INFINITY ABROAD – WORK & TRAVEL USA
MY BEST BET AT AN AMAZING USA ADVENTURE
During my university years, I have always heard by word of mouth that my friends (or at least, friends of friends xD) who during their holidays or final year, joined a programme which allowed them to live, work and travel in the USA. How cool is that ?!!
But, it never really stuck in my mind until I was in my final study year – my university life is almost over! I have to have one final blast, to put myself out there, and do something wild and adventurous! How can I participate in this amazing, lonely planet-ish adventure to a land far, far away???
WHO IS INFINITY ABROAD?
After a bit of snooping around among my friends (also on Facebook and Google), I came across into Infinity Abroad, a student exchange organization specializing in overseas work holidays, internships and training programmes. Infinity Abroad is one of the largest and established providers of Work & Travel USA opportunities here in Malaysia and Singapore. (Excited!!)
Infinity Abroad offers a range of different programmes which you can check out through their website and Facebook page. But for this post, I shall focus on the programme I enrolled in – Work & Travel USA.
WHAT IS WORK & TRAVEL USA, YOU ASK?
Work & Travel USA! A term that is becoming more and more popular among my university peers. What exactly is it about? Well, it allows university and/or college students like myself to go to the USA on casual working holiday experience where you get to work with a verified employer, for 3-5 months during your university break, or immediately after your final year; earn some pocket money, then travel for a month in the USA.
This is a very unique experience that is open to university/college students ONLY! (Sorry to those who had long graduated L ) Every year, the USA welcomes over 300,000 students from around the world to join this amazing student exchange programme. Unlike being merely a visiting tourist, Work & Travel USA allows you to fully experience American living & culture – while earning income at the same time!
HOW DID I GET STARTED?
So I found the contact details of Infinity Abroad’s programme advisors on their website, and contacted them via Whatsapp (they are Whatsapp-friendly!). You can also message them on their FB page too. Their advisors got back to me almost immediately. After a quick eligibility check, Infinity Abroad confirmed that as a final year student, I am eligible for the Winter 2017 intake – which would be my last chance to join Work & Travel USA (you need to be a current student or a recent graduate no more than 6 months to qualify!). My programme would allow me to work with a Winter employer anywhere in the USA from 25 November 2017 to 15 March 2018, with an additional 30 days grace period for travelling before I had to leave the USA. ( Start planning now! )
I had a number of friends who also joined Infinity Abroad’s programme, and after my consultation appointment with them in person at their Kuala Lumpur office, I was convinced that my programme to the USA would be in safe hands by the friendly and professional Infinity Abroad’s advisors. My friend Jing Tyng and I signed up straightaway – USA here we come!
GETTING HIRED BY A WAT EMPLOYER
Shortly after registering, I started to receive job updates from Infinity Abroad. Typically in a season, Infinity Abroad has about 500-800 positions, with verified jobs in locations all over the USA, which can include cities along the east coast like Vermont, Massachusetts, New York; west coast including San Francisco, Tahoe City, San Diego, and many more. Even national park locations like Alaska, Wyoming, Montana; or sunny beachside locations like Miami, Myrtle Beach and Panama City Beach.
We received new job updates every couple of weeks, and jobs were filling up as we were still browsing! Undeterred, my friend and I took our time and went through each job options in detail. Soon after, we decided on our employment option, Infinity Abroad reserved our positions, and then scheduled our job interviews, which would be held directly with our US employer through Skype.
WHERE AM I GOING IN THE USA?
I was lucky enough to pass the interview and get hired by Earl of Sandwich, a restaurant in Disney World at Orlando, Florida in DISNEY SPRING (It will be my very first Disney visit)!!. I would be working in the front of the restaurant as a busser, my job would include working as part of a team with restaurant servers setting up tables, welcoming restaurant guests, refilling drinks and clearing tables at the end of service.
