Student Work USA

Student Work USA


Welcome to the spectacular Gaylord Resorts! The awe-inspiring Gaylord Texan and Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Centre invite guests to experience all the energy and excitement over the festive season each November to January and you could be a part of this experience.

Experience the finest in Southern hospitality at Gaylord Opryland or Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee and Grapevine, Texas. Gaylord resorts are located just 10 minutes from the airports and feature an extraordinary selection of dining, shopping, recreational activities and entertainment, there’s never a shortage of things to do at our resort!

OVC Success Story: Faith embraces cultural exchange and has a fantastic time at the Gaylord, her story features on the department of state website:

Check out the Gaylord Texan Resort

Check out the Gaylord Opryland Resort

Check out ICE* 2015/2016 Season

OVC invites all 2017 tertiary students or even those graduating to become a part of the ICE* experience. Gaylord Resort employees are not just employees, they are STARS! Every year the Gaylord Texan transforms 2.5million pounds of ice into a winter wonderland and invites local residents and Americans from all over the US and further to visit ICE* during the holiday season. All J1 Stars will work as ICE* attraction attendants helping guests through the ICE tent, taking photos, interacting with each family and ensuring they have the best experience possible when visiting the resort and attractions. All Stars will be given the opportunity to work for an additional 3 weeks at the Gaylord resorts to maximize your time in the USA!!


ICE* is a hand carved adventure for Americans to enjoy with their family and friends. The ICE* tent transforms into a magical winter wonderland. Through the maze inside you will see huge ice sculptures, ice slides, and each year there is a unique theme throughout. 2015 Christmas around the world and in 2016 Santa claus is coming to town

ICE* attraction attendants/STARS will arrive in 2 groups to begin their winter adventure. ICE* attendants will be required to assist guests on the rides, ensure safety within the ICE* tent, excite guests, hand out ICE* parkas, interact with the guests and help with any additional duties set out by ICE*. STARS will have to rotate through various positions within the ICE* tent during their daily shifts. Due to the extreme temperatures inside the tent i.e. -12 degrees, STARS will work inside and outside the tent... be ready for a unique icy winter!

ICE* closes the first week of January, at this time all Stars will be given the opportunity to move to their second position to work for an additional 3 week to 6 weeks at the Gaylord resorts to maximize time in the USA.

Second Placements whilst working at ICE* and at the Gaylord resorts are available to all students and will be discussed in more detail at the SA fair!

STARS come to the US from many international destinations, so you are sure to meet other students, as well as many local Americans during your time in the US. Gaylord Texan and Opryland also provide fun cultural opportunities such to attend local attractions as well as hosting various staff functions during your time at the resort.

Housing for STARS:
Housing will be provided for all STARS and will be confirmed before departure to the USA! Housing will be on a shared basis, and students will be responsible for paying rent and personal items whilst living in the USA. Rooms are priced at approx. $125 to $135 per week per STAR. 2 weeks rent is required to be paid prior to departure to the US, along with a security deposit, OVC will inform you of this exact cost at the time of your application or enquiry with us

Hours, Pay and Benefits:
STARS will work 32 hours minimum per week and could work up to 40 or more hours during the busy seasons and with a second job. All STARS will be paid $10 per hour. STARS who perform really well in their first position stand a chance for a second job placement during the season at ICE*. All students will earn enough money weekly to pay rent, buy food and other personal expenses, and it is also possible to save money to bring back to SA at the end of the season dependent on lifestyle whilst there. Included in your weekly accommodation you will receive a continental buffet breakfast. Whilst on duty at ICE* all STARS will receive a daily food credit of $3 to use at the staff canteen, so most food that one needs is included daily for free!!


To be eligible to work at the Gaylord Resorts, OVC will be looking for full-time tertiary students aged 18 and older, who have enthusiasm, drive, people skills, are reliable, punctual, have a good command of the English language, and those who are keen to share their South African culture with the American guests at the resorts.
All students must be available to depart on the departure dates set out for 2017 during the months of November and must have a valid passport and funds available to travel. So start saving now and make sure you have a valid passport too.

