Now you've decided to apply for the programme, here's some advice on making your application great - and also some useful tips on getting ready for Camp!
There are a wide range of personalities, experiences, and skills that can make an applicant a great candidate for CIEE Camp Exchange USA. The important thing is to communicate in your application what makes you unique and qualified to be a camp counselor. The best applications demonstrate your past experience, unique skills, and passion for learning about the U.S.
The tips below are designed to help you write a comprehensive, compelling, and detailed application. This will help CIEE find the perfect camp for applicants who need placements:
An interview is an important part of any job application. Here are some tips to help you land the role you want at camp this summer.
WHETHER YOU INTERVIEW IN PERSON, BY PHONE, OR ONLINE, REMEMBER TO:
Smile. First impressions really count and a smile is one of the best ways to make a connection with your interviewer. Smiling also demonstrates that you are friendly and approachable, which are traits that camp directors want in their staff.
Be yourself. Now is the time to let your personality shine! During your interview, discuss more than just the skills you listed on your application; talk about what makes you a truly unique candidate.
Be professional. Dress professionally, even for online interviews. Be prepared to have your application, references, and certifications nearby and think of anything else that demonstrates why you are an exceptional camp counselor candidate.
Be confident. Sit up straight and speak clearly. Even if you are not feeling confident in the moment, it’s important to present yourself that way.
Do your research. The more research you do before your interview, the better prepared you will be. Visit the camp website, watch videos online, and browse social media accounts to learn more about camp life. Think of some stories that you can share that demonstrate your interest in being a camp counselor. Brainstorm positions you can see yourself working during the summer, but also remain open and flexible to other opportunities.
Ask questions. An interview is an opportunity for you to learn more about a camp. Before you interview, write down questions to help you better understand your position and what lifestyle and experiences to expect. You can ask about staff training, activity areas, camp mission and history, or anything else that can help you be a more successful counselor.
Don’t worry! An interview is your chance to interact with camp directors or CIEE staff to gain a better understanding of summer camp, as well as a chance to sharpen your interview skills. If you are not offered a position, plenty of opportunities remain. CIEE and your international representative will continue working with you throughout the season to find you a placement at a great summer camp.
IF YOU ARE INTERVIEWING ONLINE, YOU SHOULD ALSO:
Check your phone messages and your email regularly (including your junk/spam folder). Be sure the email address you listed in your application is an account you use regularly. If you listed a mobile phone number, check your messages and missed calls often. When a camp reaches out, respond quickly so you do not miss any opportunities to interview. Camps expect you to respond within 24 hours. If they do not hear from you, they may move on to another candidate. If your interview is requested through Camp Connect, read the interview invitation thoroughly and respond within 24 hours.
Follow through. Make your interview a priority and schedule it within a reasonable timeframe. Stay in touch with camp staff and reach out to confirm your interview in the days prior. If for whatever reason you cannot make your interview, let camp staff know as soon as possible.
Test your connection. Before the interview takes place, make sure your wifi/cellular connection is strong and your audio and video work. Place a test call to yourself or a friend to double check everything works. Be sure to pick a quiet, well-lit space for your interview.
To apply for and participate in CIEE Camp Exchange USA, you will need current and correct copies of the documents listed below. Some of these documents will be provided to you after you’ve been accepted to Camp Exchange USA or been placed at a camp; other documents, such as your passport, are your responsibility.
All documents must be taken to the U.S. when you travel. Do not pack any of these documents in your checked luggage; take all of them on the plane with you. Also be sure to print out at least two copies of each document. Leave one copy at home with a parent or friend.
For more information about each document, make a selection below:
Your DS-2019 is a form that permits you to seek an interview at a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate in order to obtain a J-1 visa. Since we are your visa sponsor, your DS-2019 will be issued by CIEE and will be provided to you by your CIEE representative in your home country. Be sure to bring your DS-2019 to your J-1 visa interview. You will also need to present your DS-2019 form to the immigration officer upon entry to the U.S.
Important notes about your DS-2019:
Your DS-2019 identifies CIEE as your sponsor and shows the exact dates you can legally work in the U.S.
The dates on your DS-2019 may differ from your J-1 visa dates and/or the Camp Exchange USA program dates that are indicated on your Confirmation of Insurance.
If your camp placement or contract dates change for any reason after you have arrived in the U.S., you must contact CIEE to adjust these dates in SEVIS (read more about SEVIS below) so that you are legally authorized to work.