As an employee at Disney, I get free passes to both Disney theme parks, and I get to experience Disney’s Christmas and New Year celebrations. Being part of the Disney experience during Winter is a dream come true!
APPLYING FOR THE J-1 VISA
Infinity Abroad assisted with receiving my DS-2019 certificate, which was needed to apply for my J-1 Visa. Then, I completed an online US visa application, known as the DS-160. After that, I could pick a time and date to go to the US Embassy at Kuala Lumpur to attend my visa interview.
This was the most nerve-wrecking part! I’ve heard of scary stories of the visa process being very lengthy and complicated, and people getting visa-rejected by the US Embassy. Well, I had nothing to worry about because Infinity Abroad guided me through the application process, proof-reading my application before submission, and explained in detail what supporting documents I needed to bring along to my appointment. They will organize an orientation for every participants before their Visa interview! To date, none of their Malaysian participants have failed the visa process before! Impressive! (Touch wood..)
The visa interview process took less than 1 hour. On the spot, the visa officer announced the interview results to me: “YOU ARE APPROVED.”
Phew! Now everything’s settled and done. I got back my passport and US visa via the Embassy’s courier service within 3 days, and now I can book my flight to the USA!
To sum up my Work & Travel USA application process:
Step 1 – I registered for the programme by submitting a registration pack via email.
Step 2 – Within 24 hours, I received an email from Infinity Abroad confirming my registration.
Step 3 – I could then choose my preferred job in the USA once job updates were released.
Step 4 – Infinity Abroad then scheduled my Skype Interview for the job I applied for, either with the employer directly, or with my local US coordinator.
Step 5 – I received a job offer! After completing some further paperwork, I could then get started on my J-1 US Visa application.
Step 6 – I submitted a DS-160 online visa application, then scheduled a date to attend my visa interview in person at the United States Embassy.
Step 7 – My visa was approved on the spot. I could then book my flight to the USA!
The process takes a couple of months, and can be quite challenging sometimes.. but I really have to give credit to Infinity Abroad, guided me step by step, ironing out any bumps I encountered along the way!
TIPS FOR NEWBIES
Tip #1: APPLY EARLY! Infinity Abroad’s job vacancies for Work & Travel USA always gets filled very quickly. If you’re looking to join Summer 2018, the intake is already OPEN NOW!
Summer 2018 Intake opens 1 October 2017; Deadline: 28 February 2018
Winter 2018 Intake opens: 1 April 2018; Deadline: 31 July 2018
Tip #2: Gather your friends and apply together! If you are applying alone, contact Infinity Abroad’s advisors for advice and recommendations to join other participants going to the same job/location.
Tip #3: Research the job options available before making your final decision. Infinity Abroad’s advisors are always here to help. If you have questions, contact them to ask!
Tip #4: Have the right expectations! Work & Travel USA is not a money-making programme, and the jobs you find are meant to allow you to support yourself financially and to save up money for travelling. The primary goal here is to experience the culture and living in the USA, which you will never be able to experience as a tourist. So be adventurous, keep an open mind, and enjoy yourself while you are in the USA!
THAT’S ALL FOLKS!
This is the end of Episode 1 of my Work & Travel USA experience. If you reached the end of this post – you deserve a BEER! I can’t wait to fly off to the USA to start my journey, and I will be posting more about my working, living and travelling experiences for the months to come. Stay tuned!
Thanks to Infinity Abroad for their excellent support, and for this opportunity to experience America through the Work & Travel USA programme.
Thanks to my parents who supported me (with a piece of wise advice), Thanks to my friend who decided to join this together so that I am not alone XD! I will be traveling from Florida all the way to California and back from Seattle at the period of 16th March to 15th April 2018! Anyone who are interested to join me, feel free to drop me a message! XD
Find out how you can join Work & Travel USA as I did! (or any other exciting overseas programme offered by Infinity Abroad).
TAKE THE LEAP, WORK AND TRAVEL IN USA
Get in touch with Infinity Abroad at the details below: