Visa applications open in May. Book now to get the snowball rolling.
What does your uni summer holiday and some of the best skiing in the world have in common? They’re both in America! Sponsorship, visa support and a pre-arranged winter job all included.
Fancy a yarn?
All your Christmases
Earn up to USD $7,000 over the holidays
Here’s the math working in Food Service at the 4-star YMCA of the Rockies in Colorado. USD $12.56 ph x 40 hrs = $502.40 pw. Accommodation + 3 meals a day = included. Gear rental and lift pass = included. x 12 weeks = USD $6,928.80 + tips*
Working holiday spirit
Spend your uni summer holiday living and working where the tourists pay to go – from the snow-covered slopes of the Rockies to the twinkling lights of Chicago.
We provide the J-1 visa help, US sponsorship and pre-arranged job you need to have an all-American winter season in the States. You’ll start earning as soon as you land (usually USD $7-15 an hour, plus tips where applicable). And because many of our ski resort employers include subsidised staff accommodation, meals, ski rental and lift passes – there aren’t as many upfront costs to consider when you’re away.
Working in the States will also look great on your resume – growing your transferrable skills and showing future employers you have the confidence to live overseas.
About the visa
Who and for how long
This student-only J-1 cultural exchange visa allows you to work for up to 12 weeks between Oct/Nov-Feb (depending on your job dates), plus 30 days afterwards to travel around America.
In order to apply for a J-1 visa, you need to have a US sponsor. That’s where JENZA and our US partner CIEE (the longest running non-profit sponsor in America) come in to provide all the necessary checks and paperwork.
The J-1 visa consists of an online application and in-person visa appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate. The visa cost is currently USD $160 – paid directly to the embassy. Applications close 31 July 2023.
Make it work
Where and what you can do
Our network of tried-and-trusted seasonal employers need international students for a reason – they’re located in America’s post popular winter tourist spots.
Ordinary jobs in extraordinary places, think the holiday jobs you see in the Hallmark Christmas movies – working in ski resorts, lodges, hotels, restaurants and bars. Working as servers, retail assistants, lift attendants, rental technicians and housekeepers.
Scroll the page to check out some of our US ski season employers.
How it works
The application process
1. Apply online First, check you’re eligible for a J-1 visa in the above tab, pay your deposit, and wait for us to get in touch with the next steps. Work USA applications close on July 31 2023, but we recommend applying as soon as possible to ensure you get your preferred job and J-1 visa on time.
2. Land a job A pre-arranged job is a condition of your J-1 visa. We’ll set you up on the JENZA Job Hub where you can search, apply and interview via video for pre-vetted jobs. Can’t find a match? Our squad are on hand to help you find a position.
3. Sponsorship application Once hired, we’ll start the sponsorship process to secure your DS2019 form (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor status) which is needed to apply for your visa. This can take up to eight weeks. We’ll then guide you through the J-1 visa application process.
4. Embassy interview We’ll help you arrange and prepare for your in-person embassy interview. Be prepared for them to keep your passport for around two weeks. Once approved, you can collect your passport or have it couriered – depending on what you’ve arranged.
5. Living room dance Virtual high fives with the team and other Jen-setters going to the States on your pre-departure group call. We host a live FAQ to answer all your questions, plus, loop you up with other travellers via our JENZA Discord group chats.
US sponsorship and visa assistance
Sponsorship A large part of your program cost goes towards providing the sponsorship you need to work in the States. Together with our US partner, we do all the checks and provide all the paperwork you need to work in America. We also include your SEVIS government fee.
Visa Unfortunately, the US government doesn’t allow us to apply for your J-1 visa on your behalf. However, we’re with you every step of the way – with all the guidance, forms and prep you need to apply for your visa and nail your embassy interview.
Pre-arranged winter or ski season job
It's a condition of your J-1 visa to have a job secured before you go. Here's how we get the job done - minus the work drama.
Our Dream Jobs team scour the country to find US employers looking to take on international students for the winter. Once you’ve paid you deposit, you’ll get access to our JENZA Job Hub where you can start searching and applying for jobs.
