BridgeUSA – J1 SWT

BridgeUSA - J1 SWT

WHAT TO EXPECT

 

About Work and Travel USA

You are participating in the J-1 Summer Work Travel program. The primary purpose of your J-1 program is for cultural exchange. Please note that you may not earn enough funds from working in the U.S. to recover the costs or expenses of your program. If you are only interested in making money, this is not the program for you. As part of your exchange, you are allowed to work in temporary or seasonal positions within the program start and end date on your DS-2019 Form. Also, you are not entering the U.S. on a tourist visa (B2). You are required to work and to comply with the terms of your program and Training Plan.

The Exchange Visitor Program fosters global understanding through educational and cultural exchanges. As an exchange visitor in the U.S., you are required to return to your home/school country upon completion of your program to share your exchange experiences. EXUBERANT encourages you to share your cultural activity experiences with us by sending us photos and taking the time to share your experiences when you submit your monthly monitoring questionnaires.

Work & Travel USA brings so many benefits. You will;

  • Challenge yourself and gain independence and maturity
  • Explore life in the USA with maximum freedom and at minimum cost
  • Earn money to use to travel around the country at the end of your program
  • Get first-hand experience of working in American business culture that will enhance your future career prospects
  • Enhance your resume and give yourself a competitive edge in the jobs marketplace
  • Make friends from all over the world
  • Have lots of fun!

Once you complete your program, you may travel in the U.S. for up to 30 days before returning to your home/school country provided you return before the official academic start date of your university. You will find more detailed information regarding employment and travel periods later in this handbook.

Setting a Budget

Below is a helpful guide of average expenses in the U.S. Exact costs will vary based on different locations throughout the U.S. This only serves as a guide to assist you with creating a budget based on your hours and the wages earned from your work agreement.
Be sure that the dollar amount of funds you are required to bring with you to the U.S. will cover your first several weeks of expenses until you can start earning money in the U.S.

Average costs:

RENT$600 – $1250 per month(Based on a room in an apartment or house with shared kitchen, living room, bathroom)
RENTAL DEPOSIT$100 – $500Paid along with the first month’s rent, and may or may not be refundable
UTILITIES$100 – $300 per monthMay include electricity, water, phone, gas, trash pickup
UTILITY DEPOSITS$25 – $150It May be required by some rental properties
GROCERIES$150 – $500 per monthBased on your personal choices
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION$4.00 – $20.00per one-way trip
PERSONAL TRANSPORT$5.00 – $25.00per one-way trip

Optional Living Expenses and Travel

  • Cell phone monthly fee: $35 – $100
  • Cell phone activation: $50-$150(Usually charged to activate the phone at the beginning of plan)
  • Meals (dining out): $15.00 and up per meal plus tip
  • Movie Ticket: $10.00 – $15.00
  • Hotel/motels: $99 and up per night
  • Youth hostels: $20 – $75 per night (where available) 48

Average Price Guide for Basics

  • Cereal (1 package): $5.00
  • Milk (1 gallon): $4.00
  • Bread (1 loaf): $2.50
  • Fast Food Meal: $8.00
  • Large Pizza: $18.00
  • Bananas (1 pound): $5.00
  • Average Lunch: $12.00
  • Soda (6 pack): $4.00

Jobs & Working

You will choose among a great variety of seasonal jobs in the USA. You can work at restaurants, hotels, retail stores, amusement parks, ski resorts, or national parks. EXUBERANT works with several well-chosen Visa Sponsors who provide reliable jobs with competitive salaries and many even offer affordable housing.

Seasonal jobs usually let you earn enough money to use to travel around the country at the end of your program.

Below is a sample list of common work and travel job categories.

AMUSEMENT PARKS

  • Admissions
  • Parking host
  • Cashier
  • Ride operator
  • Games operator
  • Guest services

RETAIL STORES

  • Cashier
  • Store clerk
  • Ice cream shop worker
  • Product stocker

RESTAURANTS

  • Waiter/waitress
  • Host/hostess
  • Dishwasher
  • Busser
  • Prep cook
  • Line cook

HOTELS

  • Housekeeping
  • Waitstaff
  • Front desk clerk
  • Guest services
  • Concierge
  • Gift shop clerk

SKI RESORTS

  • Lift operator
  • Ticket sales
  • Snow removal
  • Cashier
  • Rental shop attendant

Prohibited jobs at Work and Travel USA program.

Following the program regulations, you are not allowed to work at some certain kinds of jobs as in below.

  • In positions that could bring notoriety or disrepute to the Exchange Visitor Program;
  • In sales positions that require Students to purchase inventory that they must sell to support themselves;
  • In domestic help positions in private homes (e.g., child care, elder care, gardener, chauffeur);
  • As pedicab or rolling chair drivers or operators;
  • As operators or drivers of vehicles or vessels for which drivers’ licenses are required regardless of whether they carry passengers or not;
  • In positions related to clinical care that involves patient contact;
  • In any position in the adult entertainment industry (including, but not limited to jobs with escort services, adult book/video stores, and strip clubs);
  • In positions requiring work hours that fall predominantly between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.;
  • In positions declared hazardous to youth by the Secretary of Labor at Subpart E of 29 CFR part 570;
  • In positions that require sustained physical contact with other people and/or adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Universal Blood and Body Fluid Precautions guidelines (e.g., body piercing, tattooing, massage, manicure);
  • In positions that are substantially commission-based and thus do not guarantee that Students will be paid minimum wage following federal and state standards;
  • In positions involved in gaming and gambling that include direct participation in wagering and/or betting;
  • In positions in chemical pest control, warehousing, catalog/online order distribution centers;
  • In positions with traveling fairs or itinerant concessionaires;
  • In positions for which there is another specific J category (e.g., camp counselor, intern, trainee);
  • After November 1, 2012, in positions in the North American Industry Classification System’s (NAICS) Goods-Producing Industries occupational categories industry sectors 11, 21, 23, 31-33 numbers (set forth at bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag_index_naics.htm).

Health Insurance

The U.S. government requires all J-1 participants to be insured for the duration of their program. Failure to maintain insurance is a violation of your program and will result in the termination of your program even if your program has ended.

  • The program fee you pay covers the cost of the J-1 compliant insurance. More specific information regarding the medical insurance (including exclusions and limitations) can be found in your Program Materials when you log into your visa sponsor record.
  • You must validate your program upon your entry into the U.S. to be enrolled and covered on the policy. Please keep in mind that your insurance policy will expire on the end date listed on your DS-2019 Form. If you will be in the U.S. anytime after the end date on your DS-2019 Form, you are responsible for contacting your visa sponsor for an insurance extension. If you fail to notify your visa sponsor for additional coverage, it will result in your program termination as well as making you responsible for any medical expenses incurred.
  • If your program is shortened or terminated, your insurance coverage will also end.
  • The insurance policy is offered through an insurance company, not Exuberant. Exuberant cannot guarantee the insurance company’s payment of claims. You are ultimately responsible for paying any medical costs that exceed the limits, where conditions are excluded from payment, for excess charges due to not using a network provider, etc. You are also responsible for completing a claim form and providing any documentation requested for the insurance company to process your claim within the required timeframe.
  • After reviewing the Exuberant & Program Sponsor insurance materials, you may want additional insurance coverage benefits while you are in the U.S. It will be your responsibility to purchase an additional policy on your own.