You carefully plan around your needs and budget for the summer, anticipating exactly how many staff members you can hire in each area. After months of recruiting, reviewing and hiring, you finally send out your last contract and relax now that you have assembled a perfect team. But unexpected changes can occur: your waterfront manager may get a great offer from a consulting firm in her home country where she has to start in July; your rock-climbing specialist might fail an exam and can’t leave his country until two weeks after camp starts; two of your maintenance staff may call to say they were denied visas and can’t leave their country at all.
Visa rejections and other complications are a source of frustration and disappointment to everyone involved. Below are some ways we are helping address the problems that do arise. We are here to assist you if other challenges occur as well.
Learning From the Past
Each year, we evaluate every element of our program from start to finish. In doing so, we evaluate problems by country and IC. Did our participants have trouble securing visas from one particular embassy? Did a disproportionate number of runaways or problem participants come from a single country? If we have had difficulties working in a certain country or with a particular organization, then we either make significant adjustments or discontinue the program in that region.
Because InterExchange representatives travel around the world to conduct personal interviews with our applicants, we are often able to meet with consular officials at the American embassies. By doing so, we establish our reputation as a serious organization and ask for the Consul General’s assistance in creating successful cultural exchange opportunities for young people. At the same time, we are able to get an idea of potential complications in the visa application process for each country. We continue to update the embassy on our program throughout the year via phone, fax and email.
Changing Our Calendar
Due to recent visa delays and other unexpected challenges, we have made a concerted effort to move up the timeline of our program. Confirming placements early benefits everyone involved.
Keeping in Touch
Whenever we receive word that something may, even potentially, delay the arrival of one of our participants (or prevent that participant from coming at all), we will contact the camp immediately.
Encourage your Self-Placement participants to get to the Embassy as early as possible. Many participants had to wait 6-8 weeks before receiving visas in previous years.