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STUDY ABROAD : Once you arrive - Must read

Top five jobs for students abroad

Being a student often means needing to earn some extra money. We explore some of the best part-time work options for international students and what's involved.

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Studying abroad and being a full-time student has many advantages. You’ll be fulfilling your academic ambitions, experiencing a new culture and hopefully getting fully involved in university life. Admittedly one of the other aspects of being a student is not always having that much disposable income available. Studying abroad can be expensive and so finding some extra money to support yourself could mean needing to find a student job. It’ll allow you to fund some experiences and adventures during your time at university and you may even save some money. Let’s explore some of the best options you could take up for work as a student.


Working as a tutor


One of the often-chosen paths for university students to shore up their bank accounts is to provide tutoring services to fellow students or scholars. Why not use your academic knowledge and abilities to earn some money? First and foremost, you’ll have to make sure that you know your stuff and are very familiar with the topic or subject area you intend to teach.


A general rule of thumb is to select areas that you feel confident in and try to specialise in just a few. Many parents are prepared to part with their hard-earned money to see their children’s grades improve in subjects like mathematics, English and science.


Being a tutor isn’t all plain sailing requiring great communication, organisational and interpersonal skills. You have to be comfortable working with and managing young people. Patience is essential.


You must develop a professional approach to your work as this inspires confidence and the possibility of repeat business. Being a tutor allows for flexibility and for you to choose your own hours with the added benefit of bolstering your CV. It could even help with a scholarship application.


Don’t forget that while being a personal tutor may not require you to have a professional qualification, if you want to offer the service in formal environments like schools and institutions you may need to have certification and approval. It’s best to check before undertaking or accepting any work.


So, what exactly is it that you’ll do as a tutor you ask? There are a few key areas:


  • Develop and implement a learning plan
  • Understand a particular curriculum
  • Create student goals and objectives
  • Assess progress
  • Organise and undertake learning sessions


Being a tutor also requires a bit of an entrepreneurial streak, skills which you can certainly develop while at university.


Working at your university


You may be surprised at how many work opportunities exist at universities. As a large organisation with schools, departments, facilities and support services universities are always on the lookout for students willing to take up certain jobs. While some options are more apparent than others, such as admin work or student support roles, there are other jobs you may not have considered.


If you have an affinity for and ability with IT, then you may be able to take up a role as an IT assistant, technician or computer lab manager. Students often require assistance and advice with IT-related issues, especially with the number of classes and modules being offered online.


Another role that you may find has variety and is interesting is that of a facilities assistant, helping with the maintenance, upkeep and management of infrastructure on campus.  Don’t forget the option of possibly working for the international office fielding enquiries and queries, leading tours and facilitating orientation programmes.


If interacting with other students regularly is something you would enjoy, there are usually a lot of hospitality-related jobs based on campus from catering and shops to the student union and bar work. You could fulfil a number of these service roles and work at campus events.


Some of the skills and attributes you will need to take up some of the roles at a university include:


  • Reliability
  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • Trustworthiness
  • Communication skills
  • Collaboration skills
  • Interpersonal skills


Remember to always be open to opportunities as they can lead you in exciting directions, such as these interesting and unusual careers for humanities graduates and unexpected careers for engineering graduates.   


Working as a student ambassador


If you are a natural in front of the camera, enjoy interacting with people and know your way around social media, then a role as a student ambassador could be the perfect fit. There are different types of student ambassadors, including those that represent a university, organisation or brand. Some may do all three if there are no conflicts of interests involved.


As a student ambassador, you could find yourself working in collaboration with a brand at a campus event or reviewing a product online. If you’re representing your university this may be attending conferences/events, regularly posting about university news and information, as well as communicating with prospective students about university offerings.


Sometimes if you have a scholarship or collaboration with a student-focused organisation you could work for them writing a blog about your experience, documenting your development and chatting to students and scholars looking to follow the same path as you.


What’s important to remember is that although being a student ambassador can appear lucrative, you need to ensure that you have a proper contract in place and have a good understanding of what’s expected of you. Don’t get involved with people or organisations who ask you to undertake work you are not comfortable with or offer incentives that avoid payment, such as goods or coupons.


The world has moved at such a pace that many novel jobs, like being a student ambassador, are being developed which provide new opportunities.



Finding temporary work


Outside of your university and the opportunities there, you can also explore the world of temporary work. Many companies, organisations and institutions are looking for people to fill roles on an interim or part-time basis.


This can be seasonal, for example, they may expect more business during summer and therefore require extra staff for a time. It can also be contract related, for example in the case of event marketing or brand activations, which have a distinct time frame. There is some flexibility available in temp work, but there are likely to be set times when you are expected to attend.


If you are interested in exploring temporary work options it is always advisable to chat to a career counsellor, either at your university or an agency to work out what skills and abilities you have that would suit particular roles. You don’t want to have a situation in which an employer expects professional qualifications while you are still studying. Some of the more common temporary roles that you may be able to take up:


  • Retail assistant
  • Admin assistant
  • Personal assistant
  • Secretary
  • Data capturer
  • Paid internship
  • Event host
  • Brand representative
  • Product marketer


While investigating working as a student it’s always good to keep an eye on the future and how the job you take may help you develop skills future employers want.


Working in hospitality


Admittedly things have changed quite considerably in 2020 for the hospitality sector with the advent of the global pandemic. The need for restrictions and social distancing guidance has meant that many of the more popular work for students such as being a waiter and bartending have become a little scarcer.


In destinations where cafes, bars and restaurants are operating you can pursue work in various capacities. You may have your eye on perfecting that perfect cup of coffee as a barista or prefer working out front as a waiter.


Despite this, there remain opportunities in the sector, particularly with the growth of online ordering and mobile shops.  You have the option of getting involved as a delivery rider or driver for mobile and online food services. Many people still like a takeaway meal and this can still be delivered safely to their home. Make sure to do your research on possible opportunities and speak to people in the sector before applying for anything.


Finding work as a student can be both an affirming and rewarding experience. Not only do you earn your own money, but you also start to develop independence and meet many new people. Now that you have a better understanding of what’s out there you may want to also think about what you’ll study and how this can relate to a career, how to match your personality to a degree and what university career services can offer you.


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