When you’re studying abroad, you may find that a part-time job can really help pay a few extra bills or fund leisure activities and travel that would have otherwise been outside of your budget. If you’ve been thinking of working whilst studying abroad, you’re not alone as many international students seek employment during their studies. When searching for a suitable job, it’s important to take several things into account, such as the laws in your country of study. Different countries have different regulations when it comes to work available to international students, so it’s important to check them before applying for jobs. Another important thing you should take into account are your studies and lifestyle – A job should never interrupt your studies.
A good job for international students should:
Fit a student’s lifestyle (part-time jobs that leave enough time for your course and studying or provide flexible working hours).
Enable a student to develop stronger language skills (very important for international students who are not native speakers).
Help a student integrate quickly into a new culture and meet new friends.
Ideally, offer some good work experience and open future opportunities.
It’s worth noting that for student visa purposes part-time work in your destination country cannot be included in your ‘proof of funds’.
You may already have an idea of what you want to do, but if not, we’ve put together a list of some of the best part-time jobs for international students.
Working on campus is one of the most popular options for international students. In some countries, such as the USA, this is the only work available to international students. There are many different jobs offered on campus though, from working in the cafeteria, to computer centres. Another on-campus opportunity is working for a students’ union. This is a good opportunity to get involved in current issues and to help other students at the university. Depending on the union and their mission, you might be able to help other international students and make their experiences at the university better.
As an international student, working on campus will help you meet new people, improve your language skills and give you some valuable experience. You will probably spend more time with your friends from the university since many students work on campus.
One downside to working on your campus is that paid work at the university is usually very competitive. There are many international and domestic students who wish to work part-time during their studies, so it’s important to get ready for the interview and to show enthusiasm even if the type of work is not particularly exciting.
There are many jobs offered at the bars, restaurants and cafes in the surrounding towns and cities, and this might be the easiest way for you to find employment. Restaurants are always looking for more help, so chances are that you will be able to find a job relatively easily. You could work as a waiter, bar staff or even in the kitchen, depending on your experience and skills.
This type of job may require good communication skills but there are often no formal requirements when it comes to past work experience. It means you will probably be able to find a job at a restaurant, which might be an excellent opportunity for an international student. This job opportunity will help you build your people skills, improve language and meet new friends.
The biggest drawback to working at a restaurant are the hours of activity because most restaurant work is based around the evenings. This can be very exhausting, especially if you have a lot of early morning lectures/seminars as part of your course. Sometimes, night shifts may interrupt your studies. This is something you should think about when considering employment at a bar or a restaurant.
Some international students find employment at call centres. This is a good choice for those who are communicative, friendly and wish to develop their language skills. Unlike many other part-time job opportunities for international students, call centre jobs can be well paid. This is important if you seek a job that can significantly contribute to your budget. Also, call centre jobs are not physically demanding, so they are a good choice if you prefer or need an office environment.
On the other hand, working at a call centre can be demanding. You need to possess excellent communication skills and above average language skills. The difficulty of call centre positions varies dramatically, for example telesales positions are amongst the most difficult and pressured opportunities but they often bring commission with each sale, further boosting your income. Working at a customer support centre instead requires excellent knowledge of the products, services and the company you work for.
It may be possible for you to find an internship with a company relevant to your field of study. Being an intern gives you some much-needed experience and it opens numerous opportunities. Depending on the country and your field of study, it may even be possible for you to be hired by the company once you complete your studies. In any case, an internship will give you a lot of experience relevant for your field of study, so you can see it both as a job opportunity and gaining some valuable experience in your field. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible for you to receive payment for your internship.
You must keep in mind that entry-level jobs and internship often mean performing mundane tasks. Expect to bring coffees and perform other simple tasks nobody else in the company wants to do, however this varies depending on the sector/field you are going into. You could find this demoralising, however even if you don’t get to practice your craft or do much work related to your studies, you will be able to watch experts in your field at work and learn from them. For these reasons, being an intern is a very exciting job opportunity for international students.
There are numerous volunteering opportunities international students can use to gain experience and meet new people. Being a volunteer is one of the more rewarding and interesting work opportunities and one of the biggest advantages of volunteering is the wide range of positions available. There is more varied work available for volunteers, so chances are that you will be able to choose a role you truly like. There are lots of companies and organisations looking for volunteers, so this is a great way for international students to get involved and gain some much-needed experience. Volunteering also opens up a host of opportunities for international students and it gives you both a work experience and a more varied CV.
The main problem with a volunteering job is that these positions are not paid. Therefore, this work opportunity can’t help you pay for additional social activities or save some money. For these reasons, volunteering is a good choice for those who don’t have to work to support themselves or for those international students who can combine volunteering with a paid job.
This list isn’t exhaustive though, so don’t be put off if you find a different job opportunity when you’re studying abroad. To make the most of studying abroad you should open minded to the opportunities and experiences presented to you as many of these will not be available to your peers who have chosen to stay at home to study.
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