Does the Summer Work Travel International Exchange Program Work?

ROCKVILLE, MD, August 28, 2017 – The Alliance for International Exchange, an association of cultural exchange agencies, asked EurekaFacts to find out if the Summer Work Travel Program works. The Summer Work Travel program—one of five programs included in the J-1 Visitor Exchange Program—brings more than 100,000 college students from 100 countries to the United States during their summer break. These students typically work at amusement parks, ski destinations, and hospitality during the peak seasons of small businesses.

The key findings of the research show that the program delivers significant two-fold benefits in terms of public diplomacy. 1) SWT participants leave the program with higher regard and understanding of the United States while making lasting friendships with Americans they met. 2) The program also meets the internal needs of small businesses. 

The assessment included a comprehensive review of the program, surveys of participants from the past five years, interviews and surveys of employers, and labor market statistics for the areas where the program operates. Among key findings, the report documents:

  • Seventy-six percent (76%) of SWT participants have a higher overall regard for the US after the program. Three in four say their opinions of American people became more positive.
  • Sixty-one percent (61%) of SWT participants reported higher regard for American companies.
  • The SWT program helped US businesses meet seasonal labor shortages in areas and times where American workers are not available. The analysis concludes that SWT participants do not displace local workers.

The study was led by Public Affairs research director Alec Ulasevich, PhD, and Malinda Rhone, PhD, and company principal Jorge Restrepo, MGA, following the international quality for market, public opinion and social research ISO 20252, to which EurekaFacts is certified. 

To access a copy of the full report go to


About the Alliance for International Exchange
The Alliance for International Exchange (formerly Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange) is an association of 90 nongovernmental organizations comprising the international educational and cultural exchange community in the United States. Founded in 1993, after a merger of the International Exchange Association and the Liaison Group for International Educational Exchange, the Alliance serves as the only collective public policy voice of the exchange community.


About EurekaFacts 
Based in Rockville, Maryland, EurekaFacts is a full-service market research and analysis firm that provides information and insight that helps identify and maximize the opportunity for a better impact. Established in 2003, EurekaFacts, with an established Institutional Review Board, is certified to the international standard for market, public opinion and social research ISO 20252.