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11 posts categorized "5. Toolkit"

EMPLOYER TOOLKIT: CULTURAL INTEGRATION MANAGEMENT TIPS

One of the many benefits of Work and Travel USA is that it brings the world to your community, giving you, your guests, your domestic staff, and your exchange visitors the chance to exchange cultures. The resources below will help you make the most of this opportunity.

Before your exchange visitors arrive:

  1. Watch the CIEE Work & Travel USA Fundamentals webinar and share it with your supervisors and staff; this is a great opportunity to get everyone ready for summer.
  2. Culture Grams will help you learn more about the culture in your participants’ countries.
  3. Check out these additional resources on our website:

Upon arrival:

  1. Icebreakers: What better way to break the ice than with an icebreaker? An example to get you started:
    • ABC, This Is Me! Each attendee should write their name vertically on a sheet of paper and then list one word horizontally that starts with each letter of their name. These words should reveal something about their personality, character, home country, etc. We recommend you or a supervisor share first to set an example.
  2. Host a pizza party!
    • While enjoying the food, engage in conversation. One question we recommend asking all your exchange visitors: What would you like to experience while you are in the United States?
  3. Implement a buddy system.
    • Connect a domestic staff member with each exchange visitor. Buddy systems are a great way to facilitate friendships.

Throughout the summer:

  1. To keep exchange visitors and domestic staff engaged throughout the summer, post the calendar you received from CIEE and add important community events such as:
    • Shows and concerts
    • Fairs and festivals
    • Parades
    • Other local events
  2. Facilitate cultural exchange by encouraging your students to share their culture and customs. A few examples to get you started:
    • Host a potluck dinner and invite exchange visitors to bring cuisine from their home countries.
    • Create a bulletin board on which exchange visitors and domestic staff can pin photos or items from their home countries or states.
    • Introduce a “Word of the Week.” Ask exchange visitors to translate a word into their native languages and teach it to the rest of your staff. Choose a new word every week!
  3. Continue to train your supervisors:
    • Watch the “Dive Deeper into Culture” webinar (access the recorded version here)
    • When conflicts or misunderstandings arise, debrief those involved and share the insights with your entire staff; in other words, use conflicts or misunderstandings as opportunities to learn.
    • Be on the lookout for more CIEE webinars this summer.

We hope the steps above will contribute to another successful summer season. Remember to send your stories and photos to hire@ciee.org. We’re especially interested in hearing from employers who’ve developed their own icebreakers or welcome events. Share your successes with the rest of us!

For additional resources, please visit Knowledge Base In-Country Support or review previous Toolkit articles.

Andrei Bazaiac, International Recruitment Consultant

On Your Mark! Get Ready! Go! Winter is Here!

It’s time to lay the groundwork for a successful winter season! Below are some best practices for communicating with your winter students, CIEE, and important program reminders and tips about how to facilitate a lasting cultural exchange experience with your students.

Connect With Your Winter Students

Your students are undoubtedly excited and nervous to meet you! Whether they just arrived or will arrive soon, it is important to open the lines of communication now to ensure a positive experience for everyone. If your students have not arrived yet, be sure to include the following in your welcome email:

  • An introduction to your company, with an explanation of what it is like to work there during the winter months
  • Company expectations, including dress and grooming requirements
  • An digital copy of your company handbook, if available
  • A packing list, including weather-appropriate clothing, linens, and so on
  • Basic travel instructions, with a more detailed reminder closer to the date of arrival
  • A schedule of what they should expect to do during the first few days after arrival
  • When they will receive their first paycheck
  • A message stating that you will be in touch again before departure
  • Information on how to contact you with follow-up questions
  • If you provide housing:
    • Send a description and photos, if available; also include information on how and when to sign up for housing, a reminder if they need to have a housing deposit ready upon arrival, and how to make roommate requests, if permitted
  • If you do not provide housing:
    • Send information regarding where and when to find affordable housing, and check in to be sure housing has been arranged prior to arrival

