The whole experience was really great, the help that chilli gave me throughout the trip was great. i had the greatest time ever and would not have traded it for anything… i had to extend my insurance but since i had contacts back home it was easy to do this from the US.
I really had a great experience in Texas. It is something that many people should experience. My experience was not always glamorous and wonderful, we had to deal with real life issues such as paying for rent, cooking and cleaning for ourselves, working in a professional environment and living with new people.
Through my experience as a Chilli participant, I learnt to become more adventurous and confident as an individual. I am also more driven now to take on responsibilities and opportunities that are out of my comfort zone, that push me to extend my knowledge of my surroundings.
I loved the difference in culture and the friendly people. It was refreshing to meet people who want to experience what you take for granted every day. No one can look after you but yourself. You have to be willing to work hard to forge a future for yourself.
We apologise for the late launch of the Winter Work & Travel USA program 2014/15 season. Due to changes in visa regulations and the short availability allowable for South Africans to work in the US over their summer vacation, we’ve held off launching the 2014/5 season until placement were confirmed!
We’re happy to announce now that we have secured a number of positions and that we’ll be focusing ONLY on ski resort areas in Colorado. As a result positions are LIMITED in number. Check out the placement tab for details of those jobs and apply now. All positions are casual but come with great perks. Working and Traveling in the USA is a unique opportunity to gain international work experience (whether that’s career related or casual), meet and work alongside people from all over the world as well as travel and experience the good ‘ole US of A!
This incredible work opportunity will allow you to add invaluable work experience to your CV, but just as importantly, provide you with a real chance to experience LIFE whilst living and working in the USA. During your trip you will have the opportunity to branch out, become independent, perhaps learn to budget, network and meet people from around the world, gain some great work and life experience and have an adventure we are sure that you will never forget!
Applicants for Winter Work Travel USA must:
The J1 visa is valid only for the period of your summer vacation break from varsity (irrespective on whether you plan to return to studies or are graduating). The US government has confirmed that for South Africa the work period allowed can run from 30th October to 15th February. **
Graduating students will then be allowed to take up additional travel for up to 30 days.
** Please be aware that this date limitation is a new regulation passed by the US Department of State and will impact the employers who wish to hire South Africans (Ski Resort positions will be VERY limited since many only hire staff available through April).
Students’ head over to the USA on a work travel adventure for lots of different reasons. Everyone has a different motivation.There are more than 200,000* unemployed graduates in South Africa and an increasingly competitive job market globally. Maybe you want to work hard and gain valuable international work experience and check out options for US Internships after graduation. Or maybe your aim is simply to kick back a little, have fun, travel and see as much of this amazing country as possible. Whatever your goal, you will certainly gain valuable work and life experience as well as having the adventure of your life! Now is the time to stop dreaming and to start doing!
The Chilli Adventures’ Team has been successfully running the Work & Travel Program to the USA for more than 14 years. In this time we have sent thousands of South African students to the US to have a summer vacation that they will never forget! Chilli Adventures is still the largest and most clued up company for Work Travel to the USA.
The US Department of State oversees the sponsorship of the J1 visa and regulations around this. Currently, it is a requirement for all participants coming from South Africa have an approved job secured prior to visa sponsorship being issued.
Whilst you DO have the option to find employment yourself prior to securing visa sponsorship through Chilli, doing so is very tough for most people in this current economic environment, and given the short period that South African Students are permitted to work. A job secured through Chilli Adventures is a convenient and hassle free way to go.
Each year, through various J1 visa sponsors, Chilli Adventures seeks to secure a range of quality seasonal positions that match the typical date range consistent with SA Universities and Colleges. All positions are compliant with the US Department of State regulations and most come with housing and transportation options secured. Most are casual and entry level , requiring little or no experience, just hard work and good customer service skills.
Various employers will come on board to hire through Chilli Adventures between April and October each year so this list is currently changing as we progress through the season.
The GREAT news for the 2014/15 season is that we have a small number placements in ski resort areas! Spots are VERY limited so if you’re dead set on a ski placement get in quickly on these. If you are already registered with Chilli you’ll be able to access the full outline of placements from your online participant portal.
Please be aware that for any placement you MUST be available for the date range outlined and qualify in terms of the specific skills required. Positions are limited and allocation for interview slots is on a ‘first come first served’ basis. To avoid disappointment be sure to 1. Check you qualify for the program 2. Submit your details online 3. Email your CV through to email@example.com and 4. Pay your R950 application deposit (be sure to use your name as a reference so we know its you!). Once received we’ll contact you to set up an interview.
JOB TITLE – Housekeeper (13 Positions with housing); Busser (3 Positions – no housing)
WORK DATES – Start date: 20th November & End date: 1st – 15th February
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS – Flexible schedule, must be able to work on weekends & holidays
BRECKENRIDGE FACTS – Breckenridge is an all-season recreation and vacation destination. The mountains come alive in the winter with world-class skiing. Winter activities also include snowshoeing, ice-skating, sleigh rides & snowmobiling. Winter carnivals, festivals & events are plentiful.
