host a j-1 intern or trainee

Host the J-1 Work and Travel Program

Host a BridgeUSA J-1 Work and Travel Program participant and bring the world to your community! Host Employers on the Work and Travel Program provide full-time seasonal employment to international students on summer break from their universities, as well as organize fun group activities to immerse participants in American culture.

Program Details

International university students from around the world travel to the US every year for 3-4 months to take part in a once in a lifetime opportunity to live and work in the USA. Participants work in a variety of seasonal positions at U.S. employers nationwide while experiencing the people and way of life in the USA.   

Program Requirements

All Host Employers must meet the following requirements:

  • Demonstrate that your business is seasonal in nature and peaks at specific times of the year, requiring additional staff that cannot be sourced within the local community..
  • Agree to provide at least 30 hours a week of employment over the course of the program period.
  • Agree to identify safe and affordable housing for your participants.
  • Guarantee that positions will enable participants to interact with and work alongside Americans.
  • 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 baseball game or a fun movie night out with new American coworkers. The opportunities are endless!

Cultural Activities

Cultural exchange is the cornerstone of Spirit’s J-1 Work and Travel Program. Summer BBQs with new American friends, baseball games and America’s world -famous national parks are just a few of the cultural activities our participants are encouraged to enjoy while on their program.  Cooperating Host Employers agree to identify or organize at least one cultural activity per month for their Spirit Work & Travel participants.  Activities need not be expensive, in fact some of the most popular American cultural opportunities are free! 

Examples of cultural activities include: 

  • Attending a community parade 
  • Volunteering in the local community 
  • Visiting a museum or historic site 
  • Gathering with American friends for meals, games, or movies 
  • Touring a US city or visiting a tourist site in your host community 
  • Bowling  
  • Attending a local baseball game 
  • The opportunities are endless! 


Placement Process

Interested in hiring Work and Travel participants with Spirit? Spirit makes it easy!

Spirit offers an easy, online placement process, which provides a full-service approach to the screening, recruitment and hiring of our international participants.

Your Spirit Account Advisor will work with you to determine the type of qualifications you are looking for. Then, we will go to work in identifying international candidates that match your requirements. You always have the final word on hiring, and your personal Account Advisor will work with you to determine the best hiring process for your specific situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

When are J-1 Work and Travel participants available?

Participants may participate up to 4 months during their summer break from university. Summer participants arrive between May and July and can work until August or September. Winter participants arrive in December and can work until March. Spring participants generally arrive in March and end in May. Specific program dates vary by country.

What types of positions can J-1 Work and Travel participants fill?

Spirit’s Work and Travel participants may work in a variety of entry-level positions, including: kitchen help, counter staff, wait-staff, housekeeping, retail, ride operators, and many others. Some types of positions are strictly prohibited by federal regulations. Contact Spirit for specific guidance on whether your positions qualify for the program.

How many hours per week can Work and Travel participants work? What if a participant requests overtime?

Participants usually work 30 hours per week, on average but hours may never fall below 20 hours a week. The amount of hours worked after that is up to the employer and the participant. Overtime compensation laws vary in each state and these laws apply to our participants. We require participants to limit excessive hours, which may interfere with sufficient participation in American cultural activities. Remember, this is a cultural exchange program with a work component.  So, the participant must have sufficient free time to explore their local community and make American friends.

Can a Work and Travel participant work more than one job?

Participants are allowed to work more than one job during their program. However, all secondary employment must be fully vetted by Spirit before the participant can begin work, per federal regulations.

Get Started as a Host Employer

Apply Now to Host Work & Travel

What our host employers say…

“My Account Executive always was available and responded quickly to my emails and calls. She was very helpful when we needed assistance.”- – Lisa C., Hotel Host Employer, New Hampshire
“I have worked with several sponsors. I chose Spirit because they care about the students and their American experience.”- – Brooks T., Amusement Park Host Employer, Maryland
“We loved getting to know our summer participants and look forward to working with our Account Executive and Spirit again for next summer!”- – Aaron O., Restaurant Host Employer, Oregon

What’s happening at Spirit…