Almost 15 million Americans work in hospitality and tourism, making it the fifth-largest industry in the country. From hotels to amusement parks and restaurants, there are hospitality opportunities to suit a wide variety of interests and skills. Many of these jobs in the US are fueled by hospitality internships and the J-1 Visa Program, which enables international workers to secure employment in the hospitality sector. 

While there is an abundance of hospitality job opportunities available, understanding how to obtain a hospitality internship isn’t always straightforward. We’ve put together this guide to hospitality internships and the J-1 Visa Program to help you better understand how to apply for an internship in the USA. We’ll explore: 

  1. What a hospitality internship involves
  2. The benefits of doing a hospitality internship
  3. The visa requirements for a US-based hospitality internship
  4. How to find hospitality internships in the United States
  5. The types of hospitality internship jobs available 

Since 2003, Intrax has been a designated U.S. Department of State J-1 visa sponsor. We’ve spent more than 20 years helping international talent secure internships throughout the United States in a wide range of industries, including hospitality. With an easy online application process and support every step of the way, Intrax Global Internships is the best way to secure your J-1 hospitality internship.

Read on to learn more about hospitality internships in the US, or start your Intrax Global Internships application here! 

What Is a Hospitality Internship? 

International internships for hospitality are invaluable opportunities for aspiring professionals to gain hands-on experience and cultivate essential skills within the field. They can provide you with the chance to immerse yourself in various facets of the industry, ranging from hotel management and event planning to food and beverage operations.

What Skills Are Required for a Hospitality Internship?

Hospitality internships require an array of skills to thrive in the fast-paced and customer-centric environment of the industry, including:

  • Prior experience within the hospitality industry
  • Legal eligibility to work in the United States
  • Familiarity with hotel operating systems such as Opera, Hot Sos, ALICE, Micros, Capterra, Toast, Meez, Eatec, or Oracle
  • Effective communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Adaptability and problem-solving abilities
  • A keen eye for detail 
  • A commitment to delivering exceptional service 
  • A strong sense of teamwork

Of course, each position has its own unique requirements, but this gives you a general idea of what’s required for hospitality international internships for college students and recent graduates. 

How Long is a Hospitality Internship?

The duration of a hospitality internship can vary depending on the specific program or arrangement established between the intern and the host organization. Typically, internships may range from a few months to a year in length. Short-term U.S. internships for international students offer a concentrated opportunity to gain experience, while longer-term placements give interns the chance to delve deeper into different projects.

Who Can Apply for a Hospitality Internship in the U.S.?

Hospitality internships in the US are open to students, recent graduates, and young professionals looking to gain practical experience in the industry. Most hospitality internships require candidates to demonstrate a genuine interest in the field, as well as a willingness to learn and contribute to the team. 

International applicants interested in pursuing hospitality internships in the US need to fulfill additional requirements, including obtaining a J-1 Visa, which permits temporary work-based exchange opportunities. It’s a good idea to start familiarizing yourself with all the necessary internship program information to ensure you meet the requirements and eligibility criteria for a hospitality internship under the J-1 Visa Program. 

Generally, international applicants for a hospitality internship in the US need to demonstrate English language fluency, and should either be currently enrolled in a university or college course, or a recent graduate with work experience. Learn more about internship program pricing and eligibility here. 

What Are the Benefits of Doing a Hospitality Internship?

A hospitality internship is a big step forward for your professional aspirations, but the experience offers much more than that. Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits of a hospitality internship in the US, including: 

  1. Boosting your resume
  2. Giving you more professional experience
  3. Helping you discover your passion
  4. Expanding your professional network
  5. Enjoying some stunning workplace settings 

Here’s how an internship abroad in hospitality can reward you in so many different ways. 

Boost Your Resume and Job Prospects

A hospitality internship is a valuable addition to your resume, providing tangible evidence of your practical experience and skills within the industry. Employers often value the hands-on experience gained through internships, recognizing the initiative and dedication required to excel in a real-world setting. 

