our members say...
Summer work travel host Employers
"The SWT is critical for our business and our business will not be able to operate without the Summer Work Travel (J1) Program. This cultural exchange program has amazing positive impacts on our lives in the US.
The program provides our American staff and patrons to get to know people from around the world. We enjoy hosting these college students from the world and teaching them about the American way of life. Personally, and from working at the Marriott, my life and my management and staff's lives have been changed in so many good, positive ways. We have learned about the world, made lifelong friendships with people worldwide, and taught the world about Park City, Utah and America. This is a GREAT cultural program and I will be devastated if it is eliminated. Please save this great program and our economy in Park City - we need the J1's to operate the Marriott Park City successfully as does the town of Park City."
- Stacie Moore, Director of Human Resources, Marriott Park City, Park City, UT
"Summer tourism sustains the unique economy and culture of Grand Lake, Colorado, and J-1 International Students provide the hard work and energy needed for the influx of the summer season, allowing our businesses to provide year round employment for local residents in the slower, winter season.
The students that Western Riviera Lakeside Lodging and Events has been fortunate enough to employ have been intelligent, hard-working young adults that are eager to learn about our culture and happy to share theirs, promoting global awareness with their presence while their employment promotes local business growth. Without the J-1 International Exchange Program, local businesses would struggle to find adequate staffing for the high summer demand, and would face unavoidable lay-offs and business closures due to the decline in demand for employees in the winter season. As a seasonal tourism destination, our J-1 students are vital, and we strongly support the J-1 International Exchange Program."
- Rebecca Hofmeister, Guest Services Manager, Western Riviera Lakeside Lodging & Events, Grand Lake, CO
"The J-1 program has been an essential part of the success of our operation at the Grand Canyon. If it were not for the J-1 program many positions within our organization would remain vacant making it difficult to effectively provide services to our guests.
These students are from all over the world help take care of our guests from all over the world. We struggle with finding enough Americans who need jobs applying or wanting to move to a remote part of Arizona to work. In general the work ethic is outstanding for employees we receive from the J-1 program. They add cultural diversity to our community and make the world a better place for being here."
-David Beckerleg, Food & Beverage Director, Xanterra South Rim LLC, Grand Canyon, AZ
"I truly believe that this program is a benefit for the students to see and experience the US and form their own opinions of the US and it's people and not depend on what the see on the news and hear from negative people. They are truly changed and matured by the time they leave. Many times they cry because they love the US and our culture and are so sad to leave.
I have visited many of my former students after they return home and watch them speak about the program and tell their friends what a great opportunity this program is.
- JoAnn Rahe, Human Resources Director, Princess Royale Hotel, Berlin, MD
"The J-1 international exchange program has positively impacted not only the business need for Big Sky Resort but the overall community. These students help to fill seasonal positions during peak business times for a Summer and Winter Resort.
These positions would otherwise go unfilled and be a negative impact towards our guest experience. These positions mostly interact with our guests and are great conversation starters when a name tag specifically has your state or country you are from. The program also allows both our J-1 students and domestic employees to create life long friendships. With many of our team members being seasonal they create friendship and bonds that allow our domestic team members to travel to the J-1 students home countries during the off season to experience their culture. Every off season we have several domestic team members who have planned a trip to go see friends who have participated in the program. This has also been a great experience for our community members. Each year the community of Big Sky holds an International Night. This is a chance for community members to meet and learn our J-1 students and learn their culture. J-1 students plan a presentation on their home country and share cultural aspects significant and unique to their country. Community members then share a similar discussion towards the American culture.
Overall, the loss of the program would have negative impacts towards our staffing levels, friendships and bonds we have been able to create, and an impact on the culture aspect in the community."
- Brian Berry, Director of Human Resources, Big Sky Resort, Big Sky, MT
"We own a seasonal business on Cape Cod. While we do strive to be open year round to support local residents, we make about 60-70% of our income during the summer season.
If we hire a high school student or college student, they all have commitments at school which require them to leave Mid August. My business stays strong through Labor Day Weekend which is why we add J1's to our team. They are able to stay until after Labor Day Weekend. Please understand a seasonal business on Cape Cod has a very limited window to earn money. It usually runs Mid May to end of September.
Without J1 students we will need to look at closing mid August or maybe not be open at all. This past summer NO American student applied for work.
