Every year, Spirit Cultural Exchange sponsors thousands of international university students who are on their break between academic years as they work in popular tourist destinations across the United States. These students are part of the U.S. Department of State BridgeUSA Work and Travel program. The cultural exchange program allows Work and Travel participants an opportunity to interact with American citizens and experience American culture while also working in jobs that provide valuable life skills and funds to travel in the United States.
Spirit Host Employers benefit from the Work and Travel program just as much as the participants they employ. Want to learn more about the perks of being a Spirit Host Employer? Here are the top three benefits of hiring Spirit’s Work and Travel participants for your winter season.
1. Seasonal staffing assistance
Tourism-driven communities regularly have seasonal staffing needs that exceed the available local workforce. This shortfall makes it difficult to maintain normal operations during seasonal spikes. In the winter, this situation is especially common in ski towns.
Work and Travel participants can help supplement and add enrichment to your workforce and company culture. They are usually available to join your team for about three months. Standard arrival and departure dates range from around December 15 to March 15 (though some arrive earlier, and some can stay later). Spirit participants typically fill positions in:
– Food and beverage
– Ski lift operator
“We loved getting to know our participants and look forward to working with our Account Advisor and Spirit again for next season!” – Aaron O., Restaurant Host Employer
2. Access to a pool of talented young employees
Participants on the Work and Travel program are university students who come from a variety of educational backgrounds and can be studying anything from Architecture to Business to Law. Many of them have some part-time work experience and are eager to practice their English and interact with customers at an American company.
Your Spirit Account Advisor will work with you to determine the type of qualifications you are looking for. Then, we will identify international candidates that match your requirements. Your personal Account Advisor will work with you to determine the best hiring process for your specific situation.
3. Mutual understanding of diverse backgrounds
In a typical winter, Spirit sponsors students from across South America, including countries like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru. As you can imagine, many of these participants are excited for a real U.S. winter experience! They are also excited to meet new American friends – often their own coworkers – and share their culture.
As a supervisor, you have an important role to play in fostering these lifelong friendships. Host Employers must embrace the cultural exchange purpose of the program and organize or identify monthly American cultural activities that your exchange participants can enjoy outside of their employment. Examples include international night dinners, outings to a local hockey game, or a fun movie night out with new American coworkers. Following are a few examples of past Spirit participants and their experience in the USA:
If you think being a Spirit Host Employer is the perfect fit for your company, here are some requirements to participate in the program.
To participate, Host Employers provide the following:
- Identify safe and affordable housing that is easy accessible from work
- Be able to show seasonal spike in business over winter months
- Be willing to provide cultural activities for participants
- Have had no lay-offs or strikes in last 120 days
- Must pay the same as Americans in equivalent positions
Thinking about becoming a Spirit Host Employer this winter?
Learn more on our website or, if you are ready to apply, please complete this application form. You will be contacted by a Spirit Account Advisor who will answer your questions and provide more details about the program.