Working whilst studying may sound difficult to manage but the benefits of doing so dramatically outweigh the effort of organizing it. Let’s discuss the benefits of part-time work and provide an overview of the regulations in each country.
Your part-time employment options will vary depending on your chosen study abroad country, your previous work experience and skill set and the subject area you are looking to study. In almost all cases your study abroad course will need to be full-time to allow you to work alongside studying.
Three main reasons why you should consider part-time work during your studies:
1. Earn extra income to help with living costs.
Studying abroad can be expensive and the extra money you can earn from a few hours of work each week can give you the money you need to travel more or experience more social events. You will need to prove you have available funds for studying abroad in order to get a Student Visa so you cannot study abroad with the intention of working during your time overseas to pay for the course.
2. Gain relevant work experience.
Part-time work isn’t limited to the stereotypical customer service roles in coffee supermarkets, whilst these have a value to students as an income source they do not add any real value to a graduate’s resume/CV when applying for positions at a professional level.
Many employment opportunities could exist within the field of your subject area, for example within the sciences you may find positions as a laboratory technician in a research lab. This kind of part-time employment could be unpaid and the application process will be very competitive, this is due to the high value it will have on your resume/CV when you return home and should not be taken as a deterrent for following this path. Along with the relevant experience you will also be surrounded by academics and professionals in your field, networking with these people can open up opportunities for further employment or research projects in the future.
3. Improve your language skills.
To master any second language relies on regular use of what you have been learning. Whilst you are studying abroad you will be placed in many situations, both socially and within your education, where you can develop your language skills. However, the use of a language for social purposes is not the same as using a language in business situations.
Using the language of your study abroad country during your part-time work will develop your skills faster and more comprehensively, you will frequently be using words and phrases that are important in industry but not in social environments. The language benefits of working whilst studying abroad are possibly the most valuable point to emphasis on your resume/CV when you finish your time abroad.
Part-Time Work Regulations in Different Countries
The rules and regulations vary from country to country and could change at any time. It is worth checking the status quo with your sponsor institution and the embassy before departing. A quick overview of the rules in each destination are covered below:
The UK and Ireland have similar rules about working whilst studying as an international student. In these countries you are allowed to work 20 hours a week during your term/semester and 40 hours per week in the holidays.
In the USA you can work for up to 20 hours per week during the term/semester and up to 40 hours a week during holiday periods. You are restricted to work “On-campus”, although this term can be misleading as it doesn’t necessarily mean within the confines of the Universities buildings, if your employer is educationally related to the institution then this work can be permissible.
In Australia as with those regions already mentioned you are limited to working 20 hours part-time each week whilst your course is running, outside of this period you are allowed to work as many hours as you wish.
In Canada, if you are an international student with full-time registration status and a valid study permit, you are eligible to work in Canada, with some conditions. You can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year (either on- or off-campus). During university-sanctioned breaks (such as Winter or Summer holidays, and Reading Week) you may work full time (up to 40 hours per week).
If you are taking a full-time course load during the summer semester, you are only allowed to work up to 20 hours per week. Students who take a part-time summer course load or no summer courses at all, can work up to 40 hours per week.
Studying abroad should be an enjoyable, life-changing experience so be aware of maintaining a good study/work/social life balance. For example, if eight hours a day in a laboratory followed by four hours of part-time work every day prevents you from making friends and experiencing the country you have chosen to study in it may be worthwhile reducing your part-time work commitments.
Caution: It is your responsibility as an international student to ensure you are not working illegally, failure to follow the allowances of your chosen country (for example by working more hours than you are permitted) could see your Visa being withdrawn and you would be deported without the qualification you were trying to achieve.