We are only able to support two year round employees. Most people in the area are not interested in seasonal work because they would prefer to work year round. But businesses such as ours do not have a strong year round customer base to support more year round employees. Our team in the summer is usually about 14 - 16 seasonal people plus our two year round employees. In the winter our team is only the 2 year round employees plus my husband and I."
- Michelle Crean, Business Owner, Chatham Village, MA
"Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail is located in rural Colorado. We thrive off international and domestic tourism which intern offers jobs and benefits to many Americans. We pay above minimum wage for all of our positions and are competitive in the industry. We run an add in the local paper and on social media to attract American workers to fill our jobs.
We are unable to be fully staffed and depend on the J1 programs to supplement our staffing and be able to provide full service amenities to our guests. Without the visas we would not be able to provide services and in turn we would be disappointing our guests, tarnishing the Four Seasons brand reputation, losing revenues and eventually have to cut American jobs.
Due to our location and expertise n the industry the J1 program is not just about filling positions but a mutual learning experience. We provide a training and educational component to the students when they are here on their programs. We also offer them a cultural experience in the Rocky Mountains. We provide them with opportunities outside of employment to gain a positive impression of the United States and take that back to their home countries. We employ up to 50 students on J1 visas annually. Without this program we would not be able to find American workers to fill all of our positions."
- Jessica Beauchamp, Sr Assistant Director of Human Resources, Four Seasons Resort and Residences, Vail, CO
"Enchanted Forest Water Safari is New York's Largest Water Theme Park located in Old Forge, NY, a rural community that is approximately one hour from any larger city. We hire over 85 international exchange students to work for us in our family businesses for the summer season. These students work in various job positions in the water park and at our three other businesses: Old Forge Camping Resort, a large campground, the Water's Edge Inn, a hotel and Calypso's Cove Family Fun Park. Our international students help fill positions throughout the summer, but most importantly in the beginning of the summer when American high school students are still in school and at the end of the season when college aged Americans return to school and high school students begin fall sports. We have found it extremely difficult to find and retain young American workers. We hire young Americans from over one hour away from us, that are transported in from outlying counties who provide bus transportation to and from work through the county youth bureaus. This in itself has posed a challenge just to keep up with our hiring numbers.
If we were to unable to supplement American workers with International students, we would find ourselves in a dire situation. We would have to look into closing attractions, and eliminating positions all together, when in fact we are eager to grow our business and expand vs. downsize and eliminate. We are in support of the J-1 visa program and any change to this program would be devastating to our business."
- Timothy Noonan, Presidenet, Enchanted Forest Water Safari, Forge, NY
"I am writing on the tail end of another great season with our international students. Every year we are amazed and fulfilled by the sharing and cultural exchange that takes place between our American employees and international exchange students.
All of our drivers are retired men and they had varied careers as teachers, policemen, engineers, pilots, steel workers and many more! It is fascinating to see these retirees and international students embrace each other and develop lifelong friendships. In my opinion this type of exchange is at the very heart of what makes the Work & Travel program so amazing.
We had an amazing experience this year with Weicai (David) Xiong. When David arrived and started work he began making notes. When I asked him what he was doing he responded he was writing down ideas for how to improve our business and would present them to me when he was ready. After writing all his notes in Mandarin he took the time to translate many full pages of notes into English and present his ideas to me. We are planning to implement many of David’s ideas in our business."
- William McCreary, President, Gale Force Rentals, Ocean View, DE
"Since 1921, Camp Fernwood in Poland, ME has been part of the growth and development of young girls and young women. To run a summer camp, an enormous number of staff are needed, roughly 1 staff person for every 1.5 campers (a total of 170 staff in our community). Multiply this times the number of camps in Maine alone, and quickly you'll realize that there are not even enough staff aged residents in the entire state to meet the staffing needs of Maine summer camps. This is one enormous reason we cannot let the J1 Visa program disappear.
Additionally, these J1 staff bring with them an insight into their own cultures, an exposure to foreign language, customs, far away places that many campers would never experience otherwise. As a camp owner and director, I am so very hopeful that someone is able to convey the bigger picture in this scenario to show that ending the J1 program is short sighted and would be even more detrimental to Americans than to the international staff themselves."
