Many international students rely on part-time work while they study. It might pay for your cost of living abroad and all those travel adventures, or you may want to send some money home to your family.
But how do you find the right part-time job as an international student? Read our guide to part-time work abroad, and find out!
What kind of job can I do?
This will come down to your student visa and your language ability, rather than your course and skills. So check your visa restrictions first. If you are on a standard student visa to Australia or New Zealand, you can usually work up to 20 hours per week during term time and full-time during the holidays. If you are studying an postgraduate course and married or have a partner, you partner can work full time otherwise similar to you.
In the USA you are restricted to on-campus work for up to 20 hours per week. This could mean working in the college administration office, cafeteria, shops, or within a faculty.
You may be studying a PhD, but you most probably won’t be able to get part-time work in your chosen field. That’s fine – no matter what you end up doing, it will add to your CV experience and understanding of the workplace culture abroad.
International students are often found working as…
- Waiters and bar staff
- Retail staff
- Warehouse staff
- Call centre phone operators
- Data entry staff
- Security Officer
- Car Park staff
- Language teachers
These are all jobs that offer flexible part-time shifts, so you can take on more work as time and coursework allows. Make sure you feel confident in your local language ability before applying for a job that requires you to talk a lot on the phone or face to face – such as a market researcher!
How do I find a job?
You won’t be able to start looking until you’ve arrived and settled in – most employers will want to meet you in person.
Start with your university’s job centre or employment office. As well as current listings of local jobs, they can help you write your CV and job application, prepare for an interview, and be ready for differences in work practices.
Some countries have government-run job centres as well. Local newspapers are also a great source of convenient part-time work.
How much will I be paid?
Make sure you understand exactly what your terms of work are before you start. Most countries have a minimum wage that all employers must stick to, even if you’re a casual part-time shift worker. In the Australia this is currently A$14.31 per hour and in the US it’s US$7.25.
You may be paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly, and usually as a direct deposit into your bank account. You will pay tax out of your salary, and you should register for a local tax number (called a a Tax File Number in Australia) as soon as you are offered a job. You may be eligible for a tax return when you leave after your studies.
What about voluntary work?
Even though you might not be paid, it’s still worth taking on voluntary work for a non-profit organisation, or a short-term work experience placement. You will learn valuable work skills. Just check that it’s not a job that a local citizen would be paid to do – don’t take the risk of being exploited.
But how will I fit it all in?
It’s important to think about your course workload before you take on part-time work. If you have a lot of contact hours and a heavy commitment to group work, you may not want to take on work that will cause you extra stress.
But some jobs can add an entirely new dimension to your student life. You’ll meet new friends, learn new skills and discover your own hidden talents. It could be the highlight of your study abroad experience.