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Academic Exchange Program - 12-Month Placement

Applications for the Disney Academic Exchange Program for the academic year 2018 - 2019 are open! Applications will close on Wednesday 20 December 2017 at 23:59pm (U.K Time)

The Academic Exchange Program is a truly unique experience, which sees students spend 6 or 12-months working and learning at the Walt Disney World® Resort during their undergraduate placement year. This program has been designed by Central Michigan University, U.S. to provide students with an international experiential learning opportunity, coupled with an academic training experience at Walt Disney World® Resort, Orlando, Florida.

As part of your academic training, you will work in roles such as Attractions and Operations, Quick Service/Full Service Food and Beverage, Lifeguarding, Character Performer, Character Attendant, Costuming, Culinary or Merchandise. Participants in Merchandise, Operations or Food and Beverage will have the opportunity to rotate between two of these roles during their program.

As a participant on this program, you really will develop a set of transferable skills which will aid any career; guest service, effective communication, teamwork, leadership and responsibility to name a few! On top of this, you will have the opportunity to interact and share your culture with Guests from the United States and all over the world, learn important business philosophies and make lifelong friends.

See what a "Day in the Life" on the Academic Exchange Program is like. Check out Mengying's video!

On this experience, you will work at the Walt Disney World® Resort on a J-1 Student Exchange Visa. The Academic Exchange Program runs from July - July each year (6-month program for students from The Netherlands and Canada), with an additional 30-day travel period upon completion of the program. This is at maximum a 12-month experience, and candidates must exit the United States and return to their home country and university at the end of the program.

For more information about the Academic Exchange Program, visit the Disney International Programs website.

The best part about the Academic Exchange Program is the learning experience. On this program you will be registered as a student at Central Michigan Univeristy for the academic year, and will gain credit and certificates upon completion of the program in recognition for your academic efforts. Credits may be transferred to your home university (dependant upon home university and individual course requirements).

The learning experience exposes participants to educational classes instructed Disney professionals, who will each pass over their expertise and knowledge on a range of subject areas. This invaluable and sought after experience will be beneficial towards any future career after graduation.

The program structure sees two semester periods. As part of the program requirement, you will be required to enroll into unique learning opportunities during each of these semesters, through Central Michigan University and the Disney Education team. You will have the option to enroll into classes such as HR Management, Organisational Leadership, Creativity and Innovation, Disney Leadership, Advanced studies in Hospitality Management, Disney Marketing and Disney Heritage. These courses are designed to compliment your current studies at your home univeristy. 

The Disney and Central Michigan University learning opportunities will be taught through a variety of methods. These include:

  • Academic Classes or Seminar Series hosted at Walt Disney World® Resort
  • On-line clasess
  • Directed studies
  • Supervised work integrated learning opportunities
  • Volunteer opportunities

Hear what previous Disney Academic Exchange Program participants have to say about the learning experience during their program:

Stay connected! Explore the Disney International Programs social networks and enjoy videos that provide a behind the scene look into all the Disney wonder.  Connect with Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and the Disney Internatinonal Programs Blog.

  • Disney International Programs Facebook 
  • Disney International Programs Twittter
  • Disney International Programs Youtube
  • Disney International Programs Blog

In order to qualify for the Academic Exchange Program participants must be currently studying at one of the following partner universities:

  • University of Brighton
  • University of Chester
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Derby
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • Manchester Metropolitan Univeristy
  • Northumbria University
  • University of Portsmouth
  • Robert Gordon University
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • NHTV University of Applied Sciences Breda, The Netherlands
  • Fontys Academy, Tilburg, The Netherlands
  • St Clair College, Canada

In order to qualify for the Academic Exchange Program participants must also be studying one of the following subject areas, and seeking a 12-month placement opportunity for the academic year 2018-2019:

  • Tourism and Hospitality
  • Events
  • Business and Marketing
  • Leisure Studies

Additional eligibility criteria:

  • Aged at least 18 years of age at the time of application
  • Possess a valid passport
  • Able to speak fluent English
  • Currently enrolled and in good academic standing at a participating international college or university
  • Able to exit the United States and return to your home university upon completion of the program

One of the most unique aspects of the Disney International Programs is just how international they really are. Every day, you'll have the experience of living and working with cast members from all over the world.

There are four Disney International Housing complexes you could be housed at, each featuring amenities including fitness centers, transportation systems, swimming pools and computer labs – providing an exciting setting for you to build relationships and create lifelong memories. You can also participate in cast member events and scheduled activities in the housing complexes throughout your program. During your personal time, you'll even have the opportunity to visit Disney parks and explore everything that Orlando, Florida has to offer.

Whether you're assigned to a one, two, three or four-bedroom apartment, you'll share a bedroom with one or two Disney International Programs participants. Often, your roommate(s) will be from another country, allowing you to learn about other cultures as you share your own and make lifelong friends.

In order to make the living experience more convenient for you, housing costs are automatically deducted from participants' weekly paycheck. Participants will also help support the exclusive activities and events they'll get to attend throughout the program by contributing a one-time fee of $225.00 USD at the time of offer.


Application Dates

  • Applications for the Academic Exchange Program for the academic year 2018 - 2019 are now open. Applications will close on Wednesday 20 December 2017 at 23:59pm (U.K Time).
  • Applicants are required to be available for the full program dates in order to be considered. The program dates for 2018-2019 have been confirmed as:
    • Monday 9 July 2018 - Thursday 4 July 2019

Interviewing Process

  • Successful candidates will be invited to a pre-screen phone interview with a member of the Yummy Jobs Team during December 2017
  • If successful, candidates will then be invited to a final interview with the Disney International Recruitment Team via Video Call. This will take place January 2018

Participants on the Academic Exchange Program will be required to submit the following fees, that have been broken down into pre-arrival and post-arrival.  Please note all fees are subject to change and may change without notice:

Academic Tuition Fees - Payable to U.S. University Partner

  • 6-month program $2380.00 USD$350.00 USD payment required at time of acceptance - deducted from total amount
  • 12-month program $4360.00 USD - $350.00 USD payment required at time of acceptance - deducted from total amount

Pre-Arrival Fees

  • Criminal Background Check Fee  = £85.00 GBP
  • Disney Program Assessment Fee = $355.00 USD (includes first week of rent)
  • U.S. Embassy Appointment Fee $160.00 USD
  • U.S. SEVIS Fee = $180.00 USD
  • Courier delivery of passport = Free to £30.00 GBP
  • Flight to the United States = Varies
  • Medical Insurance = $50.00 USD to $80.00 USD per month (approximately) - must be paid in one lump sum prior to arrival for the duration of your program dates.

Post-Arrival Fees

  • Weekly Accommodation Costs - $103.00 - $134.00 USD (automatic payroll deduction)
  • Additional supporting funds between $350.00 - $750.00 USD are recommended

Please note all fees are subject to change and may change without notice

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Program info

Program Terms & Conditions


PROGRAM DATES: July 9 2018 - July 4 2019

PROGRAM DURATION: 12 months + 30-day travel period

ROLES AVAILABLE: Food and Beverage, Merchandise, Attractions, Lifeguarding, Character Performer, Character Attendant, Custodial, Costuming, Resort Services, Recreation

WAGE: $10.00 USD per hour

HOURS: Minimum of 32 hours per week / Average 38 - 45 hours per week

HOUSING: Participants will live in Disney International Housing - $103.00 USD - $134.00 USD rent per week

HIGHLIGHTS: Free entry into the Walt Disney World® theme parks, company discounts, sought after unique academic/work experience, opportunity to be enrolled into a U.S University, a year spent at the most magical place on Earth!