Below are a few things to remind students about within the first few days of arrival:

  • SEVIS: Students must call CIEE when they arrive in the U.S. to register in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). They should call CIEE at 1.888.268.6245 and provide their DS-2019 number, housing address, and phone number, if available.
  • Monthly surveys: It is a program regulation that sponsors communicate at least monthly with students. As such, CIEE requires all students to complete a monthly survey to let us know how their program is going. Please remind students to complete these monthly surveys in a timely manner.
  • Second jobs: It is a program regulation that students report second jobs to their sponsor. If you’re interested in hiring a CIEE J-1 student for secondary employment, please remind the student that he/she must have approval BEFORE beginning work at your company. Students can reach CIEE at 1.888.268.6245, or contact@ciee.orgfor more information on reporting second jobs.

You will also want to check-in with your students regarding these items:

  • Social Security: We ask students to wait 5 business days after registering in SEVIS before they apply for a Social Security number. However, we recommend they apply within 10 days of starting work. While it may take several weeks for social security cards to arrive, it is legal for students to work and get paid in the meantime—as long as they have applied for a Social Security number. Ask your students to provide you with a receipt from the Social Security office to confirm they have applied.
  • Opening a bank account: Provide your students with information about banks in the area, and the paperwork needed to open an account. We recommend creating a handout, which you can add to each student’s orientation paperwork. You can also post a flyer in your break room. Please note: national banks are preferred, as they may also have international branches.
  • Payroll and taxes: Every student must pay federal, state, and local income taxes, but do not pay Social Security tax, Medicare, or federal unemployment taxes.

 

Stay Connected with CIEE

Please contact us at any time; however, it’s especially important to contact us in these situations:

  • A student does not arrive as expected
  • A student has a medical emergency and sought urgent care
    • CIEE has a 24-hour emergency support line 1.888.268.6245
  • A student quits before his/her agreed job end date
  • There is a performance issue at work
  • The termination of a student’s employment

Take advantage of our website for more information on the program, and ways to support your students throughout the season!

Cultural Programming

Cultural exchange is the core of the CIEE Work & Travel USA program. As an employer, you have a fantastic opportunity to cultivate this exchange, which will help students understand what makes the United States special.

Here are some winter activity ideas:

  • Provide information about local winter recreation in your area
  • Create a bucket list for students, which can help them share what they hope to experience during their time in the U.S.
  • Organize a buddy system between your international and domestic employees
  • Organize a potluck, cookie decorating, or Valentine card-making party
  • Host a Secret Santa or secret snowflake gift exchange
  • Host a “Winter Olympics” game or party
    • The 2018 Winter Olympic games kick off in PyeongChang, South Korea on February 2!
  • Encourage students to volunteer by partnering with local charities and community organizations
  • Plan a group volunteer event around the holidays, such as caroling at a local nursing home
  • Utilize email or social media to update your students regarding schedules, things to do in your community, and fun activities they can sign up for (be sure to use hashtag #CIEEWorkTravelers)

Prepare Your Frontline and Domestic Staff

If you did not get a chance to join us for the CIEE Work & Travel USA Fundamentals webinar, please view this 20-minute recording. The webinar provides you, your supervisors, and frontline staff the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the CIEE Work & Travel USA program, the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders, how to be an impactful cultural ambassador, and discusses the best practices for a successful winter. This is a great opportunity to get your team ready for the busy winter season.

If you and/or your managers would like to have a more extensive training to assist in effectively managing international students, watch our 30-minute webinar: Diving Deeper Into Cultures. Learn how to suspend judgement by adopting a practical tool and resource (D.I.V.E), which can help you and/or your managers become more effective during intercultural interactions.

As always, thank you so much for all that you do!

Welcoming Spring Students: The Essentials

Pre-Arrival
Communication with your students is crucial in laying the groundwork for a successful season. If you haven't already done so, please reach out to your spring students and welcome them to your business. It's likely they will have questions about the community, job duties, uniform requirements, or weather, and now is the time to set expectations with them to ensure a prosperous season. If you are unable to connect with a student over email, please let CIEE know!

