Internship USA

The Internship USA program is designed to provide current students, recent university graduates and young professionals with the unique opportunity to gain valuable practical experience in the USA for up to 18 months.

Undertaking practical career related training with a US host company should be an experience that allows you to strengthen the professional skills that you  developed during your studies or past employment and gain knowledge and experience that will promote future career development.


With the high unemployment rate currently in South Africa and across the world, career related international work experience is undoubtedly an invaluable addition to any CV.

Taking up an internship or trainee position in the USA is a mutually rewarding experience for both you as a trainee and the company that hosts you. Through structured on-the job training, you are able to learn useful American methodologies and professional techniques while helping your host company internationalize and diversify.

In partnership with top US J-1 Sponsors, Chilli Adventures, secure business internships with top US companies for up to 18 months.  Chilli also assist you with all the documentation needed to apply for your internship visa (including DS-2019 sponsorship) and work with your host company to formulate the training plan required for J1 visa approval.

Internships are secured in the major US business hubs; New York, Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego and are currently available in the fields of Finance, Marketing, Social Media, Law, Operations, IT, Engineering, Administration, Business Development and Entrepreneurship amongst others.  

Many young South Africans are currently enjoying internships in the U.S, including finance on the NY stock exchange, IT in Silicon Valley, San Francisco and hotel management in Chicago.   Career Training USA is the ultimate way to ‘leave the herd behind’ and get ahead of the game!


Applicants for Internship USA MUST:

  • Be aged 19+
  • Have fluent English language skills to function in a business setting.
  • Have no criminal record.
  • Be independent and self-motivated. You will be required to engage pro-actively in the application process as well as research your travels and job position fully.  It is vital to understand that living and working in a new country will be challenging at times and is a learning and life experience, not simply a holiday.
  • Sufficient funds to cover program costs and flights as well as living and accommodation costs whilst on the internship. You will receive a stipend each month (normally $500). This will mainly help cover food and transportation to & from work.

There are two sub categories of the Internship USA program – Intern and Trainee.  Your status, age and experience will determine which you qualify for:


  • Currently enrolled full time and pursuing studies at degree level (2nd year or above) within the field of your proposed internship or graduated no more than 12 months prior to the program start date.
  • Your internship must be full time in nature and for no longer than 12 months in duration.


  • You must be a degree graduate with a minimum of 12 months work experience within the field of your proposed internship or have a minimum of 5 years relevant work experience within the field of the internship. Note: Work experience must be acquired outside the USA.
  • Your internship must be full time in nature and run for up to 18 months.
    Note: Hospitality internships can run for a maximum of 12 months

Important Note

The Internship USA program is not open to positions that are classified as “unskilled” by the U.S. Department of State regulations.  These positions include (but are not limited to) waitrons, drivers, receptionists, housekeepers, porters etc.  If you’re currently a full time student looking for casual work or work that does not qualify under the Internship USA program, consider Winter Work & Travel USA.

Season & Duration

You can elect to take up your internship at any point in the year.  Your status, age and experience will determine which category of the Internship USA program you qualify for and therefore the maximum duration of stay in the USA.


  • Your internship should run for a maximum of 12 months.


  • Your internship should run for between 12-18 months.
    Note: hospitality internships are for a period of 12 months maximum

In addition to the duration of your work visa, you will have up to 30 days at the end of your contract that will allow for a period of travel and sightseeing in the USA.

Why do Internship USA?

There are many compelling reasons to take up an internship in the USA.  Most notably, of course is the big gap that exists between the worlds of study and work.  Whilst a university degree used to set you apart from the crowd and give you an advantage in securing full time employment, the number of people entering the job market now with degrees is staggering. So if formal tertiary education wont set you apart from the herd, what will?

Structured, meaningful work experience relevant to your field of study is what makes the difference when it comes to getting  ahead.  Chilli work with over 400 top US employers across key industries in major cities such as New York City, San Francisco, LA and San Diego.  All are committed to a meaningful and valuable experience for both intern and company.

An international internship, unlike one done locally, will allow you to gain global skills, and experience life in a way that will truly set you apart from other graduates. Many companies we place with are small to mid sized and as a result interns are exposed to a wider variety of projects than with a larger company (you will not simply be making the coffee and doing the filing!)  The growth that you will experience will not only be in the workplace, but also personally, as you immerse yourself in the day to day life of a new country.  Life skills such as problem solving, independence, and creative thinking result from the challenges of working in a new environment.  An international internship is undoubtedly one of the best investments you can make in your future.


Top reasons to do an Internship Overseas:

  • Set yourself apart from your peers – a CV to envy
  • Learn US and international methodologies
  • Gain confidence and other valuable ‘soft’ skills
  • Develop a global perspective
  • Learn about yourself – what you’re good at, like and don’t like
  • Experience living and working in a new country
  • Discover a new way of life
  • Network and make friends from across the globe
  • Take initiative and BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE!

