Learn more about the MAST program experience and what to expect. Remember, every participant's training placement and program experience is unique. If your application is accepted by MAST, you will receive specific details for your placement.
Trainees who will be in the U.S. for longer than 4 months attend a two-day in-person orientation in Minnesota soon after their arrival. Orientations are offered most months of the year. Participants are met at the airport, provided housing and meals, and assisted in coordinating their travel to the training site.
Trainees who will be in the U.S. for less than 4 months receive a comprehensive online orientation. In the orientation, MAST provides information about their visa status, health and safety, cultural adjustment, program support, and more.
The MAST International staff have extensive international experience and training and we’re here to support you through your training experience. While you are in the USA, we track you progress, conduct site visits, and are always available for questions or concerns.
Costs & Fees
The training/internship fee is based on the length of practical experience and can range from $600 - $1,200. You must pay $600 at the time of your arrival in the USA and the remainder of your program fee will be parceled into payments due during your first few months in the U.S.
|Months of Training||Program Fee|
|1 to 4 months||$600|
|10 to 12 months||$1,200|
|12 to 18 months*||$1,500|
*very few trainees qualify for 12 to 18 month placements
- A customized training plan and placement at a U.S. business
- J-1 visa sponsorship and U.S. Embassy assistance
- Social security application assistance
- Pre-departure packet and participant handbook
- Access to MAST staff throughout your program
- 24-hour emergency support
- If attending in person orientation: airport pick-up, accommodation, t-shirt and most meals when attending orientation
- If attending in person orientation: transportation coordination to your placement site and up $150 travel cost paid by your host trainer
By law, all J-1 visa holders are required to have health insurance while in the U.S. MAST International offers two insurance policies and the cost ranges from $65-$87 per month. Participants can bring their own insurance but it must meet certain requirements. MAST participants receive guidance for purchasing health insurance before they arrive in the USA.
Study Program Fee
The MAST study program fee is $1,500. In addition, students are required to pay for food and housing, transportation, course materials, and health insurance. This is a reduced tuition rate, which makes the study program a great and affordable opportunity for MAST students!
Country Partner Fees
If you apply to the MAST program through one of our country partners, they may charge a fee for their services. County partners assist during the application and visa process.
Visa & Travel Expenses
After you receive a training placement, MAST will provide you with instructions and the necessary documents to apply for a J-1 visa. You will be required to pay for your visa application, your travel to the U.S., and your return trip to your home country.
During your internship, your host trainer will teach you primarily through the day-to-day work activities at their operation. Practical training in agriculture is hard work but this is how you will develop your skills! Each training site is unique and the amount of responsibility given to the trainee often depends on their skills and English ability.
MAST’s host trainers are screened, interviewed, and evaluated to ensure participants have a high-quality experience. Most host trainers have been a part of the MAST program for at least several years.
Internship placements are located throughout the USA. Farm placements are often in rural areas; other placement types are in a variety of locations.
Hours of Training
Participants typically work at least 40 hours per week and sometimes more; participants are guaranteed at least 32 hours of work per week. A short growing season and unpredictable weather often mean participants work long hours during peak periods, such as planting or harvest.
Each living situation is different. Some participants may live on the training site, while others live on their own. Host trainers assist in finding living arrangements that are a reasonable cost near the training site. Some trainees eat meals with their host families and some are responsible for some or all of their meals. Applicants indicate living preferences on the application but these choices cannot be guaranteed.
Trainees and interns are paid at or above the national minimum wage and are paid directly by the host trainer. Currently, MAST’s minimum wage is $8.25. If housing or food is provided by the host trainer, these costs may be deducted from your pay.
Time Off & Vacations
Trainees and interns receive a minimum of one day off each week. Time off is unpaid and may be scheduled by the host trainer as one day per week or two days every other week. Exceptions will occur during peak periods when participants are expected to be flexible about arranging their time off.
For training that is longer than 4 months, trainees and interns can make arrangements with their host trainer to take a week or two off for vacation. Vacation time is unpaid and the amount of vacation time allowed depends upon the length of the training program. Timing of the vacation must be approved by the host trainer and may not be taken during peak work periods. In addition, participants have a 30-day grace period following their program to prepare for departure from the U.S. Often participants will travel around the USA during this time.
While you are in the U.S., you should take advantage of the opportunity to experience and learn about American culture! Your host trainer should suggest activities or events in your local community, but it’s also a good idea to seek out the opportunities that you enjoy.
Many trainees and interns want to improve their English while they are in the U.S. The best way to do that is through practice! Always talk to you host trainer, roommates, and other contacts in English. If you’re looking for more learning opportunities, ask your host trainer if there are any English classes offered in your local community.
The U.S. is a big country – go out and explore! Travel is a big part of the MAST experience for many trainees and interns. Whether you want to check out the small towns in your area, travel to big cities like New York and L.A., or check out some of our awesome national parks like Yellowstone, there are a lot of options for you.
MAST Study Program
This is a unique opportunity to take a semester of courses in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota. The MAST study program is an optional add-on after you've completed your practical training. In addition to the many classes that are available, MAST trainees also improve their English, meet American students, and explore the Twin Cities while studying.
Which semester you participate in depends upon the timing of your practical training. If you are interested in studying, be sure to select “I want to study” on your MAST application. The fall semester is from September – December and the spring semester is from January – May.
MAST students can take courses in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Courses are offered in Agronomy and Plant Genetics, Animal Science, Applied Economics, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, Entomology, Environmental Sciences, Food Sciences and Nutrition, Forest Resources, Horticultural Science, Plant Pathology, and Soil Water and Climate.
MAST International also offers courses in English, Farm and Business Management, and Journalism/Yearbook.
- The MAST study program fee is $1,500. In addition, students are required to pay for food and housing, transportation, course materials, and health insurance. This is a reduced tuition rate, which makes the study program a great and affordable opportunity for MAST students!