Arrivals
Remind students of the most efficient and cost-effective way to get to your location. This may involve sending contact information, schedules, and online links to the best options. If you require specific details from them to make hotel arrangements prior to pickup, remind them of these requirements and confirm deadlines. If you are made aware that a student is arriving at the wrong airport or bus station, please confirm the correct arrival procedures with them and notify CIEE.

SEVIS Registration
Upon arrival to the United States, students are required to register with the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). To register, students simply call CIEE at 1-888-268-6245 and provide us with their housing address and DS-2019 number. If they are staying in temporary housing at the time of their call, they must call CIEE to confirm their permanent address for the remainder of the season. Registering in SEVIS is a U.S. Department of State requirement. Failing to do so may lead to withdrawal from the program. CIEE will inform you when a student hasn’t registered in SEVIS.

Social Security
Following SEVIS registration, students should apply for their Social Security number (SSN) no more than 10 days after starting work. It may take several weeks for SSNs to be issued and if students see delays, it’s best to contact the office with which they applied for updates. It is legal for students to work and be paid before they receive a SSN as long as they have applied for a number. Please check in with your students upon receipt of their SSN and remind them that they are required to report this number to you.

Opening a Local Bank Account
This process can be perplexing for students, especially if they don’t have access to transportation. You can eliminate stress and streamline steps by providing students with information on banks in the area and the paperwork needed to open an account. We recommend creating a handout to be added to their orientation paperwork, or posting a flyer in your break room. Helping to organize a group trip to the bank is also encouraged.

Payroll and Taxes
Every Work & Travel USA student must pay federal, state, and local income taxes. Students do not pay Social Security tax, Medicare, and federal unemployment taxes. For more information about payroll and taxes, please visit the compensation section of our website. If your business provides direct deposit, strongly encourage your students to enroll. Oftentimes, students can experience difficulties cashing their last paycheck in their home country. Direct deposit makes it easy for students to access their funds after their departure.

Monthly Surveys
Program regulations require all sponsors to communicate with their students on a monthly basis. CIEE requires all students to complete monthly surveys about their experience in the United States and failure to complete this requirement could result in withdrawal from the program. You can help students by reminding them to check in with CIEE each month.

Second Jobs
Program regulations mandate that all Work & Travel USA students report second jobs. If you’re interested in hiring a CIEE Work & Travel USA student for secondary employment, please remind the student that he/she must have approval BEFORE beginning work at your company. Students can reach CIEE at 1-888-268-6245, or contact@ciee.org for more information on reporting second jobs.

Involving Your Team
Run an information session or send out an email to give your team the tools to understand the program and the students. We find that the more information that supervisors and managers have about the Work & Travel USA program, the more successful the experience is for both students and domestic employees. Contact CIEE if you’d like help in running an information session. We are here to help!

 

CULTURAL EXCHANGE IDEAS
Cultural exchange is at the core of the CIEE Work & Travel USA program. As an employer, you have a fantastic opportunity to cultivate this exchange and it’s more important now than ever.

Try some of these activities with your staff:

  • Organize a talent show, fitness challenge, game night, pot luck dinner or barbeque.
  • Create a “bucket list” for students. This is a great way for students to share what they hope to experience during their time in the United States.
  • Encourage students to volunteer by partnering with local charities and community organizations.
  • Organize a buddy system between your international and domestic employees. This is a meaningful way to foster communication and learning between students and your domestic employees.
  • Utilize email or social media to update your students regarding schedules, things to do in your community, or fun activities they can sign up for.

STAY CONNECTED WITH CIEE
You are welcome to contact us at any time, but it’s especially important to contact us in these situations:

  • A student does not arrive as expected
  • A student has a medical emergency
  • The termination of a student’s employment
  • A student quits before his/her agreed job end date
  • There’s a performance issue – let us know right away, so we can work with you and your student

Take advantage of our website for more information on the program and new ways to support your students throughout the season!