Positions & Locations

Approximately 400+ top business internships are available at key locations in the USA (primarily New York, Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego).  The range of industries covered include:US Internship Industries

  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Law, Operations,
  • IT
  • Engineering
  • Administration
  • Business Development
  • Entrepreneurship  

Examples of Past Positions

Chilli have access to top business internships across the USA in a range of different industries.  At any given time there are 400+ positions available.   Upon program acceptance your application will be put forward for appropriate placements and an interview will be set up with the respective employer.   Below is a selection of the types of position you could expect.  Contact Chilli for more information on current positions available and which may be perfect for you!

Position – Internet Marketing Internship
Industry – Marketing Consulting
Location – New York, NY
Duration – 4 months
Hours per week – 32
Description of Internship:  
1. The Intern will assist with online marketing projects and business accounts.
2. Primary goal is to increase the visibility of Blue Polo Interactives clients through social media outreach and online marketing efforts.
3. By the end of the internship, the intern should have a comprehensive sense of the online media and marketing business, using technologies that are at the forefront of the industry.
Skills Required:
1. Studying towards a Bachelors or Masters Degree in a relevant field (marketing interest preferred)
2. Energetic and passionate with an entrepreneurial and flexible spirit
3. PC literate (Word, Excel, Outlook)
Compensation – $500 value stipend per month


Position:  Social Media Internship
Industry:  Mobile and Social – Technology Industry
Location: San Francisco, CA
Duration Minimum: 3 month commitment
Hours Per Week: 32- 40
Description of Internship:
1. Marketing projects involving our Mobile and Social platform technology
2. Expand our rapidly growing startup internationally
Required Skills:
1. Tech savvy
2. Experience using a mobile device
3. Avid user of social media
4. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
5. Creative thinker
6. Bonus if applicants speak Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese or Korean
Compensation: $1000 / month


Interviews and Hiring Events

There are series of 3 interviews that you will undertake prior to being hired.

1. Chilli Interview – If deemed eligible for the Internship USA program you will be invited to attend an interview with Chilli Adventures.  We will outline the program in more detail and answer any questions you may have.  Most importantly we will also assist you with the formulation of a professional CV and prepare you for the up coming interviews with  US J-1 sponsors and ultimately the US employer.
2. US J-1 Sponsor Interview – This will allow our US placement partners an opportunity to get to know you a bit better.  If you have been put forward for an internship placement already it will also allow you the opportunity to get more detail about the employer and position.
3. US Internship Company Interview – This  is the big one!  Your interview will be conducted with the HR manager or senior management from the company.  You must have done your research on the company and be well prepared to impress.  Don’t worry if this is your first professional interview.  We’ll guide you through the process.

NOTE: Interviews are conducted throughout the year and almost always done over Skype.  It is imperative that all interviews are approached in a highly professional manner as you would any face to face career related interview.

Independent Job Search

Chilli have access some fantastic positions in a broad range of industries.  In addition, all companies have been screened to a high level and positions are all compliant with strict J-1 visa regulations.  However if you have secured your own internship or plan to find your own position Chilli can assist with the J-1 visa sponsorship, intern training plan and program implementation (required by the US State Department).

Perhaps you have support from your academic institution in finding an internship position, or you may already have established contacts with US companies if you’ve been on the Winter Work Travel USA program with Chilli Adventures.  Maybe you’re starting from scratch. Whatever your situation, Chilli Adventures can point you in the right direction to locate an appropriate training position in the US.

How do I Apply?

The Internship USA application process will typically take 2-3months as outlined below:

  • Attend an Information Session with your local Chilli Adventures program co-ordinator and get clued up on all aspects of the program
  • Apply Online, and agree to Program T’s & C’s
  • Pay your application deposit R950 (use your full name as a reference) and receive your Chilli Portal Log In details.  This allows you access to all your information as well as documentation that you are required to complete for the program.
    Note: Application deposits are refunded in full if you are not accepted onto the program by Chilli
  • Attend an interview with a Chilli Adventures program co-ordinator in your area, or over Skype.  Your acceptance will be confirmed at your interview
  • Submit additional documentation including CV, references, qualifications and medical form.  Chilli will assist you with ensuring that these documents are proofed and represent you in the best possible way.
  • Make first deposit of Sponsor fees and undertake an interview with US J-1 sponsor and US employer
  • Receive confirmation of Internship placement
  • Complete your program fee payments and get your visa granted
  • Book your flight, review Chilli’s Internship USA pre-departure session

** A great deal goes into the application process to ensure that you are accepted by a J1 sponsor.  You’ll need to ensure your application is of a high quality and stay on top of submitting your paperwork and attending subsequent interviews if applicable.

Terms & Conditions

Please speak to your Chilli Adventures program co-ordinator for program specific terms and conditions.

