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USA | Professional internships | J1

San Francisco guide: Where to do your J1, Grad visa or US internship

Liberal, diverse and innovative: the opportunities are golden in this famous city with the bridge.

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From the counterculture legacy of Haight-Ashbury, to the fog-bound Golden Gate Bridge, and culinary playgrounds of the Bay, Mission and Chinatown – San Francisco has a sophistication and free-thinking spirit that puts it firmly on the map for J1 and Grad USA participants. Plus, it has some of the best technology and green energy jobs in America. And an enviable work-life balance –with nearby surfing in Outer Sunset and Ocean Beach, road trips along the Pacific Coastal Highway, and outdoor adventures to Yosemite National Park.

Why San Francisco?

The ghosts of railway tycoons and millionaires linger atop Nob Hill, while trawlermen continue to ply their trade at Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, and San Franciscans proudly wave their rainbow flags in the Castro. Chinatown, the largest Chinese community outside of Asia, is just one aspect of the city's vibrant multicultural heritage. Walking around the candy-coloured townhouses of Telegraph Hill or bar-hopping in beatnik North Beach – you'll never run out of fun things to do or strange people to meet. But it's not all hippies and renegades. The wider Bay Area is home to Silicon Valley, the technology capital of the world, making San Francisco an ideal place to use 1-year Grad USA visa to intern in technology, engineering, computer programming or product design.

Where to live

San Francisco is renowned for its often-chilly summer fog, eclectic mix of Victorian and modern architecture, and its peninsular location surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. Famously multicultural with a proudly immigrant and diverse population, you're spoiled for choice for cool neighbourhoods – with restaurants, arts venues and public spaces everywhere. The Mission is home to a young, stylish population, while the Marina has great nightlife. SoMa (South of Market) is a favourite location for creative start-ups, while Lower Pacific Heights, Russian Hill and the area around Golden Gate Park are great spots too. Some J1 employers will include subsidised accommodation, but if not – check out, and

J1 jobs San Francisco

Previous UIST J1-ers in San Francisco have worked as water sports instructors, retail associates, ice cream servers, and customer service representatives. Average salaries for 2023 in San Francisco ranged from USD $17-$20/hour. Often including perks such as tips, employee discounts, end of contract bonus, staff meals and company outings. Each year, we have 1,000+ J1 jobs with our tried-and-trusted US employers across America. Book onto J1 early and select ‘USIT Job’ for access to our online Job Hub where you can search, apply and get hired.

Where to work or intern

San Francisco is best known as a hub of technology, so you'll be perfectly placed to build your career in IT, multimedia, computer programming or research and development. Past USIT participants have used their 1-year Graduate visa, Professional Training or Internship USA visa to work in design, marketing, biomedical development, advertising and the arts. Hospitality is big too – San Francisco is, after all, one of the most visited cities in the US. With its Gold Rush roots, it's no surprise that finance remains a major industry, with multiple global banks headquartered here. San Francisco is bursting with creative and entrepreneurial individuals, so working here adds a definite flair and sophistication to your CV.


The climate in San Francisco is typical of northern California and remains significantly cooler than southern parts of the state. The climate is strongly influenced by the cool currents of the Pacific Ocean, which tends to moderate temperature swings and produce a remarkably mild climate with little seasonal temperature variation Mild, with frequent fog enveloping the city, you can expect temperatures of about 21°C in summer and 14°C in winter. Dress in layers.

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USIT Staff

Our content is shaped by our community. If you also have a way with words and a travel tale to tell, DM us about writing for USIT.

“San Francisco is a city that has flowers in its hair and technology at its fingertips. Open-minded and open-hearted, it’s an amazing place to live and work.”

USIT Staff Blog Image.png


USIT Staff

Our content is shaped by our community. If you also have a way with words and a travel tale to tell, DM us about writing for USIT.

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