-Erin Olson, Senior International Recruitment Consultant

Winter is Coming: How to Make the Season a Success

This month, we want to provide you with best practices for communicating with your winter students, and tips on how to facilitate a great cultural experience. Early communication will be their first impression of you and your company, so we want to make it a positive experience for you both.

WinterIsComing

Connect with your Students

Your students are excited and nervous to meet you. Whether they have just arrived or will be traveling soon, it is important to open the lines of communication. If they have not yet arrived, you should include the following:

  • An introduction to your company, and what it’s like during the winter months
  • Company expectations (including dress and grooming requirements)
  • A packing list, including weather expectations (clothing, linens, and so on)
  • Basic travel instructions (send a more detailed reminder closer to arrival time)
  • If you provide housing,send a description and photos (if available), plus information on how and when to sign up for housing, how to make roommate requests (if permitted), and a reminder if they need to have a housing deposit ready
  • If you do not provide housing,send information regarding where and when to find affordable housing, and remind them to be sure to arrange it prior to arrival
  • A schedule of what they should expect for the first few days after arrival
  • When to expect their first paycheck
  • A message that you’ll be in touch again before departure
  • Information on how to contact you with questions

Here are a few things to remind them upon arrival, or in their first few days:

  • SEVIS: Students must call CIEE when they arrive in the U.S. to register in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). They should call CIEE at 1.888.268.6245 and provide us their DS-2019 number, housing address, and a phone number if possible.
  • Social Security: We generally ask students to wait 5 business days after registering in SEVIS before they go to apply for social security, but we recommend that it be done within their first 10 days of work. It may take several weeks for the social security cards to arrive, but it is legal for students to be paid even before they provide the card as long as they have applied.
  • Opening a bank account: It is helpful for students if you can provide them with information on banks in the area, and the paperwork needed to open an account. We recommend creating a handout to be added to their orientation paperwork, or posting a flyer in your break room.
  • Payroll and taxes: Every Work & Travel USA student must pay federal, state, and local income taxes, but do not pay Social Security tax, Medicare, or federal unemployment taxes.
  • Monthly surveys: CIEE requires all students to complete a monthly survey to let us know how their program is going. It is a program regulation that sponsors communicate at least monthly with students. It is a huge help if you can remind students to check in with CIEE.
  • Second jobs:It is a regulation that Work & Travel USA students report second jobs to their sponsor. If you’re interested in hiring a CIEE J-1 student for secondary employment, please remind the student that he/she must have approval BEFORE beginning work at your company. Students can reach CIEE at 1.888.268.6245, or contact@ciee.org for more information on reporting second jobs.

 

Stay Connected With CIEE

You are welcome to contact us at any time, but it’s especially important to contact us in these situations:

  • A student does not arrive as expected
  • A student quits before his/her agreed end date
  • A student has a medical emergency
  • The termination of a student’s employment
  • There’s a performance issue – let us know right away, so we can work with you and your student

Take advantage of our website for more information on the program, and ways to support your students throughout the season!

 

Cultural Programming

Cultural exchange is the core of the Work & Travel USA program. As an employer, you have a fantastic opportunity to cultivate this exchange.

Here are some winter activity ideas:

  • Host a “Winter Olympics”
  • Host a Secret Santa or Secret Snowflake
  • Encourage students to volunteer by partnering with local charities and community organizations
  • Plan a group volunteer event around the holidays, like caroling at a local nursing home
  • Provide information about local winter recreation in your area
  • Create a “bucket list” for students – this is a great way for students to share what they hope to experience during their time in the U.S.
  • Organize a buddy system between your international and domestic employees. This is a meaningful way to foster communication and learning between students and your domestic employees
  • Organize a potluck
  • Utilize email or social media to update your students regarding schedules, things to do in your community, or fun activities they can sign up for!

 Thank you for all that you do!

