Tag Archives: inter-exchange

An Immigrant’s Actual J-1 Visa Work & Travel Experience

So many young people from around the world come to the US every year as part of Work & Travel program. Most of them have never been to America and find themselves very excited from the first minute they arrive into the country. So what is so special and unique about Work & Travel program?

First of all, it is the opportunity to see one of the greatest countries in the history of the humanity. I remember how thrilled I was when the plane landed in Washington DC. And even though I still had to switch to another plane (my original destination was Seattle, WA) I could not believe that I officially was in the country of freedom, a country, which was established on the principal of equal opportunities, a country, which produced so many greatest minds.

I read tons of books about America. And here I was in the middle of Washington Dulles airport all overwhelmed with my thoughts and not believing my own eyes. I know for sure that most of Work & Travel students experience the same type of emotions as I did on that day: excited and proud to be in the United States of America.

A week had not passed by since the moment of my arrival as the reality already hit me pretty harshly. Accommodation, which was provided by my employer, was an old piece of junk. For a person, who had traveled around and seen world and stayed at tens of students’ hostels this “apartment” looked like hell: I did not unpack my luggage – I was scared to touch anything in that place.

My job is even worse: a dirty pub, which not only made no money but also had a reputation of one of the most dangerous places in the city. And once again I could not believe my eyes: however, this time questioning myself: “What the hell am I doing here?”

The solution came to me very soon after meeting a couple of other Work & Travel students with similar problems. All of us ended up having the worst jobs, which Americans would never do and all of us wanted a change. Therefore, we moved to NYC. I remember standing in the middle of Times Square at around 10pm on a weekend night all surrounded by hurrying New-Yorkers, thousands of tourists with their huge cameras, busy taxi drivers, tasty Kebob’s smells, dusty air, and of course bright gigantic advertising boards.

That night changed my understanding about America all at once. The next day I found a job very easily and even though I changed my jobs about 5 others times I was the happiest Work & Travel student in the world as I found NYC and MYSELF – ALL AT ONCE AND FOREVER.

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