Jobs in hospitality are not just ideal for summer fun; they can open doors to a whole host of other career paths as well. Americans have some of the highest levels of customer service in the world, so you know that working in a hospitality role in the USA is going to stand you in good stead for the future. Jenny Rowe, a recent graduate from Bristol, spent her summers working in Reservations at a resort, and through the contacts she made is now working in an entry level position in the Sales and Marketing Department, helping her to develop global business skills. Jobs in Reservations often include some sales training, so are the perfect place to start if you are looking to go into the business side of hospitality.
Yummy Jobs offers the Disney International College Program for Graduates. This programme combines focused training in hospitality management with paid work experience at the Walt Disney World Resort. Students who have graduated with a related degree (see below) in the last two years can apply to study for a postgraduate certificate in Hospitality or Business. On this six month programme (with 30 days at the end to travel!) you will spend five days a week working as anything from a lifeguard to selling food and beverages at a refreshments stand, with another full day each week attending classes. You will typically choose from a range of classes including Event Management, Hospitality Brand Management and Survey Wines of the World! The programmes begin in January, April, July and October; applications for July arrivals will close in April. The University of Central Florida Program costs $2,225, not including flights, insurance or other associated visa fees. You will need a J1 Academic visa, which does not prevent you from applying for other types of J1 visa in the future.
If you already have some hospitality training or experience, the USA is a great place to improve your skills on an internship or practical training placement for 6 – 18 months. Companies such as Yummy Jobs and USA Placement can help with finding a job, devising a training plan and filing for a visa. USA Placement focuses on high-end luxury properties, so you can be sure you will be getting top-notch work experience. They claim to have higher minimum wage requirements than most recruiters in the industry; you can expect to earn between $10 to $21 per hour, depending the cost of living in your location. With their full placement service you cannot choose your destination but they tell us that most of their positions are in major cities. USA Placement also claim to have some of the fastest visa filing times; once they have received all relevant paperwork they can process your visa in around two weeks. For the visa and insurance, the costs are $2300 for an 18 month placement, $2000 for 12 months and $1200 for 6 months.
All in all, hospitality is one of the most exciting and diverse industries out there. If you like working with people and want the adventure of a lifetime, then what are you waiting for?
Summary of Visa Options
H2B – Temporary work visa; very difficult to obtain.
J1 Work and Travel – Allows full-time degree students to spend up to 4 months working with 30 days to travel afterwards, during university holidays.
J1 Academic Study and Work – Work part-time while taking classes at a university or college.
J1 Internship – Gain work experience for up to 12 months either as part of your degree or diploma, or within 12 months of graduating. Training must be in a field related to your degree/diploma.
J1 Practical Training Placements – Train on the job for 12-18 months. You need a degree and at least one year of related work experience outside of the US, or at least 5 years of related work experience outside of the US to be eligible for this visa.
Tips for Choosing a Visa Agency
USA Placement suggests that before choosing to go with any company, you should ask them the following questions:
- What happens if the host property does not give the promised or proper training?
- Would I be able to move to another property that I find myself which would give me the desired training? (Many companies will only give the options to go home or stay in the current situation)
- Have you ever had candidates who did not receive proper training?
- What did you do to help the candidate? (Did the company help in rectifying problems?)
- Do you get paid for your services by the host property? (After all, if the hotel is paying for the company’s services, if things go wrong, whose side will the placement company be on?)
Related Degrees for the J1 Academic visa (for the Walt Disney World International College Program for Graduates):
Human Resources Management
Radio and Television