Interviews are done via video and jobs are filled on a first come first served basis, so we recommend applying in May-Jul for the best chance of securing the job you want.
If you’re applying with a friend, while it’s not guaranteed that you’ll be placed together, we’d recommend applying with the bigger employers such as ski resorts who take on the largest numbers of staff. Don’t forget to mention in your application the name of the person you’re travelling with.
If you'd rather find your own job, that’s cool like ski school. You can still apply for JENZA Work USA, we’ll just need to get your employer vetted and approved by our US sponsor.
Expert advice from people who’ve been
Your working holiday ride or die, our JENZA Support Squad have all worked the world so can give you firsthand advice on moving abroad. As well as being a geeky bunch of travel nerds and visa whisperers, we're also all mental health awareness trained. Which means we know how to connect like humans – not customer service bots.
On top of being at the other end of an email or video call throughout the booking process, we also include a group call with a live Q&A before you go to answer all your questions.
Subsidised staff accommodation
When you arrive, your employer will provide your orientation and set up all the training you need to do your job.
Most of our hospitality employers offer free or subsidised staff accommodation. This is usually shared and if not free of charge, can cost anywhere between USD $50-$125 per week. Some may also include up to three meals a day, plus free or discounted lift passes and rental.
If accommodation isn't provided, either your employer, JENZA or CIEE (our visa sponsor) will be able to help with your search.
Leaving home can be tough at times, but we’re there for it. You’ll have the support of your employer, 24/7 support from CIEE (our US-based partners), and of course – your JENZA Support Squad at home.
13 months' medical insurance, SIM and more
We include 13 months' medical insurance to cover your 12-month work visa, plus a 30 days grace period to travel. If you're planning to stay for the full 14 months of your J-1 visa, we can extend your medical insurance by a month for USD $90 before you depart.
We also include a SIM card to stay in touch, and our US sponsor will provide guidance on how to sort your Social Security number and US bank account. (If required).
Plus, these JENZA community perks
Free (or close to free) stuff Our favourite F word. Score hundreds of overseas discounts with our virtual JENZA X IYTC card.
Earn extra cash Shot it? Share it. We pay for blogs, vlogs, images and videos. DM us on Insta and send us a pitch.
Ask an alumni Hear from people who've been. We try to have an alumni on every pre-departure call to answer all your questions.
Find a friend Meet people like you. Connect with travellers arriving at the same time on our JENZA Discord group chats.
Book now pay later Secure your spot with $180 deposit, paying the balance 12 weeks before you fly.
About our pricing Our mission is to make working abroad more accessible. Meaning we do everything we can pay our team, support our partners and make a profit – without screwing over the people who matter. Read about how our pricing works and the people involved in making your JENZA happen.
We also walk the walk, donating 5% of profits to our overseas scholarship fund.
What’s not included
US visa fee
This is paid directly to the US Embassy and currently costs USD $160 (+ an additional $105 for Australia passport holders.)
You may be required to show proof that you can access USD $800.
Police background check (if required)
This varies per country, but is usually between USD $50-100.
We don’t recommend booking flights until your visa is approved.
Travel insurance for the USA
We include medical insurance for the duration of your visa, but you must take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover against the rest of your trip. For example, flight delays, cancellation and curtailment, personal belongings, legal costs, adventure sports, and more.
Get it for free
Apply to be our next Work USA roadtester!
We’re committed to serving our travellers first – which is why we send roadtesters out every year to check we’re doing things right. We’re currently looking for a 2023 Work USA roadtester. If you’re into good travel karma (helping out your fellow travellers with tips and content in exchange for a free program) get in touch.
Back in the USA
Work, ski, study, repeat
God bless America and the J-1 visa! You can do Work USA every uni summer holiday that you’re studying, up to three times in total.
Travel you can trust
Our Extra Mile Promise
Every JENZA experience has been shaped by our Youth Advisory Panel, roadtested by our travellers, and backed by 60+ years of work abroad expertise. But if we still don’t rock your world, we’ll refund the part of your JENZA program you’re not happy with. T&Cs apply