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Work and Travel Program New Opportunities for Georgian Students

Interview with Lali Jokhadze, manager at StarAcademy

 Talk about your organization. How did you came up with idea of creating one, when did you start, who are founders and so on?

-The company founder and director is Mr. Revaz Uturgauri. He is also founder and director of Sky Travel tourism company, which has been operating on the Georgian market successfully for 12 years.

Similar Organizations like StarAcademy have been operating in various countries of the world for many years and they are very popular on local markets. These organizations cooperate on global level with 78 agencies, including in Georgia. Experience of these companies has inspired us to develop similar programs in Georgia to enable Georgian students, and not only students, to make use of this special experience. Based on international practice, we have introduced two programs: the Work and Travel and the TESOL.

The Work and Travel is a four-month program in the USA and students are able to work  for 3 months, receive high salaries and travel across the USA for a month.

TESOL is a professional program for English-speaking individuals and the program participants are able to teach English language in China and Thailand for impressive salaries.

Who are your target segment and what communication means do you apply to inform them?

-The target audience of StarAcademy is divided in two segments – The Work and Travel program is oriented on students of 1-3 courses, while TESOL program is designed to wider audience. Individuals of any age and profession, who want to teach English in China or Thailand can become TESOL participants. Information is delivered through social media, television. Various internet editions are interested in our organizations. We hold introductory meetings at Georgia’s leading universities and we keep direct communication with the audience and we take maximum efforts to comprehensively answer their questions.

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Which stages does the selection process include and what is required to participate in this project?

-The Work and Travel selection process consists of several parts. First of all, participants should pass registration on the website, after which our representatives will contact them and appoint an interview to examine the level of  English language proficiency and other skills. If the interviewer is a success, the participant must pay the application fee. As a result, StarAcademy will start seeking a due job place on behalf of the applicant and appoint an interview with the employer. Having successfully passed these stages, the participant will submit an application to the consulate and will leave for the USA for working for a period of 3 months and travel around the USA for the 4th month.

To participate in the TESOL program it is necessary that an applicant have Upper-intermediate level in English language and this component is examined at an interview. To start working in China and Thailand, it is necessary to hold a TESOL certificate and the paid document is issued by our organization. TESOL certification program is one of the prestigious and worldwide recognized programs. It lasts 6 months and the teaching process proceeds in distance. However, the course may be finished in a shorter period depending on the applicant’s efforts. Having taken a certificate, StarAcademy will seek a job place, appoint an interview and after successful interview the applicants will be able to work in Asia for 3-12 months.

Salaries as part of both programs range from 1500 USD to 5000 USD.

The project format raises natural questions regarding security issues. Are the project participants protected during the visiting period?

-The participants safety is provided by  CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange), which is authorized by US State of Department to carry out the program administration.

This is a new project for Georgia, but it is very popular worldwide. What is the existing practice in foreign countries and how similar projects assist students in future career?

-Both programs are very popular in foreign countries. Thousands of young people and adolescents are involved in it. There are no cases when the successful applicant was left without job place. The Work and Travel and TESOL programs assist candidates to receive professional  experience. Social activity is one of the important aspects for career advancement. Moreover, working experience is appreciated very much abroad. The program helps the participants gain new skills and work in interesting environment. As a result, the participants will be able to get adapted to any environment in the future.

As to the TESOL program, the participants will receive the world’s one of the prestigious certificates in English Language and live in comfortable environment thanks to high salaries. They will be also able to save money for future plans too.

Will similar programs increase young people’s immigration to the developed countries. Will be this program used for similar purposes and what are prevention mechanisms?

– Similar programs cannot provoke an immigration of young people, because we have taken preventive measures.  CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) and an employer company involved in the Work and Travel program bear responsibility that the participants return to homelands in preliminarily determined terms and continue studies or other activities in homeland.

At this stage, the program enables students to work in the USA, China and Thailand. What specific duties will they perform and who will be responsible for them, which organizations do you cooperate with?

-The program participant’s duties depend on their jobs. In case of the Work and Travel program, the field of occupation is hotel management, sales, services at food outlets, national reserved territories and entertainment/aqua parks. As to TESOL program, its participants work with pupils at local public schools and teach English language under the TESOL methodology. We cooperate with all those organizations, where our applicants will be employed, because the employer company is responsible for the participants.