What is Summer Work and Travel program?
Summer Work and Travel (Work and Travel USA) is a well-known program that has been one of the longest standing cultural and educational exchange programs enabling legal work in the US territory, discovering American culture and mastering English skills.
What is the purpose of the program
The program enables Polish students to undertake legal work in the US territory during academic holidays for maximum 4 months, between May 25 and September 25. Its organizers are US institutions, the so-called "sponsoring organizations", authorized by the Department of State, and their representatives in Poland. Work and Travel is organized by IECenter, sponsored by J1 Sponsors. Sponsors was authorized by the US government to conduct the program and to issue DS-2019 forms which enable participant to obtain a J-1 visa and undertake legal work in the territory of the USA.
4 months of work and fun
The maximum length of the program is four months plus extra 30 days designated for traveling (the so-called Grace Period).
Is it for me?
Work and Travel USA is a perfect way of spending holidays for students aged 18 and above. Students participating in the program mainly seek adventure, they desire to discover a new culture, improve their English skills and once they finish their work, they set off on tours of a lifetime to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Florida, or Hawaii. The J-1 visa enables participants to undertake second job at a time after getting the J-1 Sponsor approval. Thanks to this, you will be able to put aside more money for the trips planned and for experiencing American culture. Working and earning are not the main goals of the program; they merely help to put the program into practice. One of the requirements for participating in the program is self-reliance.
Because our offer provides you with reliable employers whom we have been cooperating with for many years who are mostly based in tourist destinations Thanks to this, when deciding to participate in the program you know straight away where you will spend a holiday of your lifetime. You may apply for the program in the company of your mates and no one will separate you, you will be sent to the same location. However, if you decide to fly on your own to the USA, do not worry, as during the recruitment process you will be put in contact with people headed for the same location as you. This will allow you to make arrangements regarding flight, accommodation and planned tours to Las Vegas, Miami, San Francisco or New York before you leave Poland. We ourselves have participated in Work and Travel USA many times; we know the United States through and through and we are ready to answer almost all of your questions.
The US Embassy in Warsaw and the US Consulate General in Cracow invite all students to take part in "Summer Work and Travel" program. IECenter (International Experience Center) is one of the offices accredited by the US Embassy, which used to cooperate with it under the program Summer Work and Travel.
Conditions of participation in Work and Travel USA program
SELF-RELIANCE-the applicant needs to be self-reliant and resourceful, ready to switch to a plan B.
STUDENT STATUS (during an interview at the US consulate a student must hold a credit book with pass grades for winter term and a student identity card validated for winter and summer terms of 2019/2020 – valid through October 2020)
The applicant must not be taking a leave of absence during their stay at
The passport must be valid through 15 May 2021 at least
English language competence at least at a communicative level
According to the US Embassy guidelines, the program may be entered by:
Students who undergo a full educational program at academic institutions: full-time, part-time as well as evening studies
Full-time students of post-secondary schools, who apply for participation in the program between the 2nd and 3rd terms
Students, who transfer from one academic institution to another (e.g. from undergraduate studies to graduate studies), as long as they continue education on a full time basis
Last-year students, who at the moment of applying still enjoy a student status, even if they will be completing their studies in the course of the program
There is no age limit, however, older-age students have to face a more thorough consideration of their applications
Repeated participation in the program is allowed
Knowledge of English is required at the level which enables participation in the program. Language competence is evaluated by the consul during a conversation
Foreign students studying at Polish academic institutions may apply according to the same rules as Polish citizens. However, we advise that they should apply for their visas early enough before the program commences as their cases may require an additional and lengthy administration procedure
Summer Work and Travel 2020
1. The first step involves completing an e-application for Summer Work and Travel USA program and paying a fee – it is a prerequisite for reserving a spot on the program.
2. The second step in the application process is making a video recording of the so-called self-presentation and sending scans of the complete set of application documents. It needs to be done within 14 days after the first installment of the program fees has been paid. You will receive application documents once you have completed the e-application. The documents include:
Completed application forms
Signed program rules
Signed fee schedule
References from two different sources
A photocopy of student identity card
A university certificate of student status
A photocopy of passport
A CV in English
3. In order to check your communication competence, you are interviewed in English by our office representative via Skype. During the interview you decide on the location. Before the acceptance, the sponsor or the employer may wish to interview the applicant again in the course the recruitment period.
4. On the basis of the interview and the submitted documents your profile is created and then sent to the Sponsor in order to confirm your participation in the program.
5. The Sponsor issues a DS-2019 form which is essential when applying for a J-1 visa.
6. After you have received the DS-2019, you complete an e-visa application using the specimen obtained from us and you send the passport by a courier service to our office.
7. Next, we deliver the visa documents to the US consulate in Warsaw. The consul sets an appointment for your interview in Warsaw, for which you must appear in person.
