Why find your own job at home, when we can find you one in America! From California to North Carolina, our Work USA program sets you up with a summer job before you go.
What jobs can I do on a J-1 visa?
Every year, our tried-and-trusted US employers recruit international students from our program to help them during their busy summer period. Mostly based in hospitality and tourism, think the summer jobs you see in the movies: working as a server, pool attendant or retail assistant in country clubs, beach resorts and ice cream parlours. Depending on your employer, contracts usually run from mid-June to early September, and jobs are filled on a first come first applied for basis – so join our program early to secure your preferred job and location.
Rather find your own job? If you don’t want to use one of our approved employers, you may still be able to go through our Work USA program. We’ll just need to get your job and employer approved by our US visa sponsor, CIEE. Talk to our team.
Jobs in USA How it works
Get in the zone! Having a pre-arranged summer job is a condition of your J-1 visa, so once you’ve paid your deposit, you’ll get access to our Job Zone – BUNAC’s exclusive database full of US employers actively recruiting from our program. Don’t worry, we’ll be with you the whole way – with CV help, interview prep and virtual handholding. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Our placement team will help match you with a job.
What you’ll earn
All jobs advertised on our Job Zone pay the state minimum wage, usually between USD $7-15 per hour, plus tips if specified in the job description. With tips, some of our Work USA participants have earned over USD $8,000* over the summer. Find out how.
Where you'll live
Many of our employers include free or subsidised staff housing (usually costing between USD $50-$125 per week). If accommodation isn’t included, they’ll usually be able to recommend local accommodation nearby or we can help with your search.
What you’ll do
Here are just a few of the summer jobs up for grabs on our Work USA program. Not your dream job? Check out more of our employers in California, Massachusetts, Maine, New York State, New Jersey and South Carolina here.
West Chop Club, Martha’s Vineyard
Looking for the ultimate summer job? Join the club. This 17-acre waterfront country club has four private beaches and nine tennis courts. The pay is USD $8 an hour plus tips, staff accommodation is included, and roles include servers, front of house and ground maintenance.
Crab Apple Whitewater, Maine
Don’t want a main ’stream’ summer job? Work on the river instead. This family-run adventure centre is home to rafting trips, paintballing and moose safaris. You’ll be paid USD $12.75 an hour and there are a range of jobs available, including groundskeeper, waiting staff and front of house.
Island Ventures , Catalina Island, California
California dreamin'. Spend the summer with the sand in your toes and the salt in your hair working as a front desk or guest service agent in a boutique hotel on Catalina Island. The pay is USD $15 an hour + tips, plus staff housing is just a five-minute walk from the beach and costs $150 per week.
What you’ll learn
As a student, your dream job might not be to work in an ice-cream shop (bad example, that’s surely everyone’s dream), but you have your whole career ahead of you to do the 9-5 thing. Take this opportunity to do a fun job in a new country with a different culture to your own. It will look great on your CV, showing employers you’re motivated to try new things. Plus, you’ll learn a heap of transferrable skills.
“A typical day was... wake up in a tent. Cycle to work for ten minutes through the forest. Work in the kitchen of a fancy hotel. Cycle back. Meet and make American and international friends. Enjoy the great outdoors by going hiking and rock climbing. Hang out with my new friends in the evening. Do it. Now. Also, I would like to say thank you for this life-changing opportunity to the BUNAC team.”
85% of our Work USA participants are solo travellers. Our employers are used to taking on large numbers of international students, so it’s a great way to meet other people and recruit travel buds for the 30 days after your contact end to travel around the States.
Travelling with friends?
While it’s not guaranteed that you’ll be placed together, we’d recommend applying with the bigger employers such as country clubs who take on the largest numbers of staff members. Don’t forget to mention in your application the name of the person you’re travelling with.
A typical day On the job
All the fun of the fair, Oli worked at an amusement park in Ocean City. A seaside town in Maryland (like the cookies), here's how a typical day goes down for him and his new mates – working, exploring on days off and planning their end of summer road trip.
“My mum took part in a BUNAC program when she was a student! She said it was an amazing experience and that I had to do it for myself. After I decided going Stateside for the summer was something I was interested in doing, I signed up and started to apply for jobs on the BUNAC Job Zone. I've done the program twice: I worked as a lifeguard at Water Country USA in Williamsburg, Virginia and at Trimper's Rides in Ocean City, Maryland.”
“I think meeting people from different nationalities is definitely the best thing. I made friends from Spain and Germany who I'm already planning to go and see next summer. It's also great to experience a different culture like America. It makes you stronger as a person to be able to move away to a new country even for just a few months. For me, the newfound independence I had showed me that if I ever wanted to make a permanent move, I could do it.”
“Once at work in the restaurant, there were lots of roles from serving, working the register and greeting customers, so the job was different day-to-day. Working in this heavily customer-based environment is hard work but I loved every minute. There is never a dull moment! The best thing is working with people from all over the world who become like a family to you.”
*All figures are based on the available jobs, advertised salary and accommodation costs for our Work USA 2022 program. This example is based on working 40 hours a week over the 12-week summer period. To see how this figure is calculated and what you can earn in other roles, please visit our cost and inclusions page. BUNAC is not liable for any differences in these salaries, directly or indirectly related to your performance. This should be used as a guide only.