How to Work While Studying Abroad

Is it possible to work while studying abroad?

This is a frequently asked question for those who are trying to make inquiries about the perks of studying in a foreign country, and the short, definite answer is YES.

Working while studying may be demanding because you need to be at your best in both environments, but it has its advantages. From earning some money to having work experience, the advantages are limitless. Working while studying abroad is one sure way to earn funds to cater to your needs, make connections that may help you in the future, and have relevant work experience to boost your resume and career confidence. If you are wondering if you can work while studying, or you recently just got admitted into a foreign college/university, and you want to find ways to make some money, this piece is for you.

This article relays important and necessary information about working while studying in a foreign country, its benefits, limits, possibilities, and restrictions.

Regional Work Regulation Differences

This is the most relevant piece of information in this article, and we are putting it first because it will help you understand the perks of working abroad and the rules you must follow if you seek to work while studying.

Every country has its work regulations for students, which must be adhered to. It is crucial to know these regulations because they change from time to time, and vary in different countries. The best way to know these regulations is by asking at your institution, where they can inform you on the regulations governing that country part-time work policy.

These regulations are a result of balancing the study-work life. It is understood that students have a lot of studying to do, papers to write, and classes to attend. In a bid to balance it out, to avoid jobs get in the way of getting the best of education, these regulations are set to reduce the hours students get to work, and in most cases, the location. As stated earlier, this varies in every country.

international students gathering

In Germany, foreign students are allowed to work for 120 full days or 240 half days per year. If you exceed these number of days, you will be sanctioned, and it may lead to unpalatable results. However, if you are required to take an internship in your course of study, or you take up a job as a research or student assistant, this will not be deducted from your workdays limit. Be sure to inform the relevant authorities. If you take up a holiday job, or an unpaid internship that is outside your academics, they will be deducted from your work credit.

Foreign students in Germany, and most European Union countries, are not allowed to work as freelancers, or as self-employees.

Foreign students in Germany are allowed to earn up to €450/monthly without paying tax. But when you earn higher than that amount, your tax will be deducted from your salary.

In countries like UK and Ireland, students are allowed to work for 10-20 hours weekly during the semester, and up to 40 hours during the holidays, or semester break.

In the Netherlands, you are allowed to work for just 10 hours, during the semester, and up to 40, during breaks or holidays. Here is a video that compares graduate salaries in Germany vs