Work and Travel moved to 2021? Secure your interests!

Move your program to 2021? What to remember?

Due to the COVID-19, times of uncertainty, some sponsors and agencies propose to move the Work and Travel program date to 2021. It is an interesting proposition but with lots of areas to be covered. And it’s not for everybody! 

What you need to bear in mind, when deciding wheater it is for you or not, are especially:

The global and local situation with COVID-19 

Sadly, there is no guarantee that in summer 2021 all the restrictions will be gone, and that the World will shake COVID-19 off. We probably will learn about the situation in the upcoming months. Both scenarios are possible – local (in the US or your country) or global outbreak. 

Solution: make sure to have a paragraph about what will happen in such a scenario.

Your Employer 

It is the end of March 2020. Most of you have the employer already confirmed. If you decide to move the program to 2021, how will this affect this relation? We want to point out a couple of possibilities you have to be bear in mind.

  • Your employer goes out of business

This is a pretty straightforward situation.

  • Your employer is struggling financially 

With the possible shift in the global economy, the repercussions might be very depressing. From layoffs to moving to fewer hours a week, this will not be a good sign for the program. 

  • Your employer changed the hiring strategy 

Again, the shift in the global economy might cause employers to pick the local workforce over international staff. This makes both senses from the business and PR perspective. 

  • Your position is unavailable 

Due to the new circumstances, your work position might be either filled out or unavailable. Will you be offered another position at that employer? What is best for you? Change of employer or position? You should secure yourself for such a situation. 

All of the above might disrupt your application process. When figuring this situation up, you should decide what counts the most for you. 

  • location,
  • type of employer,
  • position and/or wage 

Solution: set your pain points and don’t go below them. Secondly, make sure you cover all the scenarios in the agreement. Try to secure at least one of the above not to end up disappointed. 

Your Sponsor/Agency status

In these difficult times, some of the Agencies or Sponsors (less likely) might bankrupt. Current circumstances create an extraordinary situation that impacts the Work and Travel industry. 

  • Agencies 

If your Agency goes out of business, make sure to have a back-up plan. I could imagine being processed by other agencies in your home country. Just make sure that you will not be charged extra for such a service. 

  • Sponsors 

Worst case scenario – you will not go to the US or will have to apply to other organizations. 

Solution: There should be a note that despite the condition of the Agency, the Sponsor will deliver for you. If your visa sponsor bankrupts, you are screwed – try to secure at least a refund.

Your student status 

This honestly is up to you. If you lose your student status, you will not be able to obtain a visa. 

Solution: Be a good student. And make sure to have some paragraphs describing the situation of losing the student status by you.  We recommend refunds. 

Your personal situation

This the category, that you know best. In bullet points a couple of things:

  • health issues
  • financial situation
  • LOVE 🙂 
  • change of plans 
  • dream job in your home country 

And many, many others. Solution? Hard to say. You need to calculate if any of these will happen and make a decision. 


This is yet another area of uncertainty! And a pretty crucial one. Let’s identify what financial aspects you need to take into account when making a decision. The list is open and focuses on the most important ones.

  • Exchange rate 

Nobody knows what will be the exchange rate at the time of your program. We are talking here about 17 – 20 months’ perspective from today. That is extremely away from now, and in an unstable situation, it is hard to predict this rate. 

  • Your personal finances 

You have no idea what kind of impact COVID-19 might have on you and your family. We keep fingers crossed for the best possible outcome, but you never know. Be prepared for the extreme circumstances in the upcoming months. 

  • State of the economy in the US 

There might be pressure to hire Americans if the crisis hit the economy. Nationalisms, protectionism might be obstacles on the way to the US. We hope not 🙁  

  • Air ticket 

Keep your fingers crossed for the air tickets to remain as cheap as they are right now! Secure yourselves in the agreement on such occasion. 

  • Other payments 

Make sure that no new payments will apply to you. You don’t want to pay double.

Solution: Again, set your limits, and implement it in the agreement. 

Our recommendation is to have any sort of document that will cover the conditions for both parties. As you can see, there are lots of areas that can affect your future program. 
You have to make sure that your future on Work and Travel is secured in the agreement or other document! And it is written down and signed.
Overall we feel that the US will host millions of students on Work and Travel in upcoming years! 

Coronavirus versus Work and Travel situation

Oh my, oh my! We did not want to admit it, but it seems like the program is in extreme danger!

Current situation

We are currently facing an unprecedented global situation. Closed borders, cities under the quarantine, travel restrictions, problems with returning home from the aborad. On top of that are participants on the Work and Travel program or ready to depart to the USA.

Possible scenarios

We have three scenarios, with different degrees of probability, to take place.

Scenario A – all programs canceled

A possible scenario that Sponsors or Governments will cancel all of the programs this year. Not only Work and Travel but also others such as Study Abroad or Language Courses. As we follow the situation, we believe that under the current circumstances this scenario is more than possible. 

This scenario causes multiple unpleasant, frustrating situations. You might lose the money, miss the opportunity of gaining experience, or growing as a person. For some participants, this year was the last chance to take part in the Work and Travel.

Scenario B – some programs canceled

In this scenario, some of the programs will take place, and some others will not. Endangered are the ones that have start planned for the near future, such as Summer Work and Travel (only two months till kick-off!). I could imagine Study Abroad to happen or some winter language courses, but not Work and Travel. We have to bear in mind that the start of the program depends not only on the travel restrictions but on other factors such as the global economy, pandemic threat levels, etc.

Scenario C – programs postponed

Yeah, right… It is around two months for the start of the Summer Work and Travel. Such a late start would make the programs very short, and I doubt that would exceed your expectations. That is rather unlikely for the Work and Travel program. For some other program – maybe.

Our opinion

Based on both life experience and experience from running the program for 12 years, I think that this year the program will not take place. It can be either canceled by the Department of State or Sponsors. I think that the first option is more likely.

We keep fingers crossed for the program!

Problems participants are facing

Participants that are currently on the Work and Travel Program

There might be some students on the Spring Work and Travel Program. Main issues that might happen are:

  • early end of the program 
  • stuck in the USA
  • losing a job or housing 
  • problems with going back home 

Let us know if you might be affected by any of the above! Here is the link to the form.

Participants prior to the Work and Travel Program

This is the worst time a traveler might ever be stuck in. The lack of certainty and no control over the situation is extremely frustrating. What is going to happen if the program will not take place? How will it affect the vacation and travel plans? Lastly, how will it affect your personal growth and financial situation?

Money, money

This situation, no matter what, impacts your financial situation because:

  • you have to wait for if any refund of the program fees
  • some already paid for the visa appointment
  • some already have a ticket
  • you will not make money on the program 

Let’s figure out what can be done! 

What can we do together

  • Monitor the situation
  • Quantify our problems!
  • Inform the World about our situation 
  • Stay together (but at home!)

This is serious! We will be back on Monday! Keep in touch. Stay safe!