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The WISE Foundation Work & Travel Program

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Brenda Frix

on 10 October 2014

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Transcript of The WISE Foundation Work & Travel Program

The WISE Foundation Work & Travel Program

WISE is short for The Foundation for Worldwide International Student Exchange.
Non-profit organization specializing in international education and exchange opportunities.
Designated by the U.S. Department of State as a J1 Visa Sponsor.

About WISE
Have an exchange experience that allows the sharing of your culture and US culture!
The chance to live, work, and travel in the U.S.
Form friendships with people from all over the world.
Live independently in a foreign country.
Develop responsibility and maturity while working in the United States.

Why Go?
What do I need to know before going to the USA?

DS-2019 Form.
Read both pages, sign and date.
Bring with you to consulate.
Check on US Consulate requirements in your country.
You may need an appointment.
Other necessary papers to bring.
Plan ahead! Be aware that the visa process may take weeks!

Applying for Your J-1 Visa Stamp
Who is WISE anyway?
What am I going to get out of going to the USA?

How do I get into the USA?

Provided by WISE (your sponsor)
Required by the U.S. Consulate for visa applications
Required when entering and exiting the U.S.
In other words…

DS-2019 Form
Getting Ready to Go

What do I need?
Be sure to bring at least 1 weeks worth of clothing that will be comfortable to work in and that are acceptable to your employer.-Do NOT bring valuables.
Research your housing before departure and know what to expect.
Arrange your transportation to your housing/job site.
Research cultural exchange opportunities in the area where you’ll be living/working.
Bring at least $800-$1000 as it will be at least 2-3 weeks before you receive your first paycheck.
Travelers checks, debit/cards are a good idea.
Open a bank account upon arrival!
If you intend to travel at the end of your program, PLAN NOW!

Planning for Travel

Planning early is best!
Consider your dates of employment and your university summer break dates.

Job Expectations

What do I need to know about work?

Follow ALL rules of your employer.
You are subject to the same rules as all US citizens, residents, and full-time employees.
Be prepared to meet conservative grooming standards. Natural hair colors, shaving, ear piercings.
Carefully read your job offer and any other employment documents that you receive.
Be prepared to
show up on time
work hard with a good attitude

Questions to ask about my job before I arrive:

When do I start?
What time of day does work start, and when do I get off?
What days do I get off?
What are my job duties?
Do I need to buy a uniform?
Who is my supervisor?
How do I get to and from work?
What cultural exchange opportunities has my employer arranged for me?

Housing Expectations

What do I need to know about where I will live?

Know if your employer provides housing or if you are responsible for finding your own.
If possible, get a copy of the housing contract and review it ahead of time to make sure you understand everything.
You need to clean your own home.
Ask questions!

Questions to ask about my housing before I arrive:

cafeteria or kitchen
laundry facilities
if it is furnished
when rent is due
how rent is paid
How many bedrooms and bathrooms
How many people per bedroom and how many per bathroom
Co-ed or separated
Locks on windows and doors
Housing deposit
Terms of housing deposit refund
How far from work
How far from stores, groceries, cultural exchange opportunities
housing rules

Personal Safety

How do I stay safe?

- Don’t bring them. If you do, keep them safe.
Housing safety.
-Lock your doors.
-Don’t allow strangers in.
Transportation tips.
- We strongly recommend that you don’t drive in the U.S.
- Don’t hitchhike.
- Follow bicycle safety regulations.
Drugs and alcohol.
- Know the laws regarding alcohol.
- Don’t do drugs.
Emergency contact information.
Keep your WISE ID and insurance card with you at all times.

Arrival in the USA
Choose the best Airline for your location.
Airport & Transportation pick-up guidelines.
Show up at the correct airport.
Unless requested, do not arrive on weekends or late at night.

How do I arrive to my employer?


How do I clear customs and immigration?

Important Documents for Immigration:
Visa stamp
DS 2019 form
Job offer

New Regulations Regarding the I-94
You will no longer be issued a paper I-94 at customs and immigration. You will be provided with a CBP admission stamp on your travel document.
If you need a copy of your I-94 (record of admission) for verification of alien registration, immigration status or employment authorization, it can be obtained from www.cbp.gov/I94. You will need a copy of your I-94 to apply for your Social Security number, so make sure to visit this website and follow the instructions for obtaining a paper copy of your I-94, as you will not be issued one upon arrival.

