Overview of San Francisco
San Francisco is often called “Everybody’s Favorite City,” a title earned by its scenic beauty, cultural attractions, diverse communities, and world-class cuisine. Measuring 49 square miles, this very walkable city is dotted with landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Alcatraz and the largest Chinatown in the United States. A stroll of the City’s streets can lead to Union Square, the Italian-flavored North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Castro, Japantown and the Mission District, with intriguing neighborhoods to explore at every turn.
Views of the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay are often laced with fog, creating a romantic mood in this most European of American cities. The City has a colorful past, growing from a small village to a major city nearly overnight as a result of the 1849 Gold Rush. The writers of the “beat” generation, the hippies of the Summer of Love in the late 1960’s and the large gay/lesbian population have all contributed to making San Francisco the fascinating place it is today.
The City is home to world-class theatre, opera, symphony and ballet companies and often boasts premieres of Broadway-bound plays and culture-changing performing arts. San Francisco is one of America’s greatest dining cities. The diverse cultural influences, proximity of the freshest ingredients and competitive creativity of the chefs result in unforgettable dining experiences throughout the City.
Located along the Northern California at the state’s distinctive bend in the coast, the region has an alluring magic that stretches beyond the bay, and is home to some of the world’s finest wine country, including Napa Valley and Sonoma, plus waterfront towns, dramatic beaches, and the tech-savvy southern end of the bay known as the Silicon Valley, where lunchtime ideas at Google, Facebook, and Apple, turn into the next brilliant innovation.
Technological Growth of San Francisco
San Francisco became a hub for technological driven economic growth during the internet boom of the 1990s, and still holds an important position in the world city network today. Intense redevelopment towards the “new economy” makes business more technologically minded. Between the years of 1999 and 2000, the job growth rate was 4.9%, creating over 50,000 jobs in technology firms and internet content production.
In the second technological boom driven by social media in the mid 2000s, San Francisco became a popular location for companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter to base their tech offices and for their employees to live. Since then, tech employment has continued to increase. In 2014, San Francisco’s tech employment grew nearly 90% between 2010 and 2014, beating out Silicon Valley’s 30% growth rate over the same period.
The tech sector’s dominance in the Bay Area is internationally recognized and continues to attract new businesses and young entrepreneurs from all over the globe. San Francisco is now widely considered the most important city in the world for new technology startups.
A recent high of 7 billion dollars in venture capital was invested in the region. These startup companies hire a high concentration of well educated individuals looking to work in the tech industry, and creates a city population of highly concentrated levels of education. Over 50% of San Franciscans have a 4-year university degree, ranking the city among the highest levels of education in the country and world.
In the global economy, San Francisco’s diverse population is claimed to be one of its strongest assets. Just as in other global cities, the San Francisco economy relies on its polarized labor structure. This structure includes highly educated immigrants working in the high end occupational spectrum, such as the dot-com sector, as well as poorly educated, low skilled immigrants who work in the low paying service sector. The different ethnic communities within San Francisco gives the city connections to important markets around the world, and increases its global reputation.
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Visa Requirements for California
The J-1 visa is required for international students to participate in the 16-week academic/work experience program. Accordingly, international students must:
- Be at least 18 years of age.
- Be enrolled as a full time student at a tertiary educational institute or have graduated within 12 months.
- Be studying towards/have obtained a degree.
- Secure a U.S internship that is related to your field of study and submit a Training Plan as completed by your Host Company in the USA. We will arrange all of this.
- All applicants must have sufficient return evidence in order to be approved by the US Embassy. Return evidence can be a letter from your University/College stating that you will return to resume or continue your studies after your internship in the USA. For applicants not intending to return to study, this should be a letter from an employer stating that when you return from the US there will be a job available for you. If you hold a property deed for a property this will also be accepted in some cases.
- Proof of funds. You must show proof that you will have access to at least $750 for every month during your internship in the USA. This can be in the form of original bank statements and/or a Guarantor’s letter. You must submit your proof of funds with your application and at your US Embassy interview.
- Be prepared to leave the US 30 days after completion. These days can only be used for the departure and for traveling.
- The estimated cost of the sponsored J-1 visa is 1,135 USD. Please note that this could vary slightly depending on your specific embassy or consulate’s fee.
- You will also need to purchase insurance.
Current Volunteer Opportunities in San Francisco
No intern or EIR opportunities available at this time. Please check back periodically.