If you work outside of your authorized dates, you will be in violation of the CIEE Camp Exchange USA program rules; this may affect your future applications for U.S. visas.
You will receive your Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) receipt along with your DS-2019 after your CIEE Camp Exchange USA application is successfully processed. SEVIS is a system used by the U.S. government to track visitors to the U.S. You will need to take the SEVIS receipt with you to your U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate interview.
You will need a valid passport to travel the U.S. Please know that damaged or expired passports will not be accepted by the U.S. Embassy, so you will need to renew your passport if it has expired or is badly damaged.
Please note: Visitors traveling to the U.S. are required to have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the period of their intended stay.
You will need a valid J-1 visa in order to enter the U.S. To get your J-1 visa, you need to contact the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate in your home country and schedule an interview. Your international representative will help you with this process.
Important note: Your J-1 visa will either be a single-entry or multiple-entry visa. If your J-1 visa has an ‘M’, that means you can enter the U.S. multiple times; if it has an ‘S’, that means you can enter the U.S. one time only.
If you have a single-entry J-1 visa, you should not leave the U.S. during your CIEE Camp Exchange USA program; if you do, you will not be allowed to return on the same J-1 visa.
CONFIRMATION OF INSURANCE / INSURANCE ID CARD
This document is issued by CIEE and serves as confirmation of your CIEE health insurance coverage dates. You should not be in the U.S outside of these dates because you will not have insurance coverage. The dates on your Confirmation of Insurance are called your Program Dates, which will differ from the dates on your DS-2019 Form, which only indicate your work dates. If you want to travel in the U.S. at the conclusion of your program, you need to have insurance coverage for this period of time. CIEE insurance will cover you for 30 days of travel in the U.S. beyond your last day of work at camp. Your insurance ID card is your Proof of Insurance form.
PLACEMENT AGREEMENT FORM
This form contains your camp details, program dates, and indicates that CIEE is your visa sponsor. Be sure to travel with this document in case you are asked to provide it to U.S. Customs upon arrival in the U.S. If your camp issues you a separate contract or agreement form (see below for more information), be sure to bring both.
CAMP CONTRACT / AGREEMENT
This is an additional agreement that many camps will ask their counselors to sign. It is a detailed contract outlining conditions of employment and may also contain camp-specific information.
MEDICAL HEALTH FORM
CIEE or your camp will send you a medical health form. All sections of this form must be completed and the form must be signed by your physician. You must bring your completed medical health form to your camp in the U.S.
Please note: Your camp may require additional medical forms and/or proof of vaccination for vaccines required by the state in which your camp operates.
SOCIAL SECURITY FORM SS-5 (APPLICATION)
CIEE will provide this form to you at Meet and Greet. If you don’t attend Meet and Greet, your camp will provide this form upon arrival. You will need to complete the form and submit it to your nearest Social Security office. Your camp will provide transportation to and from this office.
SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICER LETTER
CIEE provides you with this letter to help you through the Social Security application process. Please take this with you when you apply for your Social Security card and present it to the Social Security Officer.
STATE DEPARTMENT EXCHANGE VISITOR WELCOME BROCHURE
CIEE or your international representative will provide you with a copy of the Exchange Visitor Program Welcome Brochure from the Department of State. This brochure will help you understand the purpose of the Exchange Visitor Program, provide you with information on contacting the U.S. Department of State, and introduce you to some of the major requirements and regulations of the Exchange Visitor Program.
As you prepare to travel to the U.S. for a life-changing summer at camp, it’s important not to overlook the packing process. Follow the guidelines below to ensure a successful trip:
Pack all important documents in your carry-on bag. Pack copies in your checked luggage.
Bring a change of clothes and anything else you might need in your carry-on bag in case your checked luggage is delayed.
Before you travel, always check with your airline about luggage restrictions.
All prescription drugs should be clearly marked and accompanied by a prescription from your doctor. Bring any prescriptions in your carry-on luggage.
Do not bring articles made from protected species or perishable foods such as cheese, fruit, or nuts.
Do not bring alcohol. Alcohol is not allowed on any summer camp premises.
Pack light. You may have to move bunks or cabins throughout the summer.
Don’t bring valuables. Camp is a communal living environment, so it is recommended that you don’t bring items that are special to you.
Please note: After you are placed at a camp, you will receive a packing list specific to your camp. If you pack according to this list, you will have everything you need for a fun summer at camp!
IST Plus was formed in 2003. Since then we have worked with thousands of students and young people from all over the world to help and guide them on their international journeys.
We work with partners across the globe to provide the best service possible.
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