Validation of Your Visa


Validate online or by phone within 72 hours of your arrival.
We must have the address where you live, not where you work.
Your visa MUST be validated at least 3 days before you apply for your social security card.
Failure to validate will put your program in jeopardy of being ended early by WISE!!!

Applying for Your Social Security Number

How do I get a Social Security Card?

You must be in US for at least 10 days prior to applying for your social security card.
*You will receive your card faster if you wait 10 days before applying.
You must validate your visa 72 hours before applying for your social security number (SSN).
A social security card is required to work in the US.
You will need this number to pay taxes in the US.
Required documents to apply for SSN: passport, I-94 card, DS-2019 form, program sponsor letter, and job offer form.
If you already have a SSN, you DO NOT need to reapply

What is the key to my success on the program?

Communication with WISE

It’s a big deal…

You must provide WISE with a valid email address that works in the U.S. at the time of your application.
You must check your emails at least once a week.
You must respond to all monthly communication emails.
Do NOT “opt-out” of the Survey Monkey® emails.
Provide WISE with your cell phone number in the U.S.
Your sponsorship may be withdrawn if we do not receive your response to our communications.

Why did I come on the Work & Travel Program?

ex-change \iks-'chanj, 'eks-,\:
an occurrence in which people give things of similar value to each other : the act of giving or taking one thing in return for another thing. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

cul-ture \'kel-cher\:
the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

cultural exchange





Common Negative Stereotypes

Common Positive Stereotypes

Varies by region – North, South, Midwest, West
Accents, foods, values, histories
Made up of lots of different cultures
Emphasis on individualism and personal rights
More about thriving than surviving

Cultural Exchange

Cultural Exchange is the purpose of the J1 Work & Travel Program.
WISE will send communication prior to and during your program regarding cultural exchange opportunities in your host city and surrounding areas.
WISE also maintains accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest through which we organize, collect and distribute ideas and suggestions for cultural exchange activities in your area.
WISE strongly encourages you to take part in these opportunities.

Cultural Exchange Ideas

Go with a group of friends to festivals, fairs, concerts, etc.
Invite friends and neighbors for dinner where everyone brings a dish from their country.
Volunteer in your community.

Teach your friends your favorite sport from your home country.
Go hiking, canoeing, biking, etc.
Attend your local youth hostel or university’s international coffee hour, lectures, movie nights, etc.
Take an English course at a local university.
Celebrate holidays from your home country with your friends from other countries, and celebrate their holidays with them.

Cultural Exchange Resources

WISE maintains a Pinterest page with boards for all 50 states, as well as for road trips, holidays, national parks, travel tips, outdoor adventures, American cultural information, and volunteer opportunities. If you need ideas for what to do and see in your area, check out our Pinterest board.

Other useful resources:
www.foursquare.com – search by city for all kinds of things to see and do
www.volunteermatch.com – search for volunteer opportunities in your community

What do I need to know about living in the USA?

Life in the USA

-“normal” in your culture vs. “normal” in American culture
-Public transportation – America is a car nation.
-Your program – cultural exchange, not work or tourism
-Short-term stay – adapting, coping, succeeding

Culture Shock

What is culture shock?

A period of adjustment to a new culture and environment.
Occurs especially during the first few weeks of life in a new environment.
Initial period of excitement followed by a realization of reality and sadness/depression.
You will be challenged and it will be hard.
Large AND small changes in your daily life will affect you.
Any feelings you have are completely normal.

Ways to Reduce Cultural Stress

How do I deal with a different culture?

Have realistic expectations:
Don’t expect the United States to be like your home country.
Adjusting will take time.
Make friends while on program.
Talk to other international students and co-workers.
Take care of yourself.
Sleep, eat well, exercise.
Integrate yourself into US culture.
Meal times, change your routines, etc.
Take part in cultural activities that WISE informs you about.
Talk to your employer & WISE if you have any problems.
We are all here to help you.
Reverse culture shock.
Happens when you return home.