Program Costs

The program fees payable for Internship USA are as follows:

  • Application Deposit – R950 – Payable prior to interview.  Fully refunded if not accepted onto the program
  • Program Fees – J-1 Sponsor – Payable prior to submission of paperwork to J-1 Sponsor and pre-placement interview.  Refundable if an internship position is not secured
    • 3  months – $725
    • 6 months – $925
    • 12 months – $1225
  • Placement Fees – J-1 Sponsor – Payable upon confirmation of Internship placement and prior to the shipping of visa sponsorship paperwork from the USA
    • 3  months – $1350
    • 6 months – $1500
    • 12 months – $1500

Note: Prices may change in line with co-operating agents and / or currency fluctuations.  Please read Program Terms & Conditions for full details.


Your program fees to Chilli Adventures Include:

  • Eligibility screening, interview and application assistance and support
  • Internship Placement with screened and suitable US company
  • Assistance with housing, orientation, taxes and social security in the USA
  • All J-1 Cultural Exchange visa sponsorship Fees
  • Formulation of the DS-7002 training plan required in order to apply for a J-1 work visa
  • SEVIS validation service in the USA
  • U.S. J-1 Visa – application, supporting documentation and interview assistance
  • Comprehensive work and travel medical insurance for duration as outlined above
  • Pre-departure orientation information covering all essentials vital to a successful trip inc. SEVIS validation, immigration processes, packing, insurance and U.S. overseas support
  • Partner discounts (on flights, SIM cards, merchandise and more)
  • 24 hour Emergency help and support in South Africa & the USA
  • Company and Program reference as well as ongoing CV support

Additional Costs

In addition to the program fees that you pay to Chilli Adventures you must also factor in the following * additional costs:

  • Medical insurance (mandatory for duration of stay in the USA) –  $40 per month 
  • SEVIS Fee  (US State Department Fee) – $180
  • Return Flight to the USA – Approx. R8800-R13,000
  • US Consulate visa processing fee – $161
  • Spending Money for use upon arrival – Approx. $1000-$1200

* Note: Prices may change in line with co-operating agents and / or currency fluctuations.  Please read Program Terms & Conditions for full details.

Expected Earnings

The good news is that the majority of internship positions in the U.S. include a salary stipend.  How much you earn will be very much linked to the industry you’re in as well as the location in the USA.   Most, but not all, internship positions allow you to cover a good portion of your cost of living.  Some may include perks such as housing or food allowances that assist with your day to day expenses.

Remember to discuss compensation in full with your prospective employer and J-1 sponsor in order to fully understand the compensation package rather than simply an hourly wage.  NOTE:  Increasing your skill base, rather than your bank balance, should be your key focus here!

Cost of Living

You must take to the USA sufficient start up funds to at least cover the cost of your accommodation, housing deposits, food and travel, until you receive your first stipend.  Funds required will depend on the compensation package agreed upon with your prospective employer.  You may need to supplement your own monthly living costs throughout your internship if your agreed salary does not cover this.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lots of questions buzzing through your head? This may help you out!

Q: Is the Internship USA Program right for me?

A: Interns can only be sponsored in the industry categories that are relevant to their studies or work experience.  Your education and work experience should support the training program being offered as well as your long-term career goals (Check out Program Eligibility to see if you qualify)

Q: What types of Internship can Chilli find for me?

A:  Chilli have access to approximately 400+ internships in major business centers across the USA (inc New York, San Francisco, San Diego and Chicago).  These include the following fields;  Finance, Marketing, Social Media, Law, Operations, IT, Engineering, Administration, Business Development, Entrepreneurship.  So no matter what your background, Chilli can find the perfect placement for you.

Q: What is the difference between an Intern training program and a long-term job?

A:  The US company hiring you as an intern is required to provide a comprehensive training program that clearly outlines learning and training of a formal nature as a key component. This must be ongoing and closely supervised as well as demonstrating the achievement of specific goals that will be evaluated periodically. This program is NOT just a work program that will see you making the coffee and doing the filing. The employer offering you a training program will be required to clearly define the methods of training and objectives.  This means that you get the most out of a structured and professional internship.

Q: What is the length of the training program?

A: Training programs run for up to 12 months under the Intern Category of Internship USA and for up to 18 months under the Trainee Category.  The full period of your training program must be fully justified as necessary to achieving the goals set out in your employer’s proposed training program.

Q: What can I do to get the ball rolling?

A:  Complete Chillis online application for Internship USA and start to get the basics of your CV together.  Don’t worry if it’s not perfect.  Chilli will assist you with getting this into a professional format suitable for the internship you are applying for.   Once you pay your application deposit – R950, we’ll start along the process of getting your paperwork in order and setting up interviews.  The process from application to departure will normally take 2-3 months.

Q: Can I work in another capacity during my training program while on the Internship J1 visa?

A: No, you can only work in the capacity of your approved training program.

Q: If i want to try to source my own internship where do I start?

A: There are several resources you can check out to find a Inernship in the USA. Some of them are: