Work & Travel - students start planning holidays now

18-12-2003

Many Czech university students are not thinking only about Christmas presents but also of planning their holidays. A lot of them will spend their summer abroad, taking part in the Work and Travel Program. If they want everything to go well, they should apply for the program before Christmas.

Photo: European CommissionPhoto: European Commission If you are a university student between 18 and 30, you can take part in the Work and Travel Program in several countries. And many Czech students do. The program offers an opportunity to work legally and earn some money and travel afterwards. So students can spend their holidays abroad without having to ask their parents to pay for it. The number of participants is growing each year. GTS International offers Work and Travel Program to several countries, as Lenka Dohnalova explains.

"It is the USA, South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Great Britain, Spain and Italy. The most popular one is the USA Program with about 1.000 students going there every year, it is also the oldest program, it exists since 1995."

In the new rules for acquiring a visa to the USA, Czech students are required to have a job contract before departure. The fee for the program together with the plane ticket and visa fees cost students around 1,000 dollars. They can legally work up to four months, but usually they work only for two months and spend another month travelling. If you are lucky and work hard like economics student Frantisek Voboril, you can bring home quite a lot of money, so that you do not have to work during your studies.

"I took part in the Work and Travel Program three times. I spent two summers in the USA, in Massachusetts and a few month in Cape Town in Africa. When you come back and exchange your money, it makes your student life much easier."

Students often travel in small groups, so that they can share the accommodation costs and rent a car and travel together. But then their great expectation to improve English do not come true, because they speak mostly to their Czech friends. Jaroslav Spirk, a student of English at Charles University, spent his summer in the USA.

"I went to the USA to get some work and travel experience as all the agencies offer. I went there because it is difficult to get a scholarship. The good thing about it was that I learned some rude words in Spanish, because if you go to California you get to know a couple of Mexicans. The bad thing was that we were looking for work for month and a half and we ended up working as construction side workers. Next we did not really learn English, so that was not a big advantage either."

Although his experience was rather negative and he still owes money to his parents who paid the program fees, he loved the week he spent travelling around National Parks in California and says he would go there again.

18-12-2003