Jobs at Work and Travel USA

Hi, everyone! In this post I will be writing about advantages and disadvantages of working with the program Work and Travel. Before I start I’d like to mention that some of this information is my own experience, some comes from the students, and some is from the internet.

In 2009 I participated in the program and went to Virginia Beach (Virginia State, USA). I’ll be writing about my trip here too. Later in 2015 I went to the same town by as a tourist. Now in 2016 I’m here again. What I’m trying to say is that my information is proven, even though it’s limited to only one town – Virginia Beach.
So here we go #workandtravelusa !
Here is what they are usually saying on the websites that send students abroad – “Choosing what kind of job you want to do is a very important part of the program. First of all, a participant has to decide what they expect from the program, for example, improve their English skills, visit some outstanding places in the US, find new friends, gain some work experience or have it all in one!”
Before talking about the differences there are among the job offers, let’s look what kind of jobs there are.
Restaurant Jobs
Cook/cook assistant, busboy, dishwasher, host/hostess, kitchen staff, runner/food/buffet man, waiter/waitress, server assistant, bartender (age requirement >21).Some of these jobs like bartender or server assistant I’ve only heard about but never actually met anyone who got such job offer from the program.
Hotel Jobs
Front desk clerk (special requirements – very good English);
housekeeper (anyone who decides to choose this job needs to be in a good physical shape and be prepared to deal with a lot of dust and cleaning, so if you have any related allergies, this job is not for you);
laundry staff (sorting laundry, doing laundry and sometimes ironing too);
porter (includes cleaning the hotel entrance area, greeting guests, helping with the luggage, very good English is also a must, along with strong body. I didn’t stay in a hotel here, so I didn’t get a chance to meet anyone in this field, and also not all the hotels have such service, probably it is considered a luxury).
Lifeguard Jobs
Now about the jobs I know about personally. Let’s call them ‘other jobs’
Other jobs:
-Moving helper (or something like that)- a guy who helps with moving;
-Amusement Park Jobs (There are lots of different jobs here: attracting people to a park/rides, work in a gift shop or a food court, work on a ride. If you work on a ride, your job is to let the people in and out, check their age and height, introduce the rules);
-Parking Lot Jobs: collect money from the cars, help with parking;
-Bicycle Jobs: the main point of this job is to ride a bicycle with a cart behind it that carries some ad;
-Beach Jobs: rent out beach equipment;
-Cashier Jobs: requirements are good English and Math skills.
-Because Virginia Beach has its own beaches, a lot of students choose to come here to live and work. There are lots of jobs in service industries. For example, henna tattoo specialist.

Let’s talk about job descriptions now.

Restaurant Jobs

Cook/cook assistant
Wage – 8-15$ per hour. A lot of things depend on the place of work. You can work more than 40 hours a week but then, most probably, you will not be paid overtime (in the states if you work over 40 hours a week, all the overtime hours x1.5 from your regular wage. This means if your wage is 8$ per hour, so your overtime is 12$ per hour).
Advantages: working in such places allows you to have your meals there for free or with 50% discount. From my own experience of having this kind of job I can tell that I was only buying milk, cereals and fruit. During my three-month work here, I spent only 150$ on groceries (in average it would be 150-300$ per person per month).
Usually kitchen staff are locals or those who have lived in the US for a long time. If you were expecting working with Americans and practicing your English everyday and then found out your co-workers are also from all around the world but lived in America for a long time, it’s not a reason to be disappointed. Sometimes their English might be even easier to understand. I worked with Greek, Chinese, Thai, Turkish people, but of course there are a lot of Americans too.

Wage – 7.25 – 9$ per hour. In some places tips are shared among all the staff (waiting staff, busboys, bartenders). Usually there are meals for staff before your shift. One of my friends found a job like this, he said he enjoyed it very much especially because sometimes you have an opportunity for a small talk with the guest, or even a full conversation. I worked both in a kitchen and in a dining room. In my opinion, it is much more fun to work in a dining room, because you get to meet a lot of people and learn more.

