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New Zealand and Australia 12 Month Student Work/Travel Pilot Program

The 12 Month Student Work/Travel Pilot Program uses educational and cultural exchanges to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of New Zealand and Australia. In particular, the purpose of this program is to provide participants with opportunities to interact with Americans, experience U.S. culture while sharing their own culture, travel the U.S., and work in jobs that require minimal training in order to fund a portion of the travel expenses. The program duration is 12 months.

Why Participate

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Experience American Culture

By visiting historic sites and participating in local events, not only will participants get to experience new activities, they will also see how American people interact and experience American culture.

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American Workplace Immersion

Participants will be exposed to various interactions with their American colleagues and customers during the employment component of the program. This is a great opportunity to see and experience American lifestyle and culture in the workplace.

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Planned Cultural Activities

ICEO plans and arranges multiple cultural activities for program participants. These events include guided sightseeing tours, local activities, and community involvement.

Program Requirements

Basic Requirements

Potential program participants must be over 18 years of age; be citizens of New Zealand or Australia; capable of functioning in an English speaking work environment; complete the program application, administrative steps, and interview process; provide documented proof of the ability to bring sufficient funds with them to the United States; be able to attend a home country orientation and the ICEO Post Arrival Info Session; NOT be accompanied by any dependents, including a spouse; and demonstrate intention to participate in both the cultural and work aspects of the ICEO Program.

Academic Requirements

Potential program participants must, at the time of the application, be bona fide university students currently enrolled in a post-secondary academic institution in their home country, having at least completed their freshman year or recently graduated within the last 12 months.

Program Fees & Costs

Participants in ICEO Program pay reasonable program fees that cover ICEO extensive services and applicable health and travel insurance for Participants. For information on specific fee amounts and what they cover, please contact ICEO International Representative in your home country.

The detailed information regarding costs associated with ICEO Program participation is included in the Program Participant Handbook. The costs include housing, transportation, food, entertainment, and cultural activities.

What to Expect


This program lasts up to twelve months. The program may start at any time during the year.


Participants encounter numerous forms and documents during their program. Here are some of the most important ones: Passport, J-1 Visa, DS-2019 Form, ICEO Employment Confirmation Letter, I-94, Insurance ID Card, Social Security Card, and Program Participant Handbook.


All participants of ICEO program are required to have health insurance for the duration of their program. Most participants will receive health insurance as part of their ICEO program package.

Travel to the U.S.

Participants traveling to the United States are expected to have a round trip plane ticket. Participants can either purchase their tickets independently or use assistance of ICEO International Representatives who processed their program application. Program Participant’s Handbook has a lot of useful tips and information to help Participants get ready for their travel to Unites States.


ICEO Program participants can travel to the United States to start their ICEO Program without pre-arranged employment and identify suitable employment offer after their arrival to the United States.  Program participants may only work at ICEO approved host companies and in ICEO approved employment positions. When participants decide on initial or new host company, change host company, or seek additional employment, participants must wait to begin working until the host company and employment position are approved by ICEO.

American Culture

Exploring American Culture is an important part of the program and should be embraced by all participants. Participants are expected to balance their time in the U.S. between cultural activities and work experiences.

Housing and Transportation

Once participants confirm their travel plans to the United States, the next step is finding a place to live. If the host company does not arrange housing, participants are responsible for finding their own housing that is affordable, comfortable, safe, and close to their work site. Participants are also responsible for all the costs associated with renting their accommodation.

There is a variety of public transportation options available for daily commute in the United States. The actual options depend on participants’ program locations and may include Bus, Subway, Tram System, Taxis, ride-sharing services, or bicycling.

Local Community

Participants spend their program in various local communities in the United States. ICEO encourages participants to get to know their local community and their members. Getting involved in the life of the local community is an extremely rewarding and often life changing experience, and important part of ICEO Programs.

Participant Experiences

I have continued to build my confidence and I am becoming more accustomed to American cultural habits and characteristics. I have also adjusted to New York life, especially getting around the city and interacting with people in public, particularly on public transport.

I have definitely grown a lot more independent and resilient given experiences at work. I have met many different people from different backgrounds which has broadened my awareness and patience. I have also definitely grown a lot fitter given the different gym classes I attend.

For Thanksgiving I went to a friend who put on an amazing American Thanksgiving. They had cooked a huge turkey that fed 9 of us. It was very special and I really felt like I had been a part of the American tradition.

I am working as a bartender; I'm really enjoying my job at the moment, I'm learning a lot - both about the industry and also about the country. It allows me the opportunity to meet an array of people and personalities.

I travelled and saw parts of America I would not normally thought to have done otherwise: I visited Cleveland, Ohio which was really interesting and certainly different to what I was expecting. I went to a few cities in the Midwest and did a ‘Bourbon trail’ and had some true American BBQ.