HOURLY PAY RATE – $10/hour. OT $15/hour (40 hours & over) HOUSING – Apartments for 2, 3 or 4 people
COST OF HOUSING – $450-$395
JOB TITLE – Food Service Worker (2 Positions), Housekeeper (2-3 positions)
WORK DATES – Start Date: 19-20th Nov to 15th December. End Date: Feb 15th
AVERAGE # OF HOURS – 35-40 average hours/week (after orientation & training)
ESTES PARK FACTS – Its the most popular tourist destination in Colorado and is renowend for its downhill skiing. For additional info http://www.ymcarockies.org/smractivities.html
HOURLY PAY RATE – $4.50/hour OT rate $12.00/hour
SALARY PACKAGE – 3 FREE MEALS PER DAY, DAYS OFF INCLUDED & FREE HOUSING
JOB TITLE – Food Service Worker, Housekeeper (2 Positions); Housekeeper (2-4 Positions)
WORK DATES – Start Date: 20th Nov – 15th Dec. Earliest End Date: Feb 15th
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS – 35-40 hours/week (After orientation & training)
SNOW MOUNTAIN RANCH FACTS – Located 8800 feet above sea level for a great skiing experience. There is also a number of hot springs to relax in after a hard days work. For additional info http://www.ymcarockies.org/smractivities.html
HOURLY PAY RATE – $4.50/hour OT $12.00/hour
SALARY PACKAGE – 3 FREE MEALS PER DAY, DAYS OFF INCLUDED & FREE HOUSING
For the past 5 years, Chilli Advenetures has held incredibly successful Job Fairs in Cape Town & Johannesburg, hosting top employers from the USA. Increasingly however, employers are choosing to interview over Skype and so Chilli set up formal interviews over video skype with prospective candidates. These are short and fairly painless, but are no less important than a face-to-face interview. We’ll coach you through the process but it means putting on your best interview clothes and being ready to impress! That means freshly shaved with jacket and tie for the boys, neat hair and shirt/blouse and jacket for the girls. Since its a skype interview slip slops and tackies are fine (they’ll never know!).
Interviews will typically happen toward the end of September or early October and you’ll find out within a day or two if you’ve been hired. Check out details of the positions available but don’t delay, positions are limited. These are terrific options for employment and all come with good wages, housing and excellent perks. Positions will be offered on a first come, first served basis to those eligible (based on dates of availability) and appropriateness for the positions. Your Job Placement fee is only payable to Chilli Adventures once you are offered and accept a position on the day of the fair.
To secure an interview slot, complete your application today or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whilst you are able to secure your own job, US State Department regulations require that you still apply through an accredited recruiter and J1 Visa Sponsor such as Chilli. Please be aware that we are required to vet your employer against strict US government regulations. Securing your own employment takes time, effort and persistence and it’s often only possible for those who have contacts in the USA. Remember that if you plan to look for and secure your own position you need to have this confirmed prior to being issued with visa sponsorship through Chilli Adventures and getting your visa granted. At the point that you confirm your Self Placement Application with Chilli you have a signed job contract or offer of employment in hand. You should aim to have this confirmed by the end of September at the latest to avoid a last minute panic.
Advice on finding your own position
* Please note that Chilli Adventures do not have relationships with these companies and cannot be held responsible for the information given or positions outlined.
To apply for the Winter Work & Travel program to the USA, simply follow these easy steps:
Note: A great deal goes into the application process to ensure that you are accepted by the J1 sponsor and placed with an appropriate employer. You’ll need to stay on top of submitting your paperwork and work with Chilli Adventures to secure a position.
The Winter Work & Travel USA – Program Agreement 2014/5 will be available on your Online Chilli Participant Portal Account once you sign up. You can also request a copy by emailing email@example.com
The full fees payable to Chilli Adventures for Work & Travel USA (includes all overseas visa sponsors and placement agents) are as follows:
* See FULL PROGRAM PACKAGE for whats included in your program fees.
* Chilli Internship Rate – A Chilli Intern is someone who works closely with Chilli through the season on a range of projects. These could include any aspect of the business (accounts to systems, marketing to promotions, HR to general management and administration). If selected as a Chilli intern you will not only gain great work experience with the company but will also receive a preferential rate on your program fees. If you’re interested, send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know why you’d benefit from being an intern with Chilli and what you could bring to Chilli Adventures.
The full fees payable to Chilli Adventures for Work & Travel USA (inc. all overseas visa sponsors and placement agents) are as follows
In addition to the program fees that you pay to Chilli Adventures, you must also factor in the following additional costs:
* Prices subject to change in line with third party. Please read the Winter Work & Travel Program Agreement for full details.
Your J1 working visa will allow you to work during your trip and depending on how many hours you put in, look at covering the costs of your travels or even make some extra cash for travel. Most people cover their program and travel related costs but this will depend on how many hours you work, the exchange rate at the time and of course, your living (and entertainment!) expenses amongst other things. You must be prepared to supplement your living expenses should the need arise. If you work at a second job (which your visa allows) it’s possible to make some very decent money.