-Krista Williamson, CIEE International Recruitment Coordinator

End of Season Reminders

Summer is winding down and we’d like to share a few best practices for wrapping up the season with your Work & Travel USA students! Many of your students are nearing their final days of work and making plans to either travel around the United States or return home. We recommend reconfirming your students’ job end dates before their final week at work to remind them of the commitment they made to you and your business.  Should any unexpected changes occur, please let CIEE know.

Housing
If you provide housing for your students, please remind them when they should vacate and, if applicable, how they will receive their housing deposit refund. Remember to provide a receipt and explanation if they did not receive the full amount of their deposit back.

Final paychecks, bonus checks, and W-2 statements

  • Distribute the final checks for your students before they depart
    If your payroll allows, cut the final paychecks, bonuses, and housing deposits and provide them to your students on their last day of work, prior to leaving the workplace.
  • Utilize Direct Deposit
    Tell students to leave their bank account open and process the check via direct deposit. Students can then access their money while traveling or when they return home with their ATM card.
  • Ask students to come back to the workplace on payday
    If students’ travel plans allow, coordinate with them to return on payday to pick up their check in person.
  • Mail the checks to your students directly
    Ask your students to leave you a self-addressed, stamped envelope with their name and home address overseas. When their final paycheck is ready, mail it to your students’ home. Students who opt to have paychecks sent to their home country should be encouraged to keep their U.S. bank accounts open and use a mobile banking application to deposit the check to their U.S. bank account before closing the account. This may be the best way to avoid fees  and potential issues with depositing a U.S. check in a foreign bank.
  • Send W-2 statements to students
    You will need to send a W-2 statement to your student at the end of the tax year. Confirm your student’s home address and email address before he or she leaves. Contact CIEE for assistance if you need to verify the address – we have it on file.  If you use an online system to distribute W-2s, confirm that the student has the correct login information.

Stay in touch!
CIEE wants to know about the summer you’ve had with your Work & Travel students! Please share any student testimonials, cultural exchange activities, volunteer service work, and pictures with CIEE staff so we can see what you’ve been up to! Check out our Work & Travel USA Facebook page here to read stories and see pictures of #CIEEWorkTravelers! We encourage you to keep in touch with your students through social media after they return home!

As always, we’re here to support you and if you have any questions or concerns as you wrap up your season, please reach out to your International Recruitment Consultant or Coordinator, refer to our website, or call us at 1-888-268-6245.

Erin Olson, Senior International Recruitment Coordinator

Sign up for our webinar

Please join us for an end of season webinar to help your staff close out your busiest time of year and wrap up all loose ends before your students go home. We will be discussing Social Security, W2s, Best Practices, and our Return Home Early Policy. We will be providing the half hour webinar multiple times during the week of August 15, 2016 to ensure it fits into your schedule. 

To register for this 30 minute webinar, please click here.  This webinar will be offered at several dates and times for your convenience.  Please encourage your supervisors and staff to attend as well!

Thanks again for the wonderful difference you’re making in students’ lives through international exchange!

-Cara Mills, Regional Sales Manager

 

Experiencing America through volunteering

According to a report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, in 2015 62.8 million Americans volunteered 7.9 billion hours for an estimated service value of $184 billion.

More than just guests, your Work & Travel USA students want to live like a local throughout their program. They want to go grocery shopping, interact with colleagues, neighbors, and guests while experiencing life just as an American would. American culture inherently engages with volunteerism as a part of our lives and encourages a deep connection to the community and others. This altruistic commitment is an incredible attribute to share with your Work & Travel USA students, and perhaps many of you are doing this already!

1908185_939679116054293_2659557510527421363_nPhoto: Community gardening, Kings Dominion

Businesses are already engaging with their communities, and CIEE believes volunteering is a great way to include your Work & Travel USA students in learning more about this integral part of American culture. Our commitment to volunteerism is not to be taken for granted; it is something to share and show off! Giving back is something that makes us proud to be American, and we encourage you to introduce your international staff to your community in an impactful way. Below are a few ideas on how you can incorporate service-learning for your students:

  • Do you sponsor a local youth sports team? If so, how about hosting a party for that team and ask your Work & Travel USA students to help organize and run the event?
  • Do you donate your leftover food from your restaurant to a local food bank? If so, is there a way that your students can do more than just set the food aside? Can they help sort food or work at the food bank for a few hours on a couple of days?

