware of. Your primary job is your first responsibility. It is important that your second job does not interfere with your primary job.

Make sure you let your manager know if you are looking for a second job. Salary Check with your employer to learn how often you will be paid. Most students get paid weekly or every other week. Typically you will receive a paycheck that you deposit into your bank account. Some employers may offer the option of direct deposit, which means that your salary will be deposited directly into your account. In either case, your employer will give you a salary statement, paystub, or payslip, which will show the hours you worked and the amount you were paid.

It will also contain information about the taxes and other deductions taken out of your paycheck. Depending on your agreement with your employer, you might also have a uniform, housing, union membership dues, or other work-related items deducted from your salary. After you receive your first paycheck, review it to ensure there are no errors. If you have questions about your paycheck, speak with your employer. Remember that you do not pay Social Security and Medicare taxes – if these were deducted in error, speak with your employer. Minimum Wage There is a minimum wage that employers in the U.

S. are required to pay. Please note that the wage for some positions earning tips (for example waiter or waitress) may be less than the minimum wage. Overtime At times, there may be opportunities to work additional hours. As a new employee, it is a good idea to accept these overtime hours when possible. Many companies will pay you one-and-a-half times more than the normal wage rate for extra hours. Ask your employer for company overtime policies. Travel If you intend to travel at the end of your Work & Travel USA program, you are free to explore the U.

S. for the period of time indicated on your Confirmation of Insurance document. However, when you have approved time off from work during your DS-2019 dates, you are able to travel. Be sure to talk with your manager about the possibility of taking time off from work for travel. You should always ask for days off at least a week in advance. Depending on the agreement you signed with your representative, you may also have a Travel Period following your official work dates, during which your program insurance coverage remains in place.

Your overall Program Dates are those stated on your Confirmation of Insurance Coverage document that you received with your DS-2019 and include both the work period and Travel Period. If you did not sign up for a Travel Period when applying for the program, it is not possible to add this once you are in the U. S. d)


Why students are going to America? Every student has his own goal. Some of them want just to travel, some want to verify their language knowledge, and to use it in, some want to buy there the newest gadgets because they are cheaper in the U. S.

Also, what these people want, whatever they just have fun, earn experience, find new friends… But sponsors also have some goals too. They’ve written this one: The goals of the Work & Travel program are to 1. Facilitate peace, tolerance, and understanding through international exchange, global adventure, and intercultural interaction. 2. Provide an opportunity for young people from around the world to challenge themselves through learning to work, grow, and live in another country and culture. 3. Enable young people an affordable option to participate in a quality summer work & travel program. )

Problems with the program.

For someone Work and Travel is a profit, for others, it's fear. There are a lot of firms-phantoms that take the money and do nothing. In advertisings is written that “You can travel all U. S. only for 200$”, in other –“only for 600$”. Is it true? Is it possible to earn more then you give and also make an adventure? No! One of the owners of Work and Travel said that maximum you need to pay 2300 or 2600 $. It is the bill for some of the verifications. That is some of the tariffs that you need to pay for the program: 1065 $-only to find a job in the U.S.A., to issue a contract of employment, health insurance, for a letter of recommendation to get a social security number, ID card Intrax (such as identity cards), form DS27 19 (on the basis of which offer a visa), payment service, charged by the United States from all participants in the program; 100 $ - for the services of the company; 131 $- for the visa, this amount is paid to the Embassy;  about 700 $ - the price of a plane ticket. In total, the student must pay about 2000 $ for short-term employment contracts in America.

Another problem-every 3-d student doesn’t return home in a time of vise. In 2007 the U. S. Embassy issued a visa for more than 5000 students for the program "Summer Work and Travel". Despite the fact that one of the conditions for participation in the program is to return in Moldova on September 17, but about 20% of students who left in summer 2007 in the U. S. , did not return home, and more than 40% returned after the deadline for the return of the lectures. Almost all the rest stayed in the U. S. longer than specified in the visa period.

Ambassador of Moldova in the United States, Nicolae Chirtoaca, said: "During the summer period in the practice of frequent reception of the Embassy included notices from prison, reporting on cases of detention and arrest of our students who come for seasonal work. One of the reasons - the excess specified in the visa period of stay in the U. S. illegally, or change of employment not specified in the contract. "There are also cases where the Moldovan students were detained in the U. S. for petty theft in large stores. There are a lot more scary problems!

When you came to the USA- you don’t know anybody, you don’t know where you are, how and what to do: you are alone on strange side. When you come to the USA your job offer can cast you, and then you are left there without money, food, house, you don’t know the city, you can lose there without anything, without hope. But there are big advantages! One of them that you quickly become independent, because there is no one who will do your work, you will depend only on you. You are living alone; you must do your work only by yourself. And at last, you earn money, which you can spend for traveling or some things that you want.

Another advantage is that you learn more about US culture, life, habitats, and holidays. But there is a big unhappy aspect-you can use the Work and Travel program only 2 times, and when you get a visa the second time, the workers of the firm warn you that it is your last time of using the Work and Travel program. Looking at all aspects, problems, and spending, would we use the Work and Travel program? It’s difficult to question that needs a reasonable answer. If you want to see new places if you want to improve your spoken English if you want to learn something new, and if you strong enough to be alone-you will use this program.