8. After obtaining a visa we organize an obligatory information meeting – the orientation – for all students who travel to the USA with us. During the meeting we discuss the most important matters concerning the travel, we present US customs, give tips on how to seek accommodation or another job. The orientation is held in Warsaw on the day of your appointment at the consulate.
9. Purchasing the flight ticket. According to the US Embassy guidelines, it is not advisable to purchase a flight ticket prior to obtaining a visa. The information on the embassy website reads, "Do not buy tickets until you have a visa. We will not hasten the process of considering visa applications due to early purchase of tickets." If you choose to buy the airline ticket in advance, make sure you can return it or reschedule the flight at extra charge. Check terms and conditions of airline tickets before you book.
If you buy a ticket for a flight scheduled to depart too early and still have not received your visa, it is likely that airline ticket terms and conditions will not allow you to reschedule the flight. You may lose your ticket and obtaining reimbursement of the airline ticket cost will prove impossible. You may buy your flight ticket yourself or through our office. If you opt for individual ticket purchase, you will not be charged extra by us.
Costs of Summer Work and Travel Program USA 2020
1000 PLN Application fee
1250 USD Program fee
160 USD Visa
35 USD Sevis
Flight ticket by yourself
2 Installments: 1st 1000 PLN when applying for a program, 2nd is paid 2 weeks after application
1000 PLN Application fee
1390 USD Program fee
160 USD Visa
35 USD Sevis
750USD / 900 USD (depends on the location of the employer) for example flight ticket to NYC or LA
1 Installment: Paid all together
Gold package includes: cancelation insurance policy (when something happens that you can’t go on a program and you have document proof you get all money back for example in case of visa denial you will be refunded by the insurance company.
Why choose IECenter?
We have been running the Summer Work and Travel program since 2007 – we are very experienced.
Thousands students from all of Poland have already travelled with us!
Transparent conditions and costs. The price given in the "Costs of Summer Work and Travel Program" bookmark does not contain any hidden fees.
Entire application procedure is executed by means of electronic communication, by telephone or traditional mail.
All the formalities related to your travel may be organized remotely. Our first direct contact with you shall only take place at the Embassy.
We will support you during the application for a visa at the US
Consulate in Warsaw. Our representative will accompany you while at the US Consulate, making the visa application process less stressful.
A pre-departure information meeting is held on the day of your visa application in Warsaw or online.
With us you can go to the same location together with your
mates! If you would like to join the program with a gang of friends, you have made the best choice! We are the only office in Poland to guarantee that you will go to the same place and may even use the same offer! The biggest group of student buddies who joined us consisted of 9 people. Do you feel like beating a record? Contact us and we will offer you a special discount!
We assist in purchasing flight tickets. It's up to you if you want to organize the flight yourself or use our help and fly in the company of fellow students.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below we present answers to questions most frequently asked by students who consider participating Summer Work and Travel USA program. We hope our answers will help dispel any doubts you have and make it easier for you to decide on going to the USA.
If you need more infomation call us (668 006 066)!
1. Why is the program worth entering?
Participation in Work and Travel USA opens up multiple opportunities, e.g. it enables you to:
Discover American Culture
Master your English skills
Visit the USA
Gain professional experience with US employers
Develop international friendships
Experience the adventure of a lifetime
2. There's no IECenter office in my home town,
so how can I apply?
Students entering W&T with IECenter come from all over Poland. They very often study in Poznan, Cracow, Gdansk, Wroclaw or Warsaw. All the formalities may be executed electronically, via telephone, Skype or traditional post / courier service. You needn't come to Szczecin specially. The pre-departure meeting, the so-called "Orientation", is held in Warsaw on the J-1 visa application day. The interview with the office representative is conducted in English via Skype.
3. I don't feel like traveling alone.
Can I meet the other participants headed for the same location in the USA even before the departure?
Yes, for other participants we publish a list of people headed for the same location before the departure so that you may get to know each other better, plan their travel together. Moreover, we create a Facebook group for those going to the same location.
4. Can I participate in Work and Travel with my friends?
Yes, absolutely. The biggest group of friends we sent to the same location was 9 people. All of them ended up in the same location. Depending on your preferences and your level of English you may work for the same employer or for different ones in the same location and stay together. The possibility to send the entire group to one place depends on how soon you apply. The number of offers for groups of friends is limited. The sooner you sign up, the bigger the chance we have of guaranteeing that you will spend holiday together. We confirm your travel as a group at the very first moment you sign up.
5. Is my level of English good enough?
We accept students, who are fluent in English as well as who just have "communicative" level of English. It depends mostly on your level of English whether you qualify for the program and whether you get the job offer/ the position you apply for. Individuals whose level of English is insufficient will receive reimbursement of the first installment (PLN 1000) of the program fee. The interview during which your English skills are evaluated will be held, as soon as we receive the complete set of your application documents.
6. How to combine exam session
with participation in Work and Travel program?