Livingston IIPhoto: Animal Rescue League, Xanterra Yellowstone

CIEE asked a sample of our employers how students are engaging with their host communities in a meaningful way, and the response was incredible! Some examples included:

  • Volunteer days at the Animal Rescue League
  • Meals on Wheels deliveries
  • Trail maintenance
  • Food bank assistance

The students participating in these activities reacted with resounding appreciation for the experience-saying, “thank you” to their employers for allowing them to volunteer! Students felt they learned more about their communities and that it empowered them to “give back.”

DSC07522Photo: Meals on Wheels, Xanterra Yellowstone

Employers that have engaged with these opportunities have seen great results. It is an excellent occasion for team building, encouraging camaraderie among your staff through these shared experiences. More significantly, it helps your Work & Travel USA students to feel like they are a part of your community and sparks that neighborly experience of being more than just a summer visitor, while also fostering the overarching mission of public diplomacy.

Invite your Work & Travel USA students to thank the community that has also opened their doors to them by giving back. Please let us know what you’re doing already and what you have planned for the summer. We’d love to hear about it and encourage you to share your pictures on social media using the hashtag: #cieegivingback. We’re excited to see the impact you and your Work & Travel USA students are having in the community and to thank you for your efforts, we will pick a few lucky winners and donate to their charities of choice.

Thanks for all that you do!

- Jennifer Conway, International Recruitment Consultant

Keys to unlocking a successful summer

The busy summer season is upon us. Our last newsletter highlighted pre-arrival communication tips to help prepare your Work & Travel USA students for a great experience. This month we focus on program fundamentals and best practices to set a foundation for a successful summer season. As part of the CIEE Work & Travel USA program, you are not only giving your international students jobs, you’re helping them discover American culture. Thanks for all that you do!

18088_WAT_United States_DSC_0629
SEVEN KEYS TO A SUCCESSFUL SUMMER

SEVIS
Upon arrival to the United States, students are required to register in the Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). To register, students simply call CIEE at 1.888.268.6245 and provide us their housing address and DS-2019 number.

Social Security
Following SEVIS registration, students should apply for their Social Security Number no more than 10 days after starting work. It may take several weeks for SSNs to be issued. It is legal for students to work and be paid before they receive a SSN as long as they have applied for a number.

Opening a bank account
This process can be challenging for students. You can eliminate stress and streamline steps by providing students with information on banks in the area and the paperwork needed to open an account. We recommend creating a handout to be added to their orientation paperwork or posting a flyer in your break-room.

Payroll and taxes
Every Work & Travel USA student must pay federal, state, and local income taxes. Students do not pay Social Security tax, Medicare, and federal unemployment taxes.

Monthly surveys
Program regulations require all sponsors to communicate with their students on a monthly basis. CIEE requires all students to complete monthly surveys about their experience in the United States. You can help students by reminding them to check in with CIEE each month.

Second jobs
Program regulations mandate that all Work & Travel USA students report second jobs. If you’re interested in hiring a CIEE Work & Travel USA student for secondary employment, please remind the student that he/she must have approval BEFORE beginning work at your company. Students can reach CIEE at 1.888.268.6245, or contact@ciee.org for more information on reporting second jobs.

Involving your team
Run an information session or send out an email to give your team the tools to understand the program and the students. We find that the more information that supervisors and managers have about the Work & Travel USA program, the more successful the experience is for both students and domestic employees. Contact CIEE if you’d like help in running an information session. We are here to help!

For more information on any of the above please visit our website.

CULTURAL EXCHANGE IDEAS

Cultural exchange is the core of the Work & Travel USA program. As an employer, you have a fantastic opportunity to cultivate this exchange.

