Central Michigan University (CMU) is excited to announce a life-changing study abroad program at the place where dreams come true. To participate in the Academic Exchange Program, your academic institution must have an exchange partnership with Central Michigan University.
Through the CMU Department of Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services, the Center for Leisure Services is offering an exciting program for international undergraduate students that will combine academics and a paid training experience at the Walt Disney World® Resort. As a cast member you will gain valuable training and experience that will increase your skills while completing academic requirements for CMU.
Please contact your international academic institution to see if they have an exchange partnership with Central Michigan University for this program.
To participate in the Academic Exchange Program, you must be:
- Able to speak fluent English
- At least 18 years of age at time of application submission
- Currently enrolled and in good academic standing at a participating international college or university
- Engaged in an appropriate course of study
- Able to exit the United States and return home upon completion of the program
The Program is a best fit for undergraduate students who are studying Tourism, Leisure, Hospitality, Business, Communications, Marketing, Management and/or Sports and Recreation.
CMU has more than 35 years of experience sending its own students to Walt Disney World® Resort as well as providing credit to students from more than 200 other U.S. universities and colleges while participating in the Disney College Program.
Students enroll with Central Michigan University and go directly to the Walt Disney World® Resort to participate in the J1 Academic Exchange Experience. The experience is designed for you to earn a certificate for 12 or 24 academic credit hours over a 6 or 12-month program.
There are three major components to this exchange experience...
Students will be engaged in a variety of educational opportunities provided by both CMU and Disney. In many cases, students can choose the kind of seminars or workshops to attend that interest them the most. Upon successful completion of the semester, students receive a certificate and transcript (available upon request) from CMU indicating grade and academic credit earned. It is up to the international school to validate the credit earned from CMU as transfer credit.
Students live in fully-furnished apartments with 24-hour security located near the Walt Disney World® Resort property. A bus system provides students with transportation to work, educational seminars, grocery stores/shopping and social activities. A housing fee is payroll-deducted from the student's earnings each week. The housing fee includes utilities, high speed internet, local phone service, and transportation.
Students are placed in entry-level positions at one of the four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs or over twenty resort hotels that are part of the Walt Disney World® Resort. Students will be scheduled between 30 and 37.5 hours per week at an hourly rate (depending on the role).
The cost to participate in the J-1 Academic Exchange Program through Central Michigan University (CMU) is approximately:
- $2,300-$2,400 USD - One semester program (6 months)
- $4,400 USD - Two semester program (12 months) for those students that have a 12-month requirement.
Future costs subject to change.
Students will be enrolled for 12 semester credits as a full-time student at CMU for each semester that they are on the program. Payment is expected to be made online prior to arrival. Payment needs to be in US currency and can be made by credit card, wire transfer, or with an electronic check from a US bank. (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express are suitable. MaestroCard and ScotiaBank cards DO NOT WORK. If a credit card is used, the student will be responsible for the credit card fee.)
Other Fees & Charges
(these payments are made to other service providers in U.S. dollars)
NOTE: All fees below are approximate amounts and subject to change.
Visa appointment fee||
Costs vary by country, approximately $190|
SEVIS Fee (government fee)||
Airfare to and From U.S.||
Student responsibility, varies by country|
Disney Program Participant Fee||
Housing deduction (rent)||
$115 - 205 per week|
Health Insurance (meets U.S. requirements)||
$300 - 400 per 6 months|
Students are scheduled to work a minimum of 30 hours per week and a maximum of 37.5 hours per week. There are exception periods where students could be scheduled to work more than 37.5 hours for the week during holiday periods.
Director, Center for Leisure Services
Department of Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services Administration