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Should students work part-time while studying?

Should you have a part-time job when you're studying at university? What are the benefits? What about the disadvantages? We answer these questions and offer top tips and advice.

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Being a student at university isn’t cheap, but being an international student has even more costs involved. Add to this the increasing cost of living around the world, and finding part time work while studying at university may feel like your only option. You may need to work to cover daily expenses, pay tuition fees, other academic fees, or just to have some extra spending money. 


Whatever your reasons, deciding to work part-time while doing your degree is a major decision and one that can benefit you in many ways (and not just by giving you more money in your pocket). There are also, however, some disadvantages which you should be aware of before sending off your cv/resume. 


What are the benefits of working part-time while at university?


Here are the reasons why having a part-time job at university will benefit it you both in the short and long-term:


  • more money (obviously)

  • work experience for your cv/resume

  • make new friends

  • learn time management skills

  • more self-confidence

  • more independence

  • more motivated

  • opportunity to network

  • opportunity to put what you’re learning into practice 

  • gain experience in the field you’re studying

  • language practice

  • greater understanding of work culture.


In  addition you’ll be developing in-demand skills that future employers want in their graduates. These are:




What are the disadvantages of working part-time?


Before deciding that part-time work is definitely for you, you need to take into account the problems involved. Here are the main areas for you to think about:


  • takes up study time

  • unsociable working hours

  • no time off for exams or assignments

  • may increase stress levels

  • tiredness

  • FOMO - missing out on social events and time with friends.


What are the best part-time jobs for university students?


You’ll ideally need to find a job that works around your lectures and study time. Most of your classes and exams will be during the day, so you’ll need to find work that fits in around your main priority which is your course and your future career. 


The kinds of jobs that best fits into a university student’s life are things like:


  • university ambassador

  • cafe/restaurant/bar/ hotel work

  • shop assistant

  • cleaner

  • driver

  • tutor

  • teaching assistant

  • translator

  • dog walker/pet sitter

  • research assistant (for post-graduate students)

  • admin assistant

  • data entry 


The pay for these jobs varies from country to country and city to city. 


You can find information on part-time jobs from university websites and student services and also recruitment websites such as: Seek in Australia, Indeed Canada, USA and Student jobs in the UK. 


Visa requirements


One of the most important things you need to take into account are student visa requirements. Some destinations allow international students to work more hours than others. It’s important that you follow the conditions of your student visa very carefully.


Here’s a quick overview:

Top study destination How many hours does your student visa allow you to work?
Australia Unlimited until June 2023
New Zealand 20 hours per week
UK 20 hours per week
Ireland 20 hours per week
Canada Depends on your study visa
USA On-campus only - depends on study visa

For more information on student visas in the top study destinations see below:



New Zealand







Top tips for working part-time while studying


This video offers lots of good tips and advice on how to balance your studies with working part-time:



  • Communicate with your employer.

  • Prioritise your studies.

  • Use your free time wisely.

  • Make sure you still have time for you!


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