Wage – 7.25 – 9$ per hour.
There are two jobs that deal with dishes: busboy brings the dirty plates, dishwasher does the dishes (if there is a dishwashing machine, so a dishwasher only needs to know how to loan/unload them and organize the clean plates. In case where there are no dishwashing machines, a dishwasher would have to it manually). Also includes meals, and most of the people you talk to are also working in a kitchen with you.

Wage — 8 – 10$ per hour.
Meals.Good English is required. Need to be always moving around, so might be tiring. But you get to talk to the waiting staff and customers all the time, which is very useful for improving language skills.

Kitchen staff
I don’t know anyone with such experience but I’d think the wage for such job is 7.25 — 9$ per hour, includes meals and I’m absolutely sure you’d get a lot of communication there.

Runner/food runner or a buffet man
Wage – 7.25 – 9$ per hour. In some places tips are shared among all the staff (waiting staff, busboys, bartenders).

This is probably the most appealing job. Depending on a place, in one 6-8-hour shift you can make 50 to 300 $. Usually waiting staff is not paid by hours, their pay is tips. Good English is a must. Meals are provided.

Server Assistant
Serves food at dinners in hotels, restaurants, private parties. I have never been to such event, neither have I met such people you’d worked there, probably you wouldn’t be able to get this job through the program. It is possible to find this kind of job when you are already here though.

I don’t have much information about this job.
If you do, please share in comments.

Hotel Jobs

Front Desk Clerk – a person who work at a front desk in hotels. This job’s responsibilities include: booking rooms on a phone, checking guests in, sorting mail. Requirements: very good English. Wage – 7.24-15$ per hour. Very useful position for improving language skills. Advantages: you rarely get to use your own language.

Housekeeper – a person who cleans hotel rooms. This job’s responsibilities include vacuum cleaning, cleaning rooms and bathrooms, changing sheets, etc. You would need to be in a good physical shape, because it is tiring. This job is not suitable for people with allergies to cleaning products. Wage- 7.25 – 9$ per hour. Advantages: tips. I know a guy who once got 100$ tip. Of course it’s a one case thing, but normally he’d get 10-15$ tips everyday. Other friends of mine didn’t have any tips, and it’s not that they were not doing a good job. It just depends on a hotel and on a manager. Because before sending you to clean the room, the managing staff checks the room first and keeps any tips left there. I worked in a motel with 25 rooms and we had tips there.
Another positive moment is that you can keep the food that guests leave. You are probably reading this and think ‘no way I’m eating someone’s leftovers!’ But I want to tell you it’s an absolutely normal thing we all do. What if they left a couple of unopened beers in a fridge? Why not to take it? It’s all money you can save on groceries next time. Guests leave not only
drinks, but sometimes food like cheese, ham, etc.
Of course like any other job this job has its own disadvantages. But I personally think it’s a good job, especially if you are lucky with a hotel.Laundry staff – doing this kind of job, you’d have to sort laundry, load/unload washing machines and dryers, sometime iron too. It’s not an easy job and you are always in a hot humid room with lots of laundry, that can be very heavy sometimes. So, in my opinion, this job is more suitable for guys, but if there is ironing, it is also suitable for girls. I have some friend who worked as housekeepers and wanted to switch to laundry staff, but not every hotel has this position. Wage – 7.25 – 9$ per hour. I don’t know much about this job, so please, feel free to share your experience in comments.
Working place – swimming pools, aqua parks, beaches
Wage – 7.25 – 9$ per hour
You would need to go through a training before starting this job. After the training they decide if you are qualified to work as a lifeguard. I’ve heard a story about a girl who worked as a lifeguard and couldn’t swim, but we’ll talk about it another time.
Not a difficult job, you need to come to your work place, clean it, add some chlorine or a similar stuff, check its level and sit there and watch. You watch so no one drowns. If anyone is drowning you need to help them. Of course you help save them, not help drown them 😉 Some swimming pools have wi-fi, some don’t. Usually there is an umbrella and a special spot for a lifeguard.
I think, it’s a good job

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