For the benefit of students we are publishing sample of J-1 Visa interview with US consulate/embassy required for Work and Travel participation. To check out full description as well as other tips and recommendations please get the book on Amazon.
Ready? Then let’s dive straight into it :)))
….One last thing prevented Alex from traveling to US – he had to successfully pass visa interview with the immigration officer. Although he was not particularly worried about it, he decided to research relevant internet forums for interview questions and tips from other students. In addition, his WaT agency provided him with instructions and list of frequently asked questions. The best advices however came from students previously participated in the program. So Alex equipped with multiple advices and one week of preparations confidently headed for visa interview.
Upon arrival to the visa center Alex was scheduled to meet the officer at 9:30 am. The officer, 35-40 years old white lady with little glasses, appeared to be friendly and easy going person. As Alex approached the window and handed documents, he greeted her in English and officer simultaneously welcomed Alex in his language. To cause big confusion Alex completely missed first question and quickly began feeling nervous. Realizing that it was not a great start, Alex swiftly asked officer to repeat the question. He honestly said he was very nervous since it was his first visa interview. The officer pointed at the WaT informational guide and asked if he was familiar with the content and knew what to do if his rights are violated. Alex understood her at once and described in three sentences main bullets from it.
“Good” – said officer shortly and asked where Alex got his job offer from. Since Alex was not completely certain about validity of his job offer, he began nervously explaining that his friend’s friend found it for him. His anxiety was showing up on his face and affected his speaking manner so that after he finished he was not sure if officer understood him.
“You understand?” – asked Alex after some uncomfortable silence.
“Got it” – responded quickly lady and wrote something in her paper.
“Alright” – she said and continued asking him general questions such as which city he was born at, where he wants to work upon graduation, if he has any friends in States and why he was going to States.
These standard questions Alex handled relatively easy but felt like his blood pressure was several times the normal level. He felt he was going to explode because of anxiety. Obviously, to help Alex to relax, officer smiled and said that she had vacation in the city he was going to and that it was a nice place to spend summer. Then for some reason she asked several questions in his native language adding confusion to Alex. She was interested if Alex has honored all his school commitments and when he was returning back home. Alex was not sure in which language to respond but decided to answer in English.
Then she asked if he was comfortable with his job offer responsibilities and if he was going to work several jobs. Alex misunderstood the second part and said instead that he was going to live with other students in the nearby motel. Officer looked at Alex for two seconds and changed the language again while writing something in. Very nervous Alex apologized for misunderstanding and responded in English that he would like to get a second job if possible.
Every time she switched language Alex felt embarrassed and freaked out. As officer was writing something in her notes, Alex thought that it was the end of the conversation and the end of the world with it. He thought he failed the interview because of his ability to speak English. Officer said that if he wants to change jobs he would have to do so according to the rules of the program.
“Yes, I understand” – confirmed Alex with hesitation.
It felt like he was being interviewed for couple hours and Alex worried that it did not go as smooth as he had expected. Officer however was not going to finish conversation yet and few other simple standard questions followed as where he would travel at the end of the program, if he contacted the supervisor, how he learned about the program and what was the main goal of traveling to US.
“Ok, sounds good” – finally responded officer and asked if he knows what to do in the emergency. Alex answered this question easily and began feeling relaxed and confident. She stopped changing languages and Alex answered questions without asking to repeat or paraphrase it. That was a good sign.
Then she looked at computer and asked where his parents worked. This was another standard question and Alex handled it easily.
“Ok, ok, my sister works in the same industry as your dad” – she said friendly and collected all documents from Alex. As she was writing something, typing in and stamping, Alex was nervously observing her. He did not notice how sweat drops appeared on his forehead.
“Enjoy your trip and be safe” – she said quickly and handed back his documents with approval stamp on it. Alex super excited, could not believe he got the visa and even lost to some extent ability to speak.
“Thank you, Thank you very much, good bye” – he said quickly almost falling in love with officer for granting him visa and rushed to walk out.
Looking back at his first visa interview experience, Alex admitted that it definitely was not a pleasant one. Very stressful dialog and not particularly friendly atmosphere at the beginning made him feel like he was interrogated. He also felt somewhat embarrassed and disappointed with his responses to questions and his English skills. Although realized that this was a routine practice of screening out and evaluating potential WaT participants, Alex was a little unhappy.