- Christine Seving, Owner/Director, Camp Fernwood, Inc., Poland, ME
Yes, it's true, Americans can also be wonderful, caring, kind, and fantastic staff members. However, our camp teaches diversity, focusing on new experiences through getting to know International staff and campers. Our campers come from all over the world, and we love that our staff does too. Please don't take away the special environment our business has thrived upon over the last fifty years. Through hiring international staff, we've been able to grow our business and sustain 70 full-time American employees, providing them with stable salaries, healthcare, benefits, and much more. If we are not able to hire international counselors, we may be forced to reduce the size of the program, leading to potential cutbacks in full-time staff."
- Ashley Oken, Assistant Director, River Way Ranch Camp, Sanger, CA
"The J-1 program is a huge part of my camp, YMCA Camp Bernie. Through it, campers and counselors alike have the opportunity to befriend people from all over the world from different cultures. It's a great experience getting to know people from other walks of life and learning their customs just how they our learning ours.
This program also helps internationals immerse themselves in American culture and learn English. The international campers and counselors take a lot away from the experience and are some of the nicest people I have ever met. Camp is a second home and that's why people love it. It doesn't exclude anyone no matter where they come from and amazingly kind, hardworking people should not be kept out of the place they love simply for living further away than most.."
- Jessica Korgen, Montclair, NJ
"I attended Camp Carolina for the first time this year and WOW, what an experience that was.
Camp was a personal growth for me. It is here that i learnt the person who I wanted to be. What would Camp Carolina be without the international counselors that come to America on the J1 visa. Where would these kids learn about diversity? Where would they learn how to respect other cultures? Camp is not only a place for the kids to come for the summer, it is a educational facility.
These kids learn so much more in 3 weeks at camp then they would in a term at school. They learn from each other, they learn from us counselors about our lifestyles back home. Camp would not be the same without the international counselors, the kids would know the difference."
- Morgan Daly, Narrawallee, Sydney
"I started attending YMCA Camp Bernie in 2015, there are many kids from Spain and counselors from all over the world.
America is a melting pot, if we ban internationals from Camp I will no longer be able to think of America as the home of the brave, and the land of the free.
I have counselors from Mexico that have impacted my life in such a special way; having the internationals at camp for the summer benefits American business and shows diversity within the US."
- Jared Curry, Edison, NJ
Summer work travel Alumni
"I heard about the J-1 opportunity in 2012. I went to the US with this visa for the first time in 2014 to New Hampshire. It became the best experience I had.
From learning how to be independent in a different country to all the friends I made from America and the world, friends that I'm still in touch with. I left behind some judgments i had about American people, learned about diversity, understood little more about how they really see the world and what they are concerned about.
Having the chance to meet locals, guests from the ski resort I worked for, volunteers from the program for disabled sports was amazing. It is just an awesome program that make people from the world, not only Americans, closer by showing them that we are not that different and we all want to enjoy life with our peers more than caring about our differences. If they stop this program, I think this would be a sad step backwards to a more connected world."
- Mariano Radusky
"Hello, I'm a simple student from Moldova that second year second year visiting USA. For people from Moldova it's really hard to get USA visa and
this J1 visa is a opportunity to visit USA, one of my dream, to learn something new and to see the most famous and beautiful places of this great country. I respect and I'm proud of American people that they are so friendly and helpful, it's a opportunity for me to practice English language and to develop my knowledge.
After first year being in USA, when I was back in my country I was speaking English well so i got a really good job in a company that the first thing must to know English well. Actually in my country it's really hard to get a job like this, the chance is 20% / 100%.I have a sister that is younger than me and her dream is to visit NYC. It will be a sin if this program will be ended and my sister will can't visit USA to make her dream come true anymore. I hope and trust in American governament that they will not make this mistake and will not end this kind is visa for students."
- Cristian Negara, Moldova
"I took part of the J1 Summer Work & Travel Program, spent three months and six thousand miles away from home in a country that made me live one of the best Summers of my life. Being surrounded by a different language, a different culture and a different system made everything more challenging, but not necessarily impossible to overcome. There have been ups and downs and there were moments I felt lost but at the end I am glad I didn't give up.
To take part of such an amazing exchange program is something I would suggest everyone to do at least once in life, because it taught me so much and made me feel part of something amazing."
- Emmanuela Steffe
"I used to be an exchange student in Idaho. That experience made me become who I am today. I made great relationships with my American friends and experienced things that I would never ever going to have if I only study in Thailand. We are not from a rich family, so J1 visa gave me a great opportunity for me to study in USA. Also, I spread my culture to people I have met. No one knew where or what is Thailand until I was there.
