Work And Travel Earnings Suck. Blame The Economy

In Economy on August 7, 2007 by Petr Bokuvka

Go back a few years. Go to a bank and look at currency rate digital board. One dollar costs over 36 crowns.

Back to present, June 6 (yesterday): one dollar costs CZK 20.40. As always there are two sides on every coin and economists would tell you that companies that use dollars to, er, pay for stuff, are happy because they get it cheaper. Companies that sell abroad get less. Or something.

Thousands of Czech students are working their asses off now in the United States in Work And Travel programs. They wash dishes, work in amusement parks, they take care of kids, they build log cabins…Some of them went for it just for the experience and language skill improvement. Many, however, went for it for the big bucks.

Big bucks? Now, where….?

A friend of mine is what WAT students call third-timer. Means that she has taken part in the program twice. First time she was in the States she brought home some $3000. Converted to Czech crowns back then: 86,000. Not bad, given that she left almost all their clothes there and bought new stuff. A Czech student who comes home tomorrow having earned the same amount in dollars would have CZK 61,200.

An American might react: So what? If you don’t like it, don’t come here and stay home. True. But that is beside the point. The point is that no matter what the currency rate is. U.S. visa, airline tickets and the WAT program fees and other associated costs are not equally cheaper. And the chances of getting U.S. visa are not any bigger.


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