The majority of available Work and Travel offers start at the end of May and the beginning of June. That's because in the USA tourist season starts earlier than in Poland and most American tourists begin their vacation in late May. Therefore, there are less offers available at the end of June and in July. Note also that peak season coincides with 4th of July, the Independence Day, after which date American employers do not hire more students. They need time to train and prepare you for work. Students participating in the program organize an early exam session on their own and pass their exams at earlier dates. We will gladly issue a certificate of participation in the program. It can help you to talk to university authorities or examiners about early completion of each course. Do your best in order to pass the exams before the departure. We all know that taking books, notes and other materials to the USA is pointless. You will forget about them while in the US, we can guarantee you that.
7. Do you provide a guarantee for each student
who participate in W&T that we will get the job?
When you apply for the program you choose the offer which interests you from the available offers. Some of the employers have put trust in us and it is our office representatives who decide if they can accept you (Texas and the Outer Banks, NC). The other offers organized by the Sponsor require an extended procedure. First, you are interviewed by IECenter representative, record a video clip (self-presentation), then you go through an interview with the Sponsor and the employer (via Skype or phone), in which case the latter decides on the acceptance. If either the employer or the Sponsor rejects you, you will be able to use another available offer.
8. What does "Sponsoring Organization"
Sponsoring Organization is an US based firm which is accredited by the Department of State with organizing Work and Travel USA program. The entire program is supervised by the US government and without the accreditation of the Sponsor wouldn't be able to issue DS-2019 form, on the basis of which you apply for a J-1 visa. Each Work and Travel agency in Poland has its own "Sponsor" in the US. The Sponsor acts as an IECenter representative and your guardian in the US. Of course they will not hold your hand at all times but they will be there to answer your queries, help solve your problems and watch so that neither you nor your employer breaks the program regulations. What we, the Sponsor and the US Embassy care about most is your safety.
9. How long does the recruitment process take?
Some students start signing up for the program early in September. The whole process until the moment of issuing DS-2019 work permits lasts a few months. You apply for your visa in April or May. You may not apply for visa before you receive pass grades for winter term.
10. Is there a deadline
for applying for the program?
We run the recruitment until vacant places are available. Individuals who wish to go to one location with their mates are asked to contact us urgently.
11. What are fee payment dates?
The first installment (application fee) must be paid before submitting application documents.
12. What is included in the program's price?
The price includes insurance, costs related to organizing and issuing the DS- 2019 form, assistance with completing application documents and visa applications, help with choosing job offers, pre-departure meeting (Orientation), the Sponsor's assistance (IECenter representative in the US) in the course of the program.
13. Is insurance included in the price?
Yes. The price of the program includes insurance according to the US Department of State's guidelines. You must pay extra for every additional month and/or beyond the date on DS-2019.
14. Shall I buy the flight ticket
or will you do it for me?
You may buy the airline ticket either alone or use our help. It's up to you. If you decide on purchasing the ticket by yourself, you needn't worry – we will not charge you extra. We suggest that while you consider one of the firms organizing Work and Travel USA, you should read the conditions of the contract very closely. As it turns out, they often contain hidden costs. On our website, in the bookmark titled ‘the costs of the program’, it is all explained very clearly.
IECenter charges no hidden costs!
15. Will you help me get a Visa?
Summer Work and Travel participants may not apply for J-1 visas on their own. We help complete visa applications. Also, our representative accompanies you in the consulate on the visa application day. 99% students applying for a visa get one.
16. What about the accommodation?
A) In most places program participants are provided with accommodation. In this case you do not need to worry about seeking accommodation for your stay in the US. Along with a job offer you get some space in a room in a house hosting the other students/employees of a given company. Students usually stay in 2-3 bedded rooms. You pay for accommodation on a weekly basis.
B) Some employers do not help organize accommodation. If so, you will have to seek accommodation on your own. We offer our assistance and advice on how and where to place your advertisement. All our students prior to leaving for the USA have their accommodation organized. Most frequently, students who go on Work & Travel rent rooms from US families. Sometimes it is possible to rent the whole house for a bigger group to stay in. In each case a deposit is required (reimbursed after you vacate the accommodation; in some cases, if a participant leaves the apartment before the contract terminates he/she loses the deposit). Accommodation cost depends on location. On average it amounts to USD 100-130 a week per person.
17. When in the USA, can I undertake extra work?
Yes, most students who go on Work&Travel decide to undertake additional work, and this enables them to save up extra dollars for the planned trips which they set off on after finishing the work part of the program. Before you start working in the second workplace you must contact the Sponsor agency so they could check the second employer and confirm it. The first employer, the one who submits the offer and thanks to whom you may travel to the USA is the most important and you must adjust your work schedule accordingly. Do not forget about it!
Work and Travel is not a gainful program.
The first part, during which you work, is only supposed to help you fulfil the exchange objectives which include: discovering American culture, improving your English skills, gaining professional experience in the international environment, developing international friendships. Work is to meant help you make a living during your stay. If your intention is earning a lot of money, we suggest that you go to Great Britain, the Netherlands or Germany.