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How to find part-time jobs while studying abroad

Are you looking for part-time jobs to fund your studies abroad? This article gives you useful instructions on how to find part-time work while studying abroad.

Kavitha Vijeyavelan

Give yourself some time to settle into your Uni life. We advise you to take around 3 to 4 months before you start working part-time. You must take this time to understand the demands of your course.

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We know you must be feeling satisfied that after having spent a whole lot of your time and energy, you’ve finally got almost everything covered on your study-abroad-to-do list. 

  • Big dreams to study abroad – check.
  • Prep, apply and get offer letter from dream Uni – check.
  • Landing in your study destination – check.

The only pending item that you need to focus on starting now, as the first semester kicks off is — part-time work.

You may already have a few cousins and friends who have done all of this and have gotten all the insider info from them that you possibly could, on where and how to land a part-time job.

Or you’re probably clueless and don’t know where to start (most likely the case – the only job you have ever done so far must be “studies”). That’s quite natural — with the expression on your face, we can tell that a few hundred questions are racing through your mind at this instant. Not to worry though — you are at the right place looking for answers. So here we are to school you on the topic…

The Why’s!

Before you think about applying for a part-time job, you might want to know why it could work to your advantage to have one, alongside your studies. Here are a few why’s…

  • Part-time work can help you go a long way in paying a few extra bills or funding some other activity that exceeds your student budget. You can start paying back your student loan earlier and have less financial burden post graduation.
  • You can develop stronger language skills during the process of working part-time.
  • You will integrate yourself into a foreign culture more easily.
  • You can add this as experience in your resume to impress your future employer. (Score!)
  • On a less serious note, you will socialise and make new friends.
  • You can travel or pursue a few leisure activities with the money you make. After all, all work and no play make Jack a dull boy, doesn’t it?

Reason enough to get you started with your part-time work hunt? We thought so.

The What’s!

Before you start looking out for a job, get to know the rules and regulations and of course your rights as a part-time worker. The thumb rule is — check how many hours you are eligible to work part-time as an international student. Here are a few basic pointers we put together to help you out.

Your Global Working Hours!

  • In Australia, you will be able to work for up to 40 hours every two weeks, when your course is in session and while on vacation, any number of hours.
  • In Canada, once you have completed six months of studies, you can get a permit to work part-time, off-campus for up to 20 hours a week. During semester breaks you can work full-time.
  • The USA has very stringent rules about international students working. As an undergrad, you have no part-time options (OUCH!). If you are a grad student, only on campus part-time work is allowed in your first year. Starting with your second year though, you may work off-campus — if you’ve been granted permission by your Designated School Official (DSO). Your working hours could be up to 20 hours per week.
  • The UK will let you work for an average of 20 hours per week, during the semester, and full-time during the semester-break.
  • In Singapore, given that your Uni has been listed by the government, you can work part-time for up to 16 hours in a week.
  • As an international student in Malaysia, you can work for up to 20 hours per week during extended holidays (of more than seven days).

Your Rules and Rights

  1. Know all the rules and conditions that your student visa imposes on your part-time work. This also varies widely from country to country. In Australia, for example, voluntary work (unpaid) does not count towards your allotted working hours.
  2. Learn about your basic rights, which you should not be denied at work, such as your minimum wage; breaks and rest periods; safety of your work environment.
  3. Last and most important step for you: know where to look!

The When’s!

Leave your self some room to settle into Uni life. We advise you to take around three to four months before you start working part-time. You must take this needed time to understand your course requirements. And as you start looking, know that you may not get part-time work in your field of study.

The Where’s?

Here are a few places you should be eyeing for some good part-time work options.

  • Begin by looking right where you are — your Uni campus. On-campus job opportunities, in countries like the US, may be the only option available for international students. There will be many options including working in computer centres and cafeterias. Competition will be stiff though but you can take your pick if you manage to apply at the right time.
  • Cafes, restaurants, and bars in your surrounding cities and towns are probably the easiest and best options. Depending on your skills, you could find work as a bar staff, waiter, or even work in the kitchen. Work in restaurants may be, however, mostly based around the evenings and you may find yourself exhausted and dozing off at a morning lecture. Bars may require you to work night shifts, which could throw your study cycle all out of whack. So know what you are getting into and only apply to those that are suitable.
  • Got good communication skills? You could try looking out for part-time call centre openings. This job pays reasonably well; less demanding physically and gives you a cosy office environment to work in!
  • Try finding internship opportunities, relevant to your field of specialisation. Working as an intern could open up a world of opportunities for you as you can watch experts in action at work and learn much from them. On graduation, the company may even choose to hire you full-time. There is a possibility that you will receive payment for this on some cases.

And that’s not all – a few more options we found are…

  • The agricultural industry (for nature lovers, this could include farming and fruit picking)
  • Administration jobs
  • Tutoring jobs
  • The tourism industry (look for openings in hotels and motels)
  • The retail industry (this includes clothes stores, department stores, and supermarkets)

This is not an exhaustive list — there are many more countless options that you can take advantage of.

The How’s!

Did you think that the right time for your resume writing skills to kick in was after graduation? You couldn’t be more wrong; a strong resume matters even while helping you find your much needed part-time work as an international student. (Yes, indeed!)

Don’t fill up your resume with fluff; mention your skills, details of your education, and prior experience details – if any. Outline all your goals and use language that is sharp, crisp, and to the point.

Here are some extra tips to help you with your job hunting:

  • Next time, you are making a status update on Facebook, look and ask around for part-time jobs, join the right vacancy groups, and like relevant Uni pages to be posted on all their latest details. Social media sites could speed-up your search for you (times ten)!
  • Contact your Uni’s Careers Team and request for on-campus and off-campus part–time work options. That’s what they’re there for!
  • Run a regular check on newspapers’ job-listings.
  • Try browsing popular part-time job websites (such as Careers Group London, Student Jobs, and E4S — for the UK).

The Big Bucks!

We’d love to conclude with a round figure of what your salary could look like — but the salary of your job will depend on various factors such as the country you are working in, number of hours you work and the job profile you are in.

So, these are the part-time basics we thought you should know before you set out on your student mission. In all the excitement of having landed a perfect part-time job, don’t forget what your main focus should be on at ALL times — studying! Make sure you know how to juggle your work and your study well and get the study-work balance right.

Got a fairly clear idea on how to start and where to find one? If you have any more interesting pointers you’d like to share with us, feel free to drop us a line or two! We would love to hear from you.

Also feel free to contact us regarding any other questions you may have about studying abroad — we, at Hotcourses India, are here for you!

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