A Transatlantic WAT Journey with Orange
Head over heels in preparation for your Work and Travel adventure in the USA?
As you enter a time of constant raids to the Register Office and the Orange office in Blagoevgrad for academic confirmation letters, visa interviews, work permits and job offer applications, be advised and make a note to the following guides and tips.
The Work and Travel program allows you to work legally in the USA for four months, usually within the period from May to September. In order to participate you should secure a job offer, which you can find by yourself or apply for one through Orange BG.
Finding a Job Offer by Yourself
As we enter the start of March, be reminded that the time to enroll in the program is depleting. In case you decide to search for a job offer by yourself, here are the steps which you should follow:
1. Ask a friend for a referral – most of your friends have probably already participated in the program. They can surely ask their employer if he/she wants to hire you for the summer.
2. Do not be afraid to contact the employers by yourself – choose a state and a city you want to work in, find the restaurants and hotels in town and start applying.
3. Don’t give up – If you can’t find a job offer by yourself, you can apply for one of the positions at the upcoming in-person interviews in March or look at Orange’s calendar for additional offers.
Orange BG offers various positions in Maryland, Cape Cod, Alaska, Virginia, Florida, New Jersey, Nevada and California. The starting pay rate for most of them is up to $11 per hour.
An exclusive feature to the Orange programs is the agreement to pay your program fee within the first month after coming back from your travel. The offer is available for students from all nationalities and one simply needs to ask for it in the local Orange BG office.
Luiza Manova is a third-year AUBG student with three Work and Travel summers behind her back.
“It is a truly great experience, which teaches you valuable lessons to carry for the rest of your life,” Manova shared. “ It was not all sunshine and rainbows but I am thankful for both misfortunes and successes because they helped me grow. I met people from across the world which gave me new eyes. I made memories from places and friendships for a lifetime.”
Just like the majority of other AUBG student participants in the Work and Travel program she continues to cover her university fees with the money she has earned in the USA.
First weeks in USA
Settling and getting at piece with the new surroundings is no easy task. Here are some practical tips to one’s life within the first few weeks in the USA.
Get a job offer with provided housing – sometimes housing is very difficult to find, especialy if you visit the USA for the first time
Look for transfer options from the airport to your employer before your flight.
Follow the agency instructions –that includes reading any materials regarding medical insurance, getting a social security number, opening a bank account or cashing checks.
Buy a pre-paid phone – it is always a good idea to have a valid phone number when you apply for a job, because most of the employers will not hire you right away, but may call you when the season starts and their businesses get busy. Some of the mobile companies that offer pre-paid services are T-Mobile; AT&T; TravFone.
Speak to the right person – always ask to speak with the supervisor or the manager of the place where you apply.
Ask a friend for an advice – you probably have friends who have worked in the region before. Ask them for an advice as it always helps.
Look around for signs – most of the places that need additional staff will place signs such as ‚Now Hiring‘, ‚Help Wanted‘ or ‚Job Openings‘.
Prepare your CV – even if one place is not hiring at the moment, it is always a good idea to leave your well-prepared CV with a phone number in it.
Be persistent – finding a second job is not easy, but it is not impossible. Just do not stop trying and coming back to the places that you applied at.
Pay rates and Expenses
During the program students mainly work in hotels, restaurants, theme parks and stores. Although you will probably work a lot, during the summer you will still have time for having fun, going to the beach, visiting other cities and engaging in other activities. Work and Travel gives you the chance to get to know a new culture, meet new people from all over the world and visit some of the most famous landmarks in the USA.
Due to the various pay rates in every state, the payment per hour differs. Here are some of the minimum wages per hour for the most popular states: Massachusetts – $11.00; Alaska – $9.80; California – $10.50; Maryland – $9.25; New Jersey – $8.50; Virginia – $7.25; Delaware – $8.25; Maine – $9.00 and Washington – $11.00.
In addition to the pay rate, before choosing a job offer, you must consider also the living standards in the chosen state. For example, although the pay rate in Massachusetts and Alaska is higher, the cost of living and the groceries there are much higher compared the other states.
The expenses that you will have to meet during the summer include ones for housing, food and the shopping. Expect to spend around $1500 – $2000 for covering your housing during the summer.