I believe J1 visa not only gave me an opportunity to explore a new culture but it also gave the American people that I met to know more about the world.
My host family and some American friends came to Thailand to visit and travel. For work & travel program, I joined this program too and it made me understand how to work with other different cultures because we think differently. Right now I am working for an American company and Work & travel and exchange student program help me and guide me to this path. Please do not cancel J1 visa. It does not only helping the non-Americans to have great opportunities but it also provide advantages to Americans as well."
- Panuwat Poolpatarachewin
"My name is Gabriela Carreon, I was an Au Pair 2008-2009, just like my two sisters.
This has been the best experience I ever had. It gave me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, but mostly I learned about the American culture, improve my English and be a better person. This program makes me think about the importance to living in another country.
It is great to learn about other people´s beliefs and be tolerant. This experience was so significantly that I actually work in Alianzas Culturales an international education agency in Mexico, since 2012, because I want more people to have the same experience that I had. I believe in the international cultural exchange program as we all must share experiences, culture, costumes as this makes us become better people, to make the world more united."
-Gabriela Carreon, Au Pair coordinator, Hermosillo, Sonora
As a result of the friendships we've developed with these exceptionally brave, intelligent, curious and caring women, we have hosted their visiting families and shown them some of our favorite places in town. My children are growing up loving people from different countries who speak different languages and look different from them. Our au pairs are coming away with a love of our country that doesn't match what they expected or see in the media. If you want to support international diplomacy and tolerance, continue to support J-1 visas and cultural exchanges."
- Anya Spear, Soquel, CA
intern and trainee
"I had 4 interns during the last 8 years under the J1 visa program. They worked at the Dallas Museum of Art, TX and the Clark Art Institute, MA. They were all coming from top French Universities and they stayed between 2 to 6 months.
These internships were very beneficial for the receiving institutions as it created links with other institutions in France but also for the interns or trainees. It would be a great loss to do not have these opportunities."
- Olivier Meslay, Director, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA
"I have a textile design company and I host designers, especially from France, to come to work in my studio and gain experience in the design field. Along with our staff, it is a wonderful enriching experience, to share our workspace with a foreigner and exchange ideas alongside mentoring. We get to learn many things from our intern, along with teaching her some of the wonderful things we create here in the United States.
Today is about working all together, learning from one another and creating communication in our world of design."
- Judy Ross, Owner/CEO, Judy Ross Textiles, New York, NY
"My name is Eloy Rizzo Neto, I am a Brazilian attorney specialized in Anti-Corruption & Compliance and a huge part of my professional success in Brazil should be credited to my exchange program in the U.S.
I have spent 10 months living in the U.S., working with fabulous attorneys in high profile anti-corruption cases, some of them related to Brazil. I learned with some of the best anti-corruption attorneys in the world how to perform internal investigations and risk assessments. After the end of my J1 training program, I came back to Brazil, became a partner at KLA and have applied all the knowledge obtained during my period in the U.S. to fight corruption in Brazil.
In addition to that, I have developed relationships with several players in the U.S. and from time to time I do bring business to the U.S. law firms. In other words, I think both Brazil and the United States were benefited with my exchange program."
- Eloy Rizzo Neto, Sao Paulo, Brazil
It's enjoyable to meet young people from different parts of the world and learn about their cultures. The employment given through the Summer Work Program would not be filled by Americans if left vacant. In fact, Summer Work Travel students allow our members to operate their business at times when American students aren’t available for seasonal work, on the shoulder months of the summer and winter peak tourist season."
- Noelle Pina, Executive Director, Orleans Chamber of Commerce, Orleans, MA
"For the past 7 years churches on Cape Cod, Massachusetts have reached out to help students on the J-1 programs with housing, cultural events, medical needs, and also as a concierge on all things Cape Cod. We have found these students to be bright, engaging, and eager to learn about American culture. We consider these students world-changers!
This program is vital in dispelling the myths their countries have about the Untied States and its people! I could relate story after story showing the impact this program has in favorably changing students' hearts towards the U.S. The Lower Cape area alone needs to hire about 1,000 J-1 participants to keep the three large resorts and other businesses running during our peak months. When the H2-b program was limited last year, many businesses lost hundreds of thousands of dollars combined for remaining closed during the early season. How will these businesses survive if the J-1 program is severely limited or eliminated?"
- Rev. Catherine Boyle, Director and Committee Member, Mid-Cape J-1 Housing Program, Harwich Port, MA