Whether you aspire to pursue a career in hotel management, event planning, or food and beverage operations, a well-rounded internship experience can set you apart from other candidates and enhance your career prospects. Interns are significantly more likely to receive a job offer compared to other recent graduates. 

Gain Amazing Experience

From interacting with guests and managing day-to-day operations to participating in special events and projects, interns are exposed to a diverse array of tasks and responsibilities that contribute to their professional growth and development. The hands-on nature of international student internships in hospitality fosters invaluable skills such as communication, problem-solving, and teamwork, all of which are highly transferable to future career endeavors.

A bartender pours a blue cocktail into a glass
Image Source: Unsplash

Discover Your Passion

Until you have hands-on work experience, it can be difficult to know which specific areas of hospitality interest you the most. A J-1 internship is a great chance to try out different facets of hospitality work to see where your skills are best utilized, and discover what interests you the most. 

Whether you find yourself drawn to front-of-house operations, culinary arts, or hotel administration, securing an internship visa for the USA allows you to test the waters and gain insights into different roles and career paths without forcing you in any specific direction. By experiencing the day-to-day realities of working in hospitality, you can make informed decisions about your future career direction and pursue opportunities that match your interests and strengths.

Expand Your Professional Network

Networking is an important aspect of career development, and a hospitality internship provides an ideal platform for expanding your professional connections within the industry. From interacting with colleagues and supervisors to forging relationships with industry professionals and mentors, interns have the chance to build a diverse network that can prove invaluable in the future. 

Your connections may open doors to job opportunities, mentorship, and collaborative projects, enabling you to further your career goals and aspirations. Recent research found that around 40% of interns were hired by the employer they previously interned with, showing just how important an internship and the connections you make can be for your future job prospects. 

Work in Some Incredible Locations

One of the most alluring aspects of hospitality internships is the opportunity to work in some truly incredible locations, from a top-rated restaurant in a busy inner-city setting to a luxury ski resort in a stunning mountain town. Working as a J-1 student intern in these captivating locations makes your internship experience even more memorable.

Ready to start your journey and find a hospitality internship in the United States? Let Intrax Global Internships help! Sign up here to learn more about our J-1 visa sponsorship and the hospitality internships on offer. 

Visa Requirements for a US-Based Hospitality Internship 

Navigating the visa requirements for a hospitality internship in the United States is an important part of your journey. Understanding the specific visa needed, the application process, and the associated requirements are essential to ensure a smooth and successful internship experience. Here’s what you need to know about securing internship hospitality jobs with a J-1 Visa. 

Which Visa is Required for Hospitality Internships?

For international students and graduates seeking to pursue hospitality internships in the US, the J-1 Visa is typically the designated visa category. The J-1 Visa program, also known as the Exchange Visitor Program, facilitates cultural exchange and professional development by enabling individuals to participate in work-based exchange opportunities, including internships, in the United States.

The J-1 Visa Application Process

The application process for the J-1 Visa involves several steps, including securing sponsorship from a designated Exchange Visitor Program sponsor organization, such as Intrax Global Internships. Prospective interns must first apply and be accepted into a hospitality internship program approved by the U.S. Department of State before initiating the visa application process. 

Once accepted into a hospitality internship program, you can work with Intrax Global Internships to complete the necessary visa paperwork, including the DS-2019 form, which is crucial for obtaining your J-1 Visa. Interns are usually also required to undergo an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country to answer J-1 visa interview questions and demonstrate their eligibility and intentions for participating in the internship program. 

Intrax Global Internships’ Role as a J-1 Visa Sponsor

As a designated sponsor organization for the J-1 Visa program, joining Intrax Global Internships is your first step to understanding how to get an internship after college. We provide comprehensive support and guidance throughout the entire visa application process, ensuring that you have the necessary resources and assistance to navigate the complexities of obtaining a J-1 Visa. 

