Work and Travel USA – First steps

Hello everyone. This is the very first post I’m making about Work&Travel and there are lots more to come. I was thinking if I should do this post or not and then I thought about myself and how much I needed this when I was at the beginning of my journey.

Today is the beginning so I will not tell you all the information at once because it will be too much to take in. We’re going to do this step by step and I’ll be as explicit as I can. If you have any questions I’ll be more than happy to answer you so leave the questions in the comment section!

There are several requirements for program eligibility that any applicant must fulfill. You must be able to prove that you are:

1. Able to function in an English-speaking environment

2. Currently enrolled full time in a university outside of the USA

3. A full-time student at the time that you submit your application

4. Between the ages of 18 and 28

Ok. Now that we got that cover let’s start.

First of all I want to have a small motivational talk with you. You didn’t apply for the program yet because you’re not sure what to do? None of your friends want to go so you’ll be alone and that is freaking you out? You’re afraid you will go there and have a terrible summer? Don’t be scared. 

If you have any of that questions let me just tell you how wrong you are. This can be one of a lifetime chance and if you have all your info on point, nothing can go wrong. And let me tell you, even the students that had problems during their summer didn’t regret it. Maybe it’s one in a million student that regrets his summer but that will not be you, don’t worry.

There are pros and cons if you’re going alone or in a group. But if you’re going alone it’s a smarter move. I went alone because my friend bailed on me 2 weeks before applying for the program. Oh my God, I can’t be more grateful for that. I went alone and had the best summer of my life, becoming best friends with Americans, Russians and people from around the world. If you’re going with a group of friends it can be fun too, but be careful because at the end of the summer most of the groups split up because of bad fights they have and also you don’t get to make a lot of new friends because you’re already spending all your time with your friends from home. Also if you’re a shy/introvert person, don’t worry. I was just like you and still made tons of friends. Don’t think about it too much and you’ll be good. Just remember most or even all of the students you meet are there for the first time too.

Now that we are strong and ready for this new awesome challenge, what should we do next? Maybe we should do some research about the agencies in our country, not all of them are as serious as you may think so you need to be careful. If you know anybody who was in this program before you should ask them or if you don’t it’s very simple. There are tons of facebook groups where you can ask an opinion about any agency. You can just ask “What agency do you recommend ?”. Of course you’ll get plenty of options. But that’s good because it should be your decision after all. So you make a top 3 of what people told you and then you just go(or call if it’s not in your city) to each agency and talk to them. You will see for yourself which one makes you more comfortable and which one you think is more trust-worthy. My top 3 agencies were Student Travel, American Experience and US Travel. I chose Student Travel Cluj and I don’t regret it at all. Everything went smoothly. Now here are my tips :

  • don’t go with the cheapest agency you find online, it’s better to pay more and have an awesome summer than to be stingy and realize the agency is good for nothing
  • don’t make a rush decision, this is an important step and all the details for each agency matters ( the cost of the program, what they offer, what jobs they have and in what cities, etc)
  • if you only have one agency in your city, don’t go with that just because of that reason. I saw a lot of students searching for agencies in their city. It doesn’t matter where the agency is. I’m from Constanta and my agency was in Cluj and I never went to Cluj. We figured everything out over the phone and email and I didn’t have any problems
  • think about where you would like to work before applying to an agency, because some have more jobs near the ocean and some have more jobs in the mountain area

Let’s get to the last part of this post because I’m sure you’re getting exhausted from all this information. I know it’s a lot but this will help you on the long way. So let’s say you made up your mind about the agency and now they’re sending you hundreds of job offers and you’re like ” I like all of them/ I don’t like any”. Now again it’s time to do your research. You have 5 job offers at 2 restaurants, 1 hotel, a supermaket and a souvenirs store. Go on all of the facebook groups you gathered and search if anyone ever worked there. The job offer may sound incredibly perfect but you would be shocked to see that in reality it’s not even close. You need to know all the details that the agency is not telling you because they might not even know. You need to find someone who worked there before and ask about everything:

  • The most important thing is your boss. Is he a good, kind American or is he an as**ole ?
  • You need to know if he is offering the hours he says or you’ll find out that you’re working less or more than you thought.
  • You need to know if you can find a second job there or not. Believe me, you will need a second job if you want to have money to travel at the end.
  • You need to know if they offer accommodation, because if they don’t then you need to find it by yourself.
  • You need to know what are the costs of living there. Every city is different there, don’t get fooled if you have a big salary. It might be because the costs of living there are bigger than other cities.

Tips time : 

  • Always talk to your agency and tell them your honest opinion. They can’t read your mind. If you want something say it and if they can they will make it possible
  • Don’t get obsessed with just one city or just one kind of job. I saw a lot of students that only wanted to work in Ocean City or Wildwood because they heard you’ll find the paradise there. Bullsh*t. Ocean City is so full of students because of this rumor that you can barely find a second job there now. And you barely meet any American because most of the employees are Romanians and Russians.
  • Again don’t make a rush decision. DO NOT take a job before you do your research about it. It may look like the dream job in the dream city but dreams are not always reality.

 

I should stop now, right? These are the first steps in your exciting new experience and also the most important ones. I trust that you will make the best decision for you and that this is your start to an amazing summer. Maybe next time I’ll tell you a little bit of my perfect summer. Don’t forget to leave a comment if you have any questions and I’ll answer you ASAP .

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