You’ve got your summer job, you’ve got your documents in, and now it’s time to complete the next stage of your journey to America. The J1 Visa appointment. It can be daunting and confusing, but we’re the J1 Visa pros ready to help you out. From DS-160’s to SEVIS receipts, here’s the survival guide on how to ace your J1 Visa appointment!
You’ve probably heard the term J1 Visa and wondered what a J1 actually is. To keep it real simple, the J1 Visa is a cultural exchange Visa, supporting visitors who are taking part in cultural exchange programs like Summer Camp. Without this, you can’t go and work in America. Once you’ve got your visa, you’ll be ready to set off to the States for the best summer!
When you go to book your appointment, there will be different steps to be completed. Don’t worry, we’ve created step by step guides that’ll walk you through everything you need to know. These will be on your profile once you have received your DS-2019 form from us so keep an eye out for these and make sure you follow them!
When you first go into the embassy, you will be asked to wait in the waiting room until your number to be called. You will go up to the first window where the staff will check your documents and check your DS-160 application. After this, you will then move onto the next stage of the visa process. The next window will be where you will be asked questions about you and your job in America. Be clear, honest, and friendly and you’ll be absolutely fine.
Make your trip to the American embassy stress-free and get there early. If you aim to get there at least 15 minutes before your appointment, you will be first in line and ready to ace your appointment and get your J1 Visa. Whether you’re going to Dublin, London or Belfast, have your travel plans sorted. If that’s a flight, train or bus, make sure you have it booked in advance to save yourself money and stress. If you’re going to Belfast for your appointment, make sure you book with an airline that allows you to travel back with another piece of ID as the embassy will take your passport. You don’t want to get stuck in Belfast with no way of getting back home.
The J1 Visa appointment can sound very serious and formal, but they aren’t! You don’t need to stress smart for the appointment. Just make sure you aren’t wearing trackies and look presentable for your interview with the embassy.
It’s totally normal to feel nervous about your appointment. With all the paperwork and booking of appointments, it can be seriously overwhelming, but don’t worry. You’re going to ace the appointment and rock out with your approved visa. Get ready for the summer of a lifetime.
Have you met Roisin? She’s a part of the Irish USA Summer Camp team and is there with you every step of the way through your summer journey! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be shining a spotlight on the staff at USA Summer Camp. We have a wonderful team who work hard to help make the best summer of your life a reality.
Hey! I’m Roisin. My job is to make sure our applicants have the best experience when they plan their exciting journey to camp and help them along the way! Getting to help everyone with their profiles reminds me that I’m also going to camp for the first time this summer. I can relate to the applicants and it gets me very excited!
My favourite memory has to be the office Olympics – even though I finished last. Laura arranged an office Olympics day at the end of September which involved a lot of different activities and a huge sense of competitiveness. Javelin, with pencils and rubbish bins, was my forte and my only strong point. Archery with elastic bands aimed at Micheal Scott’s face… not so much.
Coffee, dog, and memes.
Disneyland, the most magical place on earth! I’ve been to Disneyland Paris twice and would go back again in a heartbeat. Now, I’ve made it my mission to go to Disneyland Park in Californa for my travels after Summer Camp!
I’ve never been to camp or to America before, so I’ll be going to both for my first time this summer, finally! I was hired at the Dublin Job Fair in January and will be spending my first summer at Camp Chi as a General Camp Counselor. I can’t WAIT to spend my summer in America.
I have never been to America before, but for my 30 days of travel after camp, I am eager to explore Seattle.
If you didn’t get placed at one of our Job Fairs or still waiting for a camp to hire you, don’t give up as your dream Job Abroad is just around the corner. Remember, it is still early days in the season. Hundreds of camps are still looking for Camp Counselors who will be perfect for their camp. Trust us, your camp is out there and they’re going to find you very soon!
Didn’t get hired at one of our Job Fairs? Don’t worry as we still have hundreds of camps online looking for staff. The fact you put the time aside to visit and try has given you a confidence boost already! It’s completely normal to have the post Job Fair blues, but it means the camp that you’re meant to spend your summer was not at the Job Fair. The interviews you had at the Job Fairs are a great experience for future interviews. You now know what to expect so you can smash your next interview with camp!
All you need to do in the meantime is make sure every section is complete. Go above and beyond on your profile and go into detail about yourself and your skills. Don’t be scared to brag about yourself! Tell camps how great you really are. If you need any help on this, check out our blog on How to Ace Your Summer Camp Profile. Also, make a start on your Police Check and Medical History Form. This is so you can be on the top of your game and not have to worry about it closer to the time of you flying out to camp.
Whilst it may have been comforting to have a place at a camp already, it’s completely normal to not have your job at this stage. Didn’t get placed at a Job Fair? The chances of getting placed on the day are uncertain when you realise the number of camps we are associated with. We work with over 600 camps in America and there is a camp out there for you. Don’t lose faith yet. Finding the perfect camp for you is like finding the perfect Ben and Jerry’s ice cream: you may have to go through new flavours before you find your best friend for life.
There are a lot of questions about the topic of working at a Special Needs Camp. Some people don’t know what to expect and think it’s not the summer for them. Unsure whether it’s for you? Becky spent her first summer working as Support Staff at the Special Needs Camp Southampton Fresh Air Fund. She is here to talk about her experience working at a Special Needs Camp.
I had never worked with anyone with Special Needs before and I didn’t even have any experience with children. Most camps will fly out their staff before camp starts for a training week. All the training that you need will be provided to get you ready for the summer. If your camp didn’t think you could work with people with Special Needs, they wouldn’t have hired you and we wouldn’t have accepted you to work at a Special Needs Camp!
Everyone who is going to camp for the first time is going to be in the same boat. Before working at a Special Needs Camp, you will all get trained together and soon enough, you will be a pro at the lifting techniques and be able to handle anything that is thrown at you. If you are every worried, there will be returning staff who you can talk to and get some guidance from. Everyone will be supportive! When all the campers arrive, it will be overwhelming, but once you sit down and start speaking with them, you will build a bond with them very quickly.
Every camp is different. No two camps are the same, but we aim to make sure the kids have the best summer possible. At the end of the day, kids are kids and we want each and every kid at camp to have an amazing summer no matter who they are. Each camp has their own quirks and traditions and Special Need Camps are no different! We did Colour War and also planned a Prom. All the campers and staff got dressed up, took lots of photos, and ate LOTS of cake. On the very last night of camp, we did wish boats where each camper would write a wish on a small boat, light a candle, and sail it across the pool. The last campers candle to go out would have their wish come true.
When I spoke to the Camp Directors, I got a very good vibe from them. They were both so lovely and helpful throughout the whole process of getting to camp. I was 18 when I flew out to camp and it was my first time flying on my own, but I was able to meet some of the new staff online before flying out which helped to calm my nerves. Soon after the kids arrived at camp, I realised that working at a Special Needs Camp was the best decision I had ever made. It was an extremely rewarding experience that brought out a completely new side to me. Since you are working with fewer kids, you are able to form stronger bonds with them as they often stay for weeks at a time.
One of my favourite memories from camp was with a camper. He was new to the camp and wrote a little note to say thank you to all of the Counselors and Support Staff in his bunk for helping him settle in and have an amazing time at camp. This experience has changed my outlook on life leading me down a career path aiming to work with sick children in hospitals and I couldn’t be more grateful for the amazing staff I worked alongside. This could be your experience next summer.
If you would like to spend your summer making a difference, apply here.