Work hard to play hard: five job ideas for students who are studying abroad

11 April 2019 | Advice for International Students | Guest Author

Your study abroad adventure is underway: you’ve been loving the local cuisine (there’s always a new restaurant to try!), you and your international group of friends meet for coffee every day after class, and spontaneous weekend trips are a regular part of your life now—you’re only abroad once, after all!

While you’re having the time of your life, your bank account may be getting a beating. It’s a reality I, and so many of my friends, have faced when debating whether to buy expensive local delicacy. When you’re abroad, it might feel like you’re on holiday because of all the new and exciting experiences. The important difference is that your international student experience abroad is a lot longer than a week-long vacation, and therefore a lot more expensive.

Before you put your credit card away and vow not to leave your room for fear of going broke, picking up a part-time job is a great option if your school schedule will allow. Not only will you be earning much-needed cash to fund your extracurricular activities, you’ll get to immerse yourself deeper into the local culture, practice the language, and expand your professional network—plus, working while studying abroad looks great on a resume!

Here are five ways to earn a little extra cash while abroad:


Collect cash on campus

On-campus jobs are a convenient option because you needn’t venture far from your classes to supplement your study abroad expenses. As a master’s student, I worked as a student ambassador for the university. Working in my school’s marketing department gave me a lot of useful experience and writing a blog based on my life in Sweden meant my family back home was always updated!

On-campus jobs are great because your employer knows you’re a student and will understand if you need to put your studies first. Juggling life in a foreign country, school assignments, and work can be difficult which is why working in a supportive environment is so important.


Loan out your language skills

If you’re fluent in another language than the one spoken in your study abroad country, speak up! There are lots of language services that you can provide, like translation services or teaching your native language. Depending on the language you want to teach and the country you’re studying in, you may be required to take a short course to become a certified teacher of a second language.


Earn tips to pay for trips

Restaurants, bars, and cafes are great places to look for a student job while abroad! Take to the streets with your resume (and proof of your ability to work in that country) and ask to speak with the manager. Try visiting the same areas that tourists flock to—restaurants are always looking for servers who can easily converse with tourists!

At the same time, working in the food and drinks industry in a foreign country can be a cultural experience unto itself. Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to sample more of that amazing cuisine you can’t get enough of!


Caregiving takes care of extra expenses

If you’re the nurturing type, try out babysitting! Many families look for nannies who can speak other languages to help their children learn a foreign language. It can be a flexible job and give you first-hand insight into the typical family unit in your study abroad country. If you’re more of dog-lover, you can walk the local pooches during your breaks between classes!


Give tours to fellow travellers

If you’re studying abroad, the chances are high that you’re familiar with hostels: you’ve likely shared a bunkbed in a room with five other strangers while traveling and trying to save on sleeping arrangements. Hostels can also be a great place to work! Picking up a couple night shifts at hostel reception or giving guests tours of your new home is a fun way to socialise and earn a little extra income!

Many countries, including the UK, allow people to work on a student visa but there may be restrictions on the number of hours you can work per week so make sure you check these first. While landing a job after you’ve just landed in a foreign country can seem daunting, it can be a really rewarding experience that allows you to experience even more!


Keely works at and, search engines dedicated to corporate training and further education.

Keely works at, a search engine dedicated to corporate training and further education. She shares their goal of helping individuals and companies find relevant professional development training in the US, UK and abroad. When she’s not writing about professional development, she’ll gladly tell you more about her study abroad experience!


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