Work and Travel – Mission Possible
Students unfamiliar with profitable summer endeavors had the chance to learn more about one of their options at a Work and Travel program, on Friday, September 21, at 6 p.m. in Skaptopara1 multipurpose room.
The presentation was organized by Marko Antic and Anjeza Llapi, resident assistants in Skaptopara 2. The hosts started with a brief introduction explaining that a WAT program allows students in universities to go work abroad for the summer. They went on presenting the bare bones of the process with the help of their guest speakers, Azaliya Zaripova, a third-year student, Ayna Pirkuliyeva, a second-year student, and Boris Marinov, a second-year student.
A power point presentation introduced the main agencies in Blagoevgrad to offer the service. Antic and Llapi recommended that students should check all agencies to find the one that suits them best. However, they added that for the time being they all have similar offers.
The hosts and their quest speakers explained that all agencies offer some kind of a discount for signing up for the WAT program by the end of September. The current price for signing up is around $500. The money will not have to be paid immediately. Depending on the agency the time frame will vary.
Additionally there will be a “Sevis” fee of $35, which Llapi said was a sort of insurance for the visa. The interview for a U.S. visa, for the people going there, will be another $160. Finally, students will have to pay for a ticket, which will be cheaper the sooner they get it. Additionally, students need some pocket money to live with. This money will pay for living expenses until their first paycheck, Antic said.
Antic added that the deadline for students to find a job offer on their own is February. If they could not, they could pay for the agency to find it for them. However, Llapi said that this is an additional fee of $200-300.
Llapi said that the documents students need to sign a contract with are a passport, certificate from the university that the applicant is a student there, and an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) card if the student wants one, because it assures a lot of discounts abroad. There are several other materials needed, which students can learn more about from the agency they choose.
All the speakers recommended the smaller towns located in or close to Cape Cod, Massachusetts as good working destinations. Llapi pointed out that commuting between jobs in a smaller town or between two-three smaller towns is easier than in a big city. Antic said that in smaller towns managers are more flexible regarding working hours because the jobs there are seasonal. Employers know that students go there for the work. Therefore, they realize that students will have more than one job. Pirkuliyeva said that because a lot of AUBG students go to the towns in Cape Cod employers are familiar with students from there, and have a good opinion of them.
Antic and Pirkuliyeva talked about Province Town, Mass. Llapi shared her experience from a WAT program in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., an island south of Cape Cod. Zaripova talked about how she spent her summer in New Jersey. Additionally, they recommended Nantucket, Mass. also in Cape Cod, but another profitable place to be according to Antic.
Marinov, unlike the rest of the speakers, went to Channel Islands in the United Kingdom. He bought the plane ticket, went without a job offer and found a job after the second week. He is content with his experience, but he said that he made less money than the guys who go to the U.S.
Pirkuliyeva said that students should be mentally and physically prepared for a stressful summer and working two-three jobs. However, Antic added that they would be well reimbursed for their efforts.
“I found the lecture very useful. Thank you very much, guys, because it was good information for us,” Kateryna Kostiuchenko, a first-year student said, “I think lots of people will go to the States now.”
Both the hosts and the speakers said if anybody had additional questions they could ask them at any time.