Try some of these activities:

  • Organize a softball game or barbeque.
  • Create a “bucket list” for students. This is a great way for students to share what they hope to experience during their time in the U.S.
  • Organize a buddy system between your international and domestic employees. This is a meaningful way to foster communication and learning between students and your domestic employees.
  • Encourage students to volunteer by partnering with local charities and communities organizations.
  • Host a talent show.
  • Organize a potluck.
  • Celebrate different American holidays like “Thanksgiving in July!”
  • Utilize email or social media to update your students regarding schedules, things to do in your community, or fun activities they can sign up for!

STAY CONNECTED WITH CIEE

You are welcome to contact us at any time, but it’s especially important to contact us in these situations:

  • A student does not arrive as expected
  • A student quits before his/her agreed end date
  • A student has a medical emergency
  • The termination of a student’s employment
  • There’s a performance issue – let us know right away, so we can work with you and your student

Take advantage of our website for more information on the program and ways to support your students throughout the season!

– Allison Chavanelle, International Recruitment Consultant

Don’t Wait Until May – Student Communication Begins Now!

The Summer 2016 recruitment season is now in full swing. Students selected to work for you this summer will be excited and quite possibly a little bit nervous. They also may have questions or want additional clarification. Right now is the best time to harness their anticipation, set expectations, and start building a relationship with your future team members. 

Early communication can be done in periodic emails in the months ahead, through Skype calls, or a combination of both. We have found that the more students hear from you, the more they will start to feel connected to your location!

WAT - Toolkit - Lifeguard Image

Here are a few ideas on what to talk about when reaching out:

Set and Clarify Expectations!

  • Remind them of grooming and uniform requirements. For example, if students need to bring black pants and slip-resistant shoes, remind them of this. Even better – send them pictures of what they will need!
  • Reconfirm job duties and functions.
  • Let students know what kind of weather to expect upon arrival and consider sending a packing list. Remember, they will be traveling with a few suitcases and will only be able to pack the essentials. They will want to make that space count and be prepared.
  • Communicate any next steps that they need to do between the time of hire and travel to the United States. For example, if they need to fill out online paperwork for you, remind them of this.
  • Arrivals, Arrivals, Arrivals – Remind students of the most efficient and cost effective way to get to your location. This may involve sending contact information, resources and online links to the best options. If you require specific details from them to make arrangements, remind them of these requirements and set deadlines. 

Build Excitement!

  • Take photos of your management team to “introduce them” via email.
  • Send current pictures of your property and any updates on new construction or location improvements.
  • Send community information to students. If your community has a schedule of local events, or online resources, be sure to include them!
  • Paint the picture of your community and what students can expect highlighting anything new and what they might want to check out in their free time. For example, if there is a new shopping facility or restaurant being built in your town or even a new bus route being added, tell them about it!
  • Send photos or testimonials from former employees.

Use Social Media!

  • If you have a Facebook Page, closed group, or employee-only portal, invite students to the group or let them know how to find you.
  • If your community has an International Student Outreach Program (ISOP), send them any online resources or Facebook pages for these groups.

If you need assistance in finding student contact information or resumes, please reach out to CIEE. Let the communication begin!

– Jamie Fisher, CIEE Regional Sales Manager

TOOLKIT - JULY 2015

WORK & TRAVEL USA STUDENTS HAVE ARRIVED … NOW WHAT?
By Jennifer Conway, International Recruitment Consultant

Make no mistake, summer has started! Our last newsletter highlighted best practices for preparing your Work & Travel USA students. So this month, we want to focus on how to work together with your international students to ensure a smooth transition into life in the United States and your workplace.

Living in a new country can be challenging, but you can make a big difference in how well your student staff members adapt and succeed at your company.

Cultural adjustment

Culture shock is real, and it happens to everyone, but may present itself in various ways. Work & Travel USA students travel thousands of miles to work at your company and experience life in a new country. Needing time to adapt is only natural, and sometimes may be a struggle as students adjust to new food, a new language, a new home and a new workplace. Your assistance and understanding through this time can make all the difference to both students and your company!