Driving back home from the visa center Alex mentally played over and over his interview to understand what could have been done better. Main and most important factor, he concluded, was his ability to communicate in English. Although he studied all standard questions and relevant documents, he lacked basic conversational skills. He decided to devote much more time to studying the language, practice speaking it, watching and listening to English movies, songs and reading a lot in English.
You can also enroll in English language courses, preferably with native English speakers, since it is important to get used to the way they speak, to foreign pronunciation and speech without accent. This however, might be an expensive option, so instead you can search for free resources online and check out different apps. Nowadays, there are a lot of them. Note that, a lively conversation, even via video call, is much more useful than just texting and messaging. Then, there are many different speaking clubs, where guys like you would like to practice English – so check it out, maybe you will like and benefit from it.
The most important thing here is consistency – do not be lazy – devote each day at least half an hour, better an hour, to improve your English. Every time try something new: movies in English with subtitles, a favorite song, an article in a newspaper or website, video about WaT investigation, celebrity interviews and so on, there are many examples. Moreover, don’t spend an hour searching one word – try to grasp the meaning of the sentence. Of course, vocabulary is very important, but spending half an hour looking for one word is not the best option either. All this will certainly help you to improve language skills and add confidence conversing in English. And, regardless of the interview outcome, good English knowledge will be very useful in your life anyway! So go ahead, English speaking is not that far!
Another important thing to remember – always say only positive things about your country, city, university, family and whatever consul asks you about. You have to show and convincingly demonstrate to the consul that you love your current life style and have zero intention to remain in US and not to come back home. And of course do not forget to put artificial smile on your face – Americans love it!
Of course, do not forget your paperwork – you have to perfectly know everything in your documents. Also try to learn how to control your anxiety level and success will certainly follow. If you can’t control your emotions, try practicing questions with your friend or cousin. Practice makes perfect! But don’t just memorize all questions; moreover, expect unexpected questions from the consul. Ask your friend to ask you surprised questions during each practice. And do not rush with answers until you fully understand the officer – its better to ask to repeat the question, rather then to give a wrong answer! And remember, visa officer knows that English is not your first language so relax. Relax, speak slowly and treat him/her as friend not an enemy. And you will be alright!
To help you in your preparation for the visa interview we posted more than 100 frequently asked questions below. Enjoy and have fun!
Whether it was pleasant experience or not, more importantly, Alex received his coveted visa and was cleared to travel to US. Let’s follow him in the quest to conquer America as he leaves for his first trip abroad…
Do you want to follow Alex in his trip to America, learn more about his J-1 adventures and know something that hundreds of other participants do not know??? Of course – knowledge is power! Useful tips and recommendations never hurt anybody – so let’s get the book, America is waiting for you!
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J-1 work and travel visa interview – frequently asked questions
- What is your name/surname/last name?
- How old are you? What is your age? How old is your sister/brother/dad/mom?
- Can you describe yourself? Can you talk about yourself?
- Can you introduce yourself? How can you characterize yourself?
- What is your strongest/weakest character feature? Why?
- Where was you born? What city/village was you born?
- Can you describe your hometown/state?
- Have you read the Work and Travel guide? Do you know your rights and responsibilities?
- Are you familiar with the program rules? Do you know what to do upon arrival to America?
- Do you know who to call in emergency? Do you know what to do in emergency?
- What will you do if you have problems in America?
- Which city do you live in? How far do you live from consulate/embassy?
- How did you get here? How long did it take you to get here? Did you use bus/train/car/airplane? Did you come/travel with your friends?
- Why do you want to go to America? Why do you want to visit America?
- What is the purpose of your trip to America?
- When and why did you apply for the program?
- How did you learn about the program? Advertising/friends/family members?
- Where are going to travel in America? What is your favorite place/city/state?
- How will this experience help you in the future? Why do you think so?
- How will this program help you in your career? Are you excited?
- How long are you going to stay in the America? When are you coming back?
- Where are you going to work in America? In what city? In what state?
- What will you be doing in … [name of the city from job offer]? What is your position/title/employer name? What will your responsibilities/duties be?
- When are you going to start/finish your job in America?
- Do you know the address/name of your workplace? What is name of your manager/supervisor? Did you call her/him?
- What will your salary be? What is hourly rate?
- What do you like most about your job offer? Why did you pick this job?
- Did you choose your job offer? Where did you get your job offer from?
- How many jobs are you planning to have? Do you know the rules?
- How long are you going to work in America?
- Where are you going to live in America? Where are you going to stay in America?
- What do you know about the city, state, country you are going to?
- Do you know the address of your living place? Do you know how to get there?