We know that there are a lot of people, who use the W&T program. I’ve spoken with one some and that is what he tells me: His telling about first operations at his place with his documents: Today has set the seals to summer session and at once has gone, has handed over the student's record-book in Pegas. Like as tonight my documents should go already on DS-form reception. Somewhere in the middle of March means I will go to consulate... It is as usual quiet as a boa. Still, today has received one more JobOffer (yes-yes, here such in life not justice, at someone it isn't present absolutely, and at someone it is some).

From May, 4th till September, 4th the boss has sent such approximate accounting: MAY: $1650. 00 June: $2095. 00 July: $2285. 00 August: $2805. 00 September $375. 00 (this could be more if I were to extend your employment) Total: $9210. 00 The total amount looks anything so, quite. Especially considering that meal and habitation there the free... Here now it was puzzled, it is necessary to count up, how many I will earn if I go simply in SF for example and I search there for work, I find, I live and take somewhere meal... Nevertheless, the variant with CA is pleasant to me more so it is necessary to weigh all PRO AND CONTRA...

Then he told me about the process in the embassy: On input the passport you give, write down in magazine. You pass through the metal detector. You go on the 4th floor. There too you submit the passport, you pass through the framework. You pass in a waiting room small with chairs further and there behind partitions two windows where consuls sit as in exchange cash desk for armor glasses. At the left the woman, on the right the man... The man very long asks all and from its party constantly laughter is audible... The woman works quickly on the contrary. -Hello -Hello Please put your student’s book. What is your specialty? -Computer science in the economy -Why do you want to go to the U. S. A? -I like traveling.... -Did you travel before? -Yes, I was in Britain last summer - For work there went? (The sense was that, asked again type Sorry? ) -I was on English courses and..... -? -With a student visa in Britain I can work only 20 hours, so I work 20 hours. - Put the left finger for scanning. Now the right. Thanks. As whom you will work in states? (Has besides asked again) -I will work on the mobile concession unit... food concession... What concession? -Food... selling food. - Type and what to sell that you will be? -Hot dogs, popcorn... -Do you like hot dogs? -Yeeeeees! -Ok. Your visa approved. -Thank you. Bye. All dialogue has occupied on can minute-two... Very quickly all... When There is there that already on the automatic machine ask again Sorry? If It is hard, not clear In life the most important thing is sincerity - learn it to represent and the success is provided. Then he gave me some posts from his blog, which he was writing in the U. S. A: 1)Has once again understood, how badly I know English.

Has come on mail and here has understood that I vaguely represent how to tell a phrase "I should receive a parcel (but hasn't received)". Certainly, I could explain it and I have understood even from the first... But probably the impression I make the real guest worker (as in the Russian Federation different Asians). His opinion about the disadvantages of W&T if you want to practice your English: Gathered to America... Thought (has been assured): what big city, I want in a small American "village"... And that there was no Russian for they and in the Russian Federation suffice me...

Thought I will speak only in an English, to work with Americans, and so on... Well also what? Then all it has ended? I live in almost a million cities which are considered most "European", in the Russian area, removing habitation at Russian-speaking, my neighbor about the room - Russian-speaking, my flatmates - Russian-speaking, on work at me ALL Russian-speaking... And in addition, I write in the blog in Russian and I go to read Russian news and forums... And also his opinion about the USA and the UK: Here 3,5 months I in America (well hardly it is more).

Exactly so much I have stayed in last year in Britain. Also that I have noticed... Those 3,5 months in Britain I remember almost every day, all the summer long was one cool adventure. I remember as have arrived, as went to college as searched for work as went on it as we went to Oxford and Cambridge as somewhere went... all that was then. Even work is there was an adventure part, a part of the knowledge of Britain... 3,5 months in America... Well, how to tell... I remember the first 3 days after arrival, and continuous gray everyday life all rest, routine...

There are some fascinating moments (which are remembered when you re-read this diary), but also those as though in a fog... That is simply stupid working day after day and any adventures and romanticism. As-it it is not correct...


Looking at all aspects, problems, and spending, would we use the Work and Travel program? It’s a difficult question that needs a reasonable answer. If you want to see new places if you want to improve your spoken English if you want to learn something new, and if you strong enough to be alone-you will use this program.

Work & Travel USA program gives you a chance to be much more than a tourist! Experience life in the U. S. by working side-by-side with locals. It’s a real American experience that also helps to cover travel expenses!

Dialogue with the friend who is in the USA:

-Hello, Friend!


-How are you? I know hat you're in the USA. Is it true?

-Yes, I'm in the USA!

-What are you doing there? How do you get there?

-I've got here with help of the W program, and this program had helped me to find work.

-Where are you working?

-I'm working in a very beautiful restaurant.

-And how is going?

-It's a hard job. Very hard. I went through humiliation because I'm not from America.

-It's very sad.

-The first time it was very hard. I didn't know this city, I didn't know anyone. Everything was foreign to me. But I found a good place to live. I found Russian speaking people. I found new friends.

-And how are you now?

-I'm fine. I have a heavy but well-paid job, I have new friends, I've learned a lot of new things about the USA.

-Wow! You've learned so much thing about being in the USA! How do you think should I try this program?

-I think that this will give you good life experience, new knowledge about this country and about people who live there! Try it! You may go to one of the offices of the W&T program and they will give you all the information you need. It’s a real American experience that also helps to cover travel expenses! Bye.

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