The first few weeks
Recognize that your international students are going through a normal adjustment period.

  • Students may seem tired – and that’s understandable. Thinking and listening in another language all day is exhausting! 
  • Students may feel homesick and frustrated because of the challenges of living and working in a new place. 
  • Students may feel shy or withdrawn – feeling that they don’t fit in or understand their new culture. This may keep them from asking important questions about life and work in the United States.

What you can do

  • Show students that you’re excited to host them! Hang a world map in your break room, and ask the students to make a pin or informational paragraph about where they’re from.
  • Pictures! Do your training manuals or posters in the workplace include pictures? It’s true they can be worth a thousand words. Adding them to your materials can help cross some language barriers.
  • Ask students how they’re doing, and really listen to their responses. Is there someone at your workplace they can go to when they have questions or want to talk about challenges?
  • Your company may need to ask students to adapt from their cultural norms in order to succeed at their job. Be clear about expectations regarding friendliness, timeliness, hygiene, and job responsibilities. Some things we take for granted in the United States may be quite different for your new staff members.
  • Talk to CIEE about any questions or challenges you’re facing. We want to work with both you and your students to make sure your shared Work &Travel USA program experience is a great success. 

If you’d like more information about cultural adjustment, please visit here.

Cultural exchange opportunities

As a host employer to international student staff members, you have a great opportunity to make a long-lasting impact on young ambassadors from around the world in this valuable person-to-person exchange that promotes global diplomacy.

Here are some ideas:

  • Mentoring/Buddy Program. Is there a local staff member who could work closely with your international students? This is a great way to provide training in the workplace and encourage connections with your domestic employees.
  • Is there a downtime for your business? Encourage students to take advantage of local sites and activities on their days and time off. Let them know what shouldn’t be missed in your area. You might post information in your break room about fun things to do and see, for example.
  • Stay active! Does your company participate in a local sports league? Summer sports like softball, kickball, and Ultimate Frisbee may be new and exciting to your international staff members. Invite them along to company games or events. It’s a great way to build overall team morale, too!
  • Let your staff cook for you! Have you ever tried shopska salad, borscht, pelmeni, or pan-fried buns? Let your student staff members show you what it’s like to eat in their countries. Hosting an international potluck is a great way for your local staff and Work & Travel USA students to open a conversation on something everyone understands – FOOD!

Do you have ideas to share about cultural exchange experiences? Please answer our question of the month , or email us with tips and suggestions.

For your company

Payroll/taxes
Did you know that Work & Travel USA students must pay federal, state, and local income taxes, but do not pay into Social Security, Medicare or federal unemployment taxes?
For more information related to Work & Travel USA student payroll please visit here.

Social Security
Did you know that it’s legal for international students to work and be paid before they receive their Social Security number, as long as they have applied for a number through the Social Security Administration? For more information on how international students apply for a Social Security number, check here.

CIEE nuts and bolts

Second jobs
The U.S. Department of State requires that all Work & Travel USA students report second jobs.
If you’re interested in hiring a CIEE Work & Travel USA student for secondary employment, please remind the student that he/she must have approval BEFORE beginning work at your company. Students can reach CIEE at 1.888.268.6245, or contact@ciee.org for more information on reporting second jobs.

Monthly surveys
The State Department requires all sponsors to communicate with their students on a monthly basis. As part of its program requirements, CIEE asks students to complete monthly surveys about their experiences in the United States. You can help CIEE and your staff members by reminding them to check in with their sponsors each month.

Keep in touch with CIEE
You’re welcome to contact CIEE for assistance at any time, but it’s especially important that you contact us in these situations:

  • A student does not arrive as expected
  • A student quits before his/her agreed end date
  • A student has a medical emergency
  • The termination of a student’s employment
  • There’s a performance issue – let us know right away, so we can work with you and your student

There’s more information on our website about working with Work & Travel USA students. Please don’t hesitate to send an email if you have a question or would like to share tips about working together with your international student staff.