Wages vary depending on the location of the position, and what’s included in the position (for example, subsidized housing / meals etc.) You will never be paid less than federal minimum wage at $7.75 per hour. Typically wages are between $5-6 per hour (for tipped positions) and $8.50 – $14 per hour (for non-tipped position). Remember to understand the full compensation package rather than simply the hourly wage since some employers pay a low wage (e.g. $4 per hour) but then provide all meals and housing for free. A package like that is worth its weight in gold since you have NO expenses and you can chose to save (or spend!) anything you earn!
You must take over to the USA start up funds of between $900-$1500, since you will need to cover the cost of your own accommodation, and perhaps housing deposits (if not paid prior to departure from SA) as well as food and travel until you receive your first pay cheque. Some employers may supply accommodation. Most have staff canteens and offer various discounts that help significantly, particularly in this first month. If you’ve never budgeted before, you’ll learn this skill very quickly upon arrival! Picking up those fabulous discounted Jimmy Choo’s or iPad should only happen AFTER you get your first pay cheque!
Q: Can I go if I’m not currently studying?
A: Unfortunately not! The program is only open to full-time students who are enrolled in tertiary education (post matric)
Q: It’s quite expensive when I add everything up. Do most participants cover their upfront costs?
A: Most do, but simply making money is not the primary objective of the program. The opportunity to gain valuable work and life experience and see the USA is the ultimate goal. How much money you make will ultimately depend on how many hours you work, the exchange rate at the time and of course your living (and entertainment!) expenses, amongst other things. The majority of participants earn enough money to cover the costs they have outlaid to get to the USA and live there. If you work a second job, which most people do and especially if you make tips, it’s possible to make some very decent money. The amount you bring back to South Africa will of course be affected by how much you party, shop, travel or work when you’re over in the US! Having said all this – the value of the program lies not in what you earn but in what you learn!
Q: What will I do about somewhere to live?
A: Most employers hiring directly with Chilli Adventures offer some form of employee housing. Your employer may subsidize the cost of housing but you are ultimately responsible for your housing costs. If you are sourcing employment independently, you should enquire about housing in the local area once you’ve secured employment. If employers don’t offer housing or employee housing is full, they can often point you in the right direction for the best affordable housing in the local area. The US also has a great network of hostels and cheap hotels and motels that can be affordable options. Check out sites like www.craigslist.com (similar to Gum Tree) and local newspapers (these can be accessed online ahead of departure) for housing options.
BEWARE! Housing in some very popular areas (key ski resort locations for example) can be extremely scarce and very expensive. Do your research prior to making a decision on where to work.
Q: Can I take part in the program if I’ve just matriculated?
A: Unfortunately not. You need to have at least one year of tertiary (post secondary) education behind you. But if you’re headed to varsity next year then you can apply now for next season. If you’re taking a gap year before varsity then the Summer Camp USA program or Teaching English in Thailand are excellent options (links to both programs).
Q: Is it possible to work at the same employer as friends?
A: Yes it is certainly possible. Let Chilli adventures know when you apply that you are part of a group and we’ll ensure that your applications are processed together. Chilli Adventures placement employers often hire large number of students so it’s possible that they will hire a group of friends. Bear in mind however that it can be a turn off for employers to hear that you only want to go with your best friend so ensure you don’t make this a condition of accepting a position.
Q: How do I apply for my US Visa?
A: Following submission of your full application paperwork and payment of your program fees, Chilli Adventures will request your DS-2019 visa sponsorship from the relevant J1 sponsor agent in the USA. We will guide you through the visa application process at our Get a Clue (GAC) Session and review both your visa application and supporting documentation ahead of your interview at the US Consulate. Chilli Adventures have a 99% Visa granted record at the US Consulate so your visa is not something you need to stress about. You’ll typically receive your Passport back 2-3 working days following your interview. Easy!
Q: Am I covered if I have an accident whilst in the USA?
A: Yes. Comprehensive Work and Travel insurance is provided as part of your program fees. It is a US Department of State J1 visa requirement that your visa sponsor provides you with approved ‘A’ Graded insurance for the period of your visa. This insurance includes medical, emergency and liability etc. You will be provided with full insurance details at the Pre-Departure Orientation meetings held in October. If you have a pre-existing condition (have received medical care within the last 6 months) please contact your local Chilli Adventures Program co-ordinator for advice as you may require additional coverage. If you are traveling longer than 3 months you will need to extend your policy with Chilli Adventures ahead of departure from South Africa.
Q: Is it OK if I go alone?
A: Yes no problem. Many participants apply alone but then meet other participants as they go through the application process in South Africa. It’s easy to meet fellow adventurers once you’re on the program and you won’t be alone for long! However, many people prefer to go solo as it allows them to meet more new people and have the experience that they really want.
If you’re worried about travelling alone, ask Chilli Adventures to put you in touch with others going from your University. Chilli Adventures Facebook group is also a great place to meet new friends to travel with.