By: Radmila Grujin, Work and Travel Program Serbian partner, Karavan Travel

The time to travel home after the Work and Travel program is always a mixture of happiness, excitement, and a little bit of sadness. New places that represented home for a summer grow on you. New people who became your friends shared stories with you. But now it’s time to leave it all behind.

Luckily enough, it’s so easy to stay in touch these days. Actually, it’s easier to be in touch than to disconnect with all that social media buzz in the air. So, after saying their farewells and hopefully packing everything within the weight limit, participants typically set off in October for their home countries and to their family and friends.

The return flight information is updated in CCI Online accounts, to keep CCI Greenheart posted about their plans. After the participants come home, we contact them to follow up and ask about their time on the program. We are confident that this feedback provides significant insight and allows us to plan ahead and introduce improved procedures, pre-arrival orientations and guidance to future participants.

One significant matter that needs to be attended to after participants come back home from the United States is the tax refund. We inform participants about the procedure, documents, and time required to receive their tax money, while suggesting companies that assist in this process. Karavan’s participants do not have the obligation to refund their taxes through these referrals. Participants decide which way to go and what option suits them most.

In Summer 2015, we at Karavan organized our 19th Work and Travel program season. Considering the changes introduced to the program over the years, some would say that’s not bad; not bad at all. Although participants don’t have the luxury to participate in this program so many times (as we do in the backend), they can participate more than 1 time during their studies – as long as they pass exams, of course. This a wonderful opportunity and many J-1 participants return to USA next summer.

And, as the shiny lights of American cities slowly fade away after the participants’ plane takes off, they reflect on the summer months that have passed. Perhaps it is difficult to pack the suitcases on their way home, not only because of the carefully wrapped presents in them, but because they are packed full with memories. Perhaps these memories are the excess weight that causes participants so many headaches when they stand at the airport and weigh those bags again and again, trying to fit those amazing memories into a small space…

Check our video on the right to see what one of our participants, Milica, has to say about her time on the Work and Travel program! But be warned – her English is amazing!