Bike Safety

Every year participants on the program are injured while riding bikes, and some have even been killed. Your safety is our number one concern, so we urge you to take the necessary precautions when riding a bike in the U.S.
All 50 states require a front white light and a rear red light when riding in low light or after dark.  Lights are easily installed and can easily be purchased at most general stores such as Walmart and Target. 
Bicycle helmets, which can also be purchased at these stores, are required in some cities and states but it is ALWAYS recommended by WISE. 

NOT all roads are safe for traveling by bicycle and you should exercise good judgment in deciding if a road is appropriate for travel by bicycle.
We ask that you please watch this video from the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to prepare you for safe travels on your bike this summer.
Laws in the United States

Can I party with my friends?

You are subject to all the laws of this country.
Legal drinking age is 21.
Open container laws.
Buying Alcohol for someone under 21.
Partying with someone under 21 who is drinking alcohol
If you do any of the following, you will immediately be dismissed from the program:
Illegal drugs (including marijuana).
Stealing (in any form).
Physical aggression or sexual harassment.
Driving without a driver’s license and car insurance.

Medical Insurance


With your DS-2019 form, you will receive an insurance card and information.
What to do when you go to the doctor.
Required paperwork.
Insurance does NOT cover pregnancy, dental, and preexisting conditions
Co-Pay is $75-$150.
If you are injured on the job, tell your employer and WISE immediately. It will be covered by worker’s compensation.

Changing Jobs and Addresses

You MUST contact WISE immediately before you make any changes!!
WISE can help you with any problems you might have.
WISE requires that you keep us informed of your current living address at all times.
Prior approval by WISE is required for all job changes.

Contact WISE before changing jobs or moving
Why would I want to change my job?
Can I work any job that I want to?

Sponsors must not place participants:
(1) In positions that could bring notoriety or disrepute to the Exchange Visitor Program;
(2) In sales positions that require participants to purchase inventory that they must sell in order to support themselves;
(3) In domestic help positions in private homes (e.g., child care, elder care, gardener, chauffeur);
(4) As pedicab or rolling chair drivers or operators;
(5) As operators or drivers of vehicles or vessels for which drivers’ licenses are equired regardless of whether they carry passengers or not;
(6) In positions related to clinical care that involves patient contact;
(7) In any position in the adult entertainment industry (including, but not limited to jobs with escort services, adult book/video stores, and strip clubs);
(8) In positions requiring work hours that fall predominantly between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.;
(9) In positions declared hazardous to youth by the Secretary of Labor at Subpart E of 29 CFR part 570;
(10) In positions that require sustained physical contact with other people and/or adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Universal Blood and Body Fluid Precautions guidelines (e.g., body piercing, tattooing, massage, manicure);
(11) In positions that are substantially commission-based and thus do not guarantee that participants will be paid minimum wage in accordance with federal and state standards;
(12) In positions involved in gaming and gambling that include direct participation in wagering and/or betting;
(13) In positions in chemical pest control, warehousing, catalogue/online order distribution centers;
(14) In positions with travelling fairs or itinerant concessionaires;
(15) In positions for which there is another specific J category (e.g., camp counselor, intern, trainee); or
(16) After November 1, 2012, in positions in the North American Industry Classification System’s (NAICS) Goods Producing Industries occupational categories industry sectors 11, 21, 23, 31–33 numbers (set forth at http://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/ iag_index_naics.htm).

Procedure for Changing Jobs
How do I change Jobs?

Changing jobs is possible, but participants must provide the following for review and approval PRIOR to receiving permission from WISE:
Job offer
Host site Agreement
Workers Compensation Policy
copy of the employer’s business license
Two weeks’ notice of your last day of work to your current employer
Address of where you’ll be living
Pictures of your new housing

Jobs you are NOT allowed to work:
There are certain jobs you are not allowed to work while on the W&T Program. Examples include:
domestic help positions in private homes (e.g. childcare, elder care, gardener, chauffeur)
as a pedi-cab or rolling chair driver or operator
 as operator of a vehicle or vessel that carriers passengers for hire and/or for which a commercial driver’s license is required
positions requiring work hours that fall
predominantly between 10:00p.m. & 6:00a.m.
Can I get a second job?
WISE encourages you not to get a second job because this takes away from your ability to focus on cultural exchange and enjoying your time in the U.S.
Participants are allowed to work second jobs while on the program, but only if:

