When participating in a work and travel program, the work adspect tends to get overlooked. Why? Because you’re only working for three months, and the money you earn is being spent on your flights, accommodation and program fees before, during and after your placement.
However, even though three months doesn’t seem like a long time, it is when starting a new job, especially in a foreign country.
Personally, not enough was talked about in regards to the work part of the program. The predominant focus was on documentation , program and accommodation fees, and our plans after work. The fact that we had to work was almost forgotten.
At the interview, we were told a bit of information about the resort and some of their expectations of us, and, if we were successful, we were provided with a vague job offer including the minimum hours of work a week, accommodation price and our job role and pay rate. But we did not know what our weekly schedule would look like in regards to breaks, days off and what location we were based in and whether this was more than one.
Until our own research and orientation, we had a brief knowledge of the company but not who our managers were or who we would be working with such as other J-1s, permanent local staff or a combination of both. This meant the first couple of days were a bit daunting, although everyone was really welcoming so you soon settle in.
In regards to accommodation, it wasn’t until we arrived at the hotel and were given our keys that we knew where we were staying and who our roommates were. This was quite nice though as it meant we could present ourselves for the first time without people “knowing” us based off social media.
The majority of people enjoy their jobs, however being capped at 40 hours a week has caused a lot of annoyance as people are not making as much money as they could have done if they had gone to another resort.
Based on this and the things we were not told, if I partook in this program again, I would conduct more research into the resort as well as attempt to contact other workers.