Thinking about doing a J1 but don’t know where to start? Not so long ago I was in the exact same position. At the beginning everyone will say they are going but when it comes down to booking it the numbers begin to dwindle. I did my J1 in Los Angeles, I lived and worked in Santa Monica. A very rare place to do a J1 but after visiting Santa Monica a few times I really wanted to experience life living and working there. I had an absolute fantastic time, worked for about 2 months and then spent the rest of the time travelling and being a tourist. Where to begin?
Choose a destination
First things First, decide where you want to go! When picking a destination think about potential job prospects. On a J1 visa you are only allowed work in a ‘seasonal job’ so bare this in mind.
Pick a company to go with
When I booked my J1 visa I booked through USIT . Over all I had no problems at all with USIT and they made the whole process relatively easy. I had friends who booked through GO 4 Less and SAYIT. Compare the packages on prices on all the sites and decide which company you want to go with. I decided to go with USIT because I had friends who did a J1 and highly recommended USIT.
Start looking for accommodation
Here is the hard part! So many other J1-ers will be descending on the same area which makes finding accommodation quite difficult. Over the past few years there have been “horror stories” and unfortunately J1-er’s have got a bad name which adds to the difficulty of getting accommodation. I found my accommodation on Craigs List but I would recommend being extremely cautious when using Craigs List as I saw many scams and adverts that didn’t seem right.
Finding a job
Finding a job in the USA is definitely interesting. Many restaurants and bars require you o fill in their application form rather than hand in a CV (or Resume as they say in the USA). I’d recommend getting your Social Security Number immediately when you arrive because this is the first thing they will ask when you are filling in the form. There is no harm in emailing a few places before you arrive and let them know you are going to be there for X amount of time and would love to discuss job opportunities with them once you arrive. American’s love this and this is actually how I got my job.
Save Save Save
Don’t rely on the job you get on you J1 sustaining you while away. I would definitely recommend saving as much money as you can before you go. Save and save and save some more.
Lastly and most importantly ENJOY YOUR J1