Seasonal service jobs in tourist beach towns, theme parks and ski areas are common and often easy to get, if low-paying.
If you are a foreigner in the USA with a standard non-immigrant visitors visa, you are expressly forbidden to take paid work in the USA and will be deported if you’re caught working illegally. In addition, employers are required to establish the bona fides of their employees or face fines. In particular, South Florida is notorious for large numbers of foreigners working illegally, and immigration officers are vigilant.
To work legally, foreigners need to apply for a work visa before leaving home. Student exchange visitors need a J1 visa, which exchange organizations will help arrange.
For nonstudent jobs, temporary or permanent, you need to be sponsored by a US employer (who will arrange a H-category visa). These are not easy to obtain.
American Institute for Foreign Study (www.aifs.com) Good resource for tracking down study-abroad programs.
Camp America (www.campamerica.co.uk) Offers opportunities to work in a youth summer camp.
Council on International Educational Exchange (www.ciee.org) CIEE has a wide range of programs including internships, study-abroad programs, work-travel combos and work-exchange programs.
InterExchange (www.interexchange.org) Camp and au-pair programs.