- Is it apartment or house? How did you find it? How much is it?
- Where do you study? What university are you attending? In what city?
- What faculty/department do you study at? How many buildings in your campus?
- What is your major/speciality? Why did you choose that major/faculty/department/university?
- Do you like your school/major/university? What do you like about it? What do you like most/least? Why?
- Are you Bachelor or Masters student? Are you planning to enroll in Masters level?
- What year are you in? What course are you? How many years do you have left?
- When are you graduating? When are you planning to graduate?
- Are you a good and hard working person? Can you say that you are an excellent student?
- Are you a full-time or a part-time student? Are you a taking evening or day-time classes?
- How do you usually get to school? Do you live on campus?
- What’s your rector/dean/professor’s name/surname?
- How many people in your class? More girls or guys?
- What’s your math/physics/english teacher’s name?
- Do you like to study alone or with friends? What is your score?
- What is your favorite subject in school? Why?
- When are you planning to travel to America? What is your plan?
- When will you leave America? When will you come back?
- Will you have any problems in your school if you come back late?
- Will you have any problems if you leave early?
- What are you going to do after graduation? Where are you going to work after graduation?
- What are your plans for the future? Are you planning to move to different city?
- What is your future job? Are you looking/planning for it?
- What will you do after coming back from America?
- Are you married? Do you have children?
- Do you have girlfriend? Do you have boyfriend?
- Where and when did you meet? What is her/his name? What is city is she/he from?
- Do you live with your parents? Why? Why not?
- Tell me about your place of living?
- Do you have brothers or sisters? How many?
- How many cousins do you have? Are they supporting your participation?
- What is the name of you dad/mom/sister/brother/siblings?
- What do your parents and family think about your participation in the program?
- Who pays for the trip? How do you pay for the program?
- What is your parents annual/monthly income? How much do your parents make per month?
- Where do your parents work? What is your parents’ occupation? What are their duties?
- Where does your sister/brother work?
- Do you have a job? Are you working now? If yes, where are you working and what’s your job?
- Have you ever worked? What place?
- Is it a full-time or a part-time job? What is your income/salary?
- What is your dream job? Why? Please describe it.
- How much money are you taking with you in America?
- How are you planning to live before your first paycheck?
- Do you like pets? Do you have pets? Why not? How old is your dog/cat?
- Do you have any animals at home? Do you like them? What is the name?
- Do you have plants in your room? How many?
- Have you ever travelled abroad? When and where, which country?
- Do you have relatives or friends in other countries? If yes, where?
- Why did you travelled abroad? Did you travel with your family? Did you like it?
- What is your favorite city or country? Why?
- Where would you like to live 5 years from now?
- What is your favorite food or music? Why?
- Do you live in house/apartment? Which floor?
- How many rooms are there in your house/apartment?
- How good is your English? Do you speak any other languages?
- Are you confident with your language skills?
- How long have you been studying English? Where?
- Does your dad/mom speak English?
- Have you taken any training/courses in English? How long? Where?
- Have you ever watched movie or read book in English?
- Do you have allergies or any other medical restrictions?
- Do you have any medical problems?
- Are you on medication? Which one?
- Do you have any chronic problems/diseases?
- How is your blood pressure? Can you work and live in hot places?
- Do you like watching TV, movies, play computer games, reading books?
- What is your favorite TV show, movie, radio station, book?
- What is your favorite American movie? When and where did you watch it first?
- Who is your favorite movie star? How old is she/he?
- Do you like sports? What is your favorite team?
- What is favorite game? Which one do you like more: soccer or chess? Why?
- What is your favorite shape? Do you like more round or square shapes?
- Have you ever had issues or problems with police in country or abroad?
- Have you ever been in prison/jail? How about your relatives?
- Do you have driving license? Is it domestic or international?
- What is your favorite car? Why?
- Do you like classic or sport cars? What is your dream car?
- Do you have a car? Which brand and how old is it?
- What are you currently doing?
- What do you think about the president of America?
- Do you have any questions for me?
Good luck my friend !!!
Want to make promised “average” $6000, improve English, enhance your resume and refund taxes? Good luck… but before you pay $3000 to Work and Travel agents check out these myths about the program:
- Money Myth
- English Myth
- Career Myth
- Tax refund Myth
- Medical insurance Myth
- Cultural Exchange Myth
- Sex. Money. Work and Travel. Part One.
as well as other Myths and Truth about Work and Travel
Looking for more tips and advices? Go for it!
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