(A student is defined as a person attending a tertiary education centre that is recognized by the Education Department). Technikon students are also accepted. As long as you have completed at least 6 months of study at a tertiary level during 2017, you are eligible to apply. We regret that no UNISA students are eligible to apply, unless attending full-time lectures.

Start/Finish Dates

OVC will host 2 departure dates for this year’s STARS! All students must be available to leave on the dates below and must have completed all final exams before departure to the USA.

Gaylord ICE 2017 Season:
Departure 3/4 Nov 2017 - Orientation 6 Nov to work until approx. 5 Jan 2018
Departure 17/18 Nov 2017 - Orientation 20 Nov to work until approx. 5 Jan 2018

All students will move from ICE to additional positions to work as follows:: It is compulsory to stay until either the 20 Jan or 9 Feb 2018

Gaylord work dates for students returning to Studies in 2018
6 Jan 2018 to 20 Jan 2018

Gaylord work dates for students who are graduating in 2017
6 Jan 2018 to 9 Feb 2018

Visa Info

All STARS travel to the USA on a J1 Student Working Visa. This is a cultural exchange program and aims to allow students not only to work, but to travel in the USA.

After completing your contract at ICE* all students will have up to 30 days to travel within the USA! A great opportunity to visit family, friends or even book a Topdeck USA tour to travel to all the famous sites the US has to offer! Past STARS have travelled to New York, Orlando, Washington DC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and many more fantastic destinations in the US.


Admin fee R3500
Program fee $935
Other fees Housing $350 - $600
Visa fees $160
Travel Insurance Included
Airfare (approx) R14 000
Recommended Spending Money $300.00


All STARS must apply now and applications will close around the 1ST of September 2017. OVC have many positions available, and placing couples or friends together is possible. We will host our international recruiters in September 2017 at venues round the country. Interviews must be attended in person, so do not lose out, book your spot now!!

OVC offices will send all STARS the starter email. Complete the online application, as well as gather the necessary documents to apply. Have your application fee ready and book your pre-screening interview at your local OVC office.

OVC will pre-screen all candidates and determine their eligibility for the program. We will also be hosting presentations from now until the end of August for all applicants and parents that would like to come in and find out more. So contact your local OVC office to book an appointment.

More Info

TEXAS - Gaylord Texan
Texas is the second largest US state behind Alaska and is home to over 26.5 million Americans. In Texas, everything is bigger! Southern style you will be able to experience first-hand living 30mins from one of the main cities in Texas, Dallas! Texas is well known for their Cowboys, Rodeo’s and Western country music, so slap on your cowboy boots and stetson hat and get ready to experience some Southern Hospitality!

Texas has a lot to offer, including the Cowboy stadium for football fans. Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth is home to NASCAR and the X-Games. For the great outdoors, visit Palo Duro Canyon for some kayaking, canoeing and breathless landscapes! Embrace your inner cowboy and ride off into the sunset because cowboys are alive and kicking in Texas – visit a Rodeo or give horseback riding a go whilst visiting a local ranch! Food is more than a meal, it’s a way of life in Texas – try out the unique Tex-Mex creation, best bowl of chilli, or simply sip on some of the tastiest wines Texas produces due to their unique climate! Six Flags Theme Park is not far from Dallas and is ready and waiting for the adrenaline junkies! In Texas, there is something for everyone and so many places to be explored. What are you waiting for?!

TENNESSEE - Gaylord Opryland
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in the north central part of the state. The city is a center for the music, healthcare, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and home to numerous colleges and universities. It is known as a center of the country music industry, earning it the nickname "Music City, U.S.A."
Nashvilles downtown area features a diverse assortment of entertainment, dining, cultural and architectural attractions. The Broadway and 2nd Avenue areas feature entertainment venues, night clubs and an assortment of restaurants. North of Broadway lie Nashvilles central business district, Legislative Plaza, Capitol Hill and the Tennessee Bicentennial Mall. Cultural and architectural attractions can be found throughout the city.