You first contact the WISE Foundation to discuss your reasons for wanting a second job, and what kind of job you want to work.
You must submit the required vetting documents from the second employer
you can start working there.
Once WISE has vetted and approved the job, WISE will notify you and the employer so that you can begin working. If WISE declares the position to be prohibited, you may
work in that position, even if it is not on the prohibited jobs list.
If you do work in a prohibited job, or if you begin working in a job before WISE approves it, your WISE Foundation Work & Travel Program could be terminated.
You may not miss work at your first job to go to your second job. The job for which you were issued a visa must take first priority.

What should I do if I have a problem?
Quit my job immediately.
Return to my home country without telling anyone.
Fight with the person who is upsetting me.
Have a hysterical breakdown and think that no one will help me.
Don’t tell my sponsor anything.

Solving Problems

You will have some problems – it’s normal!
It will take time to adjust to a new situation.
First step: talk to your supervisor.
They are there to help you!
Second step: contact WISE if the problem continues.
Problems CAN be solved by talking it out. You cannot just quit your job.
Do what you can to avoid problems:
Respect US laws, employer rules, and your sponsor’s rules.

What if I have a problem?

What if something happens and I can’t finish my program?

You are expected to complete the dates of your program.
You should
contact the WISE Foundation if a situation arises which leads you to question whether or not you will complete your program. WISE will work with you to make the best decision for your program.
simply leave without telling anyone. This is one of the worst mistakes you could make!


How do I stay in touch with people?

The most important tool to have – good communication with others.
Phone system:
Local calls, area codes, long-distance, international calls, collect calls, phone cards.
Skype, email, Whatsapp, Viber, etc.
US mail system:
Sending mail: post office, postage.
Receiving mail: know your living address
WISE Contact Information

How do I contact WISE?

We are here for you, 24 hours a day.
WISE address:
1853 Piedmont Rd. Suite 200
Marietta, GA 30066
If you have any questions:
Phone: 1-770-579-0567
Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm EST.
E-mail: worktravel@wisefoundation.com
For 24-hour assistance with emergencies:
Call 1-888-242-7456.
Memorize this number.
FREE phone number from any phone.

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

Travel After Your Program
Can I travel at the end of my program?

Due to the shortness of your program and the commitment made by your employer, it will not be possible to take more than a day or two off at a time to travel during your program.
You are able to travel up to 30 days in the U.S. or until your university classes start back-whichever comes first.
Remember – planning for your travel time BEFORE your program begins is a great way to ensure that you are able to travel at the end of your program!
Benefits of travelling at the end of your program:
More Cultural Exchange!!
You can travel with your new friends!
Fall weather.
Off Season (Cheaper)
Your English level will be much better.
You can plan ahead and build a budget for your trip.
You can plan your return ticket from a city you want to visit e.g. NYC, DC, Los Angeles…

Wait…it’s over?

The experience doesn’t end when you leave the U.S…
Going Home

You’ve had an amazing summer. Now what? Don’t let it end – share it!

You are expected to return home upon completion of your program.
Program evaluation form.
Share your experience!
Join an alumni group.
Share your pictures, videos, and stories with WISE!

Taxes in the US

How do I get my tax money back?

You are required to pay taxes on all money earned while in the US.
You must receive a paycheck from your employer.
Generally, you will receive all of your money back from the government.
You will receive more information about taxes in January.
Filing is usually done in February of the following year.
Tax forms you will submit to the government (1040NR) can be found at www.irs.gov.

On a Final Note….

How to be successful – it’s not too complicated.

How to have a Successful Program:

Realistic expectations.
Know and follow the rules and regulations of the WISE Work & Travel Program, and the laws of U.S. government.
Read the WISE Participant Manual. Know what is expected of you.
Read the education emails WISE sends to prior to arrival. Ask Questions if needed!
Good communication between student, employer, overseas agent, and WISE!

Any Questions?


The WISE Foundation


Other Ways to Connect with WISE

To share your photos with us!



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