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Vacation And Casual Work In The USA

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 12 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Vacation Vacation Packages Work Usa

The opportunity to go on vacation to the USA and combine that with a temporary job is something that holds enormous appeal for a large number of UK citizens each year. There are various kinds of programmes which enable you to do this and different types of work you can do.

How To Go About It

The first thing you should do is to determine what kind of work you’re looking for and what kind of environment you’re looking to work in and to find out about companies and organisations based here in the UK who cater for what you’re looking for. Some of the most popular programs include:

  • Work America
  • Camp America
  • American Institute For Foreign Study
  • Volunteer USA

However, there are several other organisations which make it possible for British citizens to combine a vacation in the USA with a casual job.

How The Programmes Work

Each organisation may run its own specific programmes differently to others but, as a general overview, they will be responsible for helping you to obtain the proper documentation so that you can secure an appropriate visa allowing you remain in the USA for a pre-determined length of time doing a specific job. Many organisations will also arrange your flight and any other onward transportation for you with the vast majority of these costs initially paid for by the organisation themselves (although they’ll all usually require you to pay some kind of deposit first) and then the rest of the transportation costs will be recouped by the organisation from the salary you earn whilst you’re working in the USA. They’ll also usually sort out travel insurance. On certain programmes, they’ll also do much, if not all, of the legwork in finding you an appropriate job and also accommodation which may be in hotels, on campus or with families - depending on where you work.

Some Of The Work Available

  • Summer Camps –many UK citizens, mostly students at university, will often go to work on children’s residential summer camps in the USA. These can vary in nature but in general you’ll be committed to working for somewhere between 8 to 10 weeks approximately, from early to mid-June to mid-August. Depending on the type of camp you’re placed with, you might be teaching or coaching a specialist activity such as football or tennis and it often involves living alongside a small group of American children where you will also have ‘counsellor’ responsibilities such as ensuring the welfare of the children. There are also roles at camps for people who wish to work in the kitchen area, in the camp office or as part of the camp’s maintenance team. The work can be vastly rewarding if you like working with kids but you should be prepared for long hours with perhaps as little as only 6 days off all summer. Some camps will be in quite isolated rural areas. Some will also have curfews and many have strict rules surrounding alcohol consumption and smoking so they’re not for everybody but they can be a lot of fun
  • Au Pairs – There are companies who specialise in placing people who want to work as au pairs or nannies to American families. Once again, hours can be long and you need to ensure that you try to establish a relationship with the family if possible prior to going out to the USA as you are going to be living with the family 24/7 and certain restrictions they might impose upon you may not be for you
  • Other Work – There is plenty of opportunity to obtain other work not associated with children per se on a number of programmes. Perhaps you might seek a job at an amusement park, at a retail store or maybe in one of the USA’s fabulous ski resorts or one of its magnificent National Parks. Maybe you’re a handyman and prefer working at being a painter or perhaps you’ll want to find work as a housekeeper or maid in hotels, for examplel

The choice is virtually limitless and it’s a case of doing your research and checking which programmes cater for specific kinds of work and that you meet the eligibility criteria. Although many organisations do require you to be a college or university student and/or below a certain age, there are some who welcome older applicants with relevant experience.

A Magnificent Opportunity

One of the main attractions of obtaining casual employment in the USA is that it gives you the opportunity to really get to understand the American people and their way of life alongside the American culture in far more depth than you would be able to do on any vacation packages you may have been on. It also allows you to combine your work with a vacation. For example, having completed a summer season at a kids’ camp, then providing you have sufficient money left over when you’ve completed your contract, your visa will usually allow for perhaps up to 6 weeks vacation time in which you can independently, or with friends, travel around the country.

A Note Of Caution

Firstly, it’s important to ensure that you check that any organisation who offers to find you casual work in the USA is bona fide and that all the correct paperwork is in order before you travel. Also, if you have had your transportation costs provided upfront in particular, do remember that a spell of casual work in the USA isn’t going to make you rich and you’ll almost certainly need to ensure that you take some savings with you to supplement your income. In fact, proof of that might be a condition of some programmes. Also, remember that in the ‘hire em, fire em’ culture that is sometimes associated with the casual labour market in the USA, that in the event you are fired, your visa is likely to become void unless the sponsoring organisation can, and is prepared to, find you another job and that any money put up for transportation will still need to be repaid by you if they aren’t able or willing to find you another job. Also, your visa is likely to contain restrictions on the type of work you can do.

However, whatever you decide to do, combining a casual job with a vacation period to perhaps travel around the USA is something you’ll never forget and many people make it a point of going back and repeating the same or similar experiences for many a year.

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