Once you have an internship offer from a U.S.-based company, we’ll help you with the visa paperwork and get you prepared for your international internship experience. The steps for securing your J-1 Visa with Intrax Global Internships are as follows: 

  1. Complete our online application
  2. Submit your required documents online
  3. Pay program fees to cover the J-1 visa cost
  4. Gain confirmation from your host company
  5. Undergo pre-departure orientation
  6. Receive your DS-2019 
  7. Complete your J-1 Visa interview
  8. Obtain your J-1 Visa

With a wealth of experience in facilitating cultural exchange programs, Intrax Global Internships is the perfect partner to help you navigate the J-1 visa process. We’ll ensure your visa application goes smoothly, allowing you to focus on preparing for your overseas work placement. Start your Intrax Global Internships application here!

A restaurant worker prepares tables for guests
Image Source: Unsplash

J-1 Visa Details and Requirements

The J-1 Visa is subject to specific details and requirements set forth by the US Department of State. Interns must meet certain eligibility criteria, including: 

  • Being enrolled in a degree-seeking program or having recently graduated from a qualifying institution
  • Demonstrating proficiency in English 
  • Possessing sufficient financial resources to support themselves during their internship period in the US

Interns must also adhere to the regulations governing the J-1 Visa program, including:

  • Maintaining health insurance coverage for the duration of the internship
  • Abiding by program dates (J-1 visa duration is typically 12 months for hospitality internships)
  • Fulfilling the objectives of the internship program

For J-1 hospitality internships, there are specific eligibility requirements, including: 

  • The internship must be in hospitality operations, hospitality management, or gastronomy
  • The internship must correspond to your field of study
  • You must be 18 years or older
  • You must be a current full-time student or have completed at least two semesters at a post-secondary academic institution, OR be a recent graduate able to start an internship program within 12 months of your graduation date 
  • Your education must have been obtained outside the U.S. 

Failure to comply with these requirements may result in visa revocation or other consequences, which is why it’s so important to understand your responsibilities and requirements as a J-1 hospitality intern. 

How to Find Hospitality Internship Jobs in the US

Before you can start the J-1 visa application process for a hospitality internship, you first need to find an internship opportunity that interests you. The job search may seem daunting, but there are several different avenues you can use to find positions in the US hospitality sector that suit your skills and interests. Let’s take a look at where you should start in your search for a US-based hospitality internship.

Find Hospitality Internships Through Intrax Global Internships

You can discover internship hospitality jobs here at Intrax Global Internships. We work with our premium host companies and trusted partners to offer a wide range of internship programs across various sectors, including hospitality, tourism, and event management. 

You can leverage our extensive network of partner organizations and industry connections to explore hospitality internship opportunities tailored to your interests and career goals. Search internships on our job board, where you can filter the results to focus on hospitality internships in specific U.S. cities. 

You can also use our intern pay calculator to find out how much you’ll earn as a hospitality intern. Once you create an Intrax Global Internships account, you can apply for the relevant positions you’ve found on our job board. 

Searching Online Job Boards

Although often more competitive, other online job boards can also serve as valuable platforms for discovering hospitality internship opportunities across the United States. Websites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn feature lots of internship listings from hospitality companies, hotels, resorts, and event management firms. 

Instead of sifting through thousands of hospitality internship jobs, use search filters to narrow down your options based on location, job type, and salary. You can also subscribe to job alerts so that you’re among the first to know when a new opportunity presents itself. 

Recommendations and Connections

Networking and recommendations can also play a role in uncovering internship opportunities and gaining insights into the hospitality industry. Leverage your personal and professional networks, including professors, mentors, and alumni, to inquire about potential internship openings and solicit recommendations. 

Attending industry events, career fairs, and networking mixers can also provide valuable opportunities to connect with hospitality professionals and learn how to get an internship in the field. Building meaningful relationships with those in the industry can lead to valuable referrals and introductions to internship opportunities that may not be advertised through the standard channels.

Types of Hospitality Internship Jobs

From front-of-house roles to behind-the-scenes operations, hospitality internships span a wide range of positions. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of internships for hospitality students, including: 

  • Hotel Operations 
  • Front Office 
  • Food and Beverage Operations 
  • Culinary Training 
  • Hotel Engineering 
  • Catering & Conference Services 

Depending on your interests and career goals, you may explore additional roles such as front desk agent, sommelier, pastry chef, or marketing coordinator.

Front Office Operations 

Interning in the Front Office  provides invaluable exposure to guest services and front desk operations within the hospitality sector. Interns in these roles are responsible for welcoming guests, assisting with check-in and check-out procedures, and providing recommendations for dining, entertainment, and local attractions. The chance to intern internationally  in the Front Office  helps you develop strong customer service skills and gain insights into the day-to-day operations of hotels and resorts.

Event Planner

Interning as an event planner offers the chance to participate in the planning, coordination, and execution of various events and functions within the hospitality industry. From weddings and corporate conferences to social gatherings and fundraisers, a paid internship in this role assists with logistical arrangements, vendor coordination, and attendee management, gaining valuable experience in event management and hospitality operations.

Culinary Intern or Trainee 

A Culinary Internship provides first-hand experience in the fast-paced and dynamic environment of culinary operations within hotels, restaurants, and catering establishments. Interns in these roles work alongside experienced chefs and kitchen staff, assisting with food preparation, learning cooking techniques, kitchen management and leadership strategies, and kitchen sanitation practices. 

Image Source: Unsplash

Food and Beverage Intern or Trainee 

Interning in the Food & Beverage department  provides hands-on experience in the art of service  and customer service within hotel restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, and banquets. . Interns in this role learn, interact with customers, and gain insights into the day-to-day management of a cafe or restaurant. 

Interning offers practical experience in food and beverage service within restaurants, hotels, and banquet facilities. You’ll learn to take orders, deliver food and beverages, and provide attentive service to guests. This type of hospitality internship will help you develop strong communication skills, multitasking abilities, and a customer-focused mindset essential for success in the hospitality industry.

Hotel Engineering 

Hotel engineering involves the maintenance and engineering aspects of hotel management. Interns might work on maintaining the physical infrastructure of the hotel, such as HVAC systems, electrical systems, and general repair work. This is ideal for those who have an interest in the technical and engineering aspects of hospitality operations.

Catering & Conference Services 

Interns in this area focus on the planning and execution of events and meetings hosted at the venue. Responsibilities could include setting up conference rooms, coordinating with clients to meet their event needs, managing catering services during events, and overseeing the smooth operation of all event-related activities. This role is perfect for those interested in event management and customer service in a hospitality setting.

Premium Hospitality 

A hospitality internship at a luxury hotel can provide invaluable real-world experience and kickstart your hospitality career in the best possible way. At Intrax Global Internships, our specialized premium hospitality internships give you the chance to hone your skills at some of the world’s leading luxury hotels. 

We can help you find incredible opportunities like a Hyatt internship, develop a training plan to keep both you and your host company on the same page, conduct monthly check-ins, and support you every step of the way. If a luxury hotel sounds like the perfect hospitality internship for you, request more information about our premium hospitality programs here. 

Secure Your Perfect Hospitality Internship With Intrax Global Internships

For new graduates and those still studying, a hospitality management internship is one of the most valuable ways to get real, hands-on experience before entering the workforce. Plus, it boosts your employment chances, helps you identify which areas of hospitality you’re passionate about, and gives you an incredible taste of living and working in the United States along the way. 

Securing a hospitality internship in the U.S. and navigating the ensuing J-1 Visa requirements can be a complicated process, but Intrax Global Internships is here to walk you through it. As a designated J-1 Visa sponsor, we have everything you need to secure your hospitality position and work visa with a host company in the U.S. 

So, browse our available internships, complete your Intrax Global Internships application, and start your professional career with an incredible, life-changing hospitality internship in the United States.

Apr 30, 2024
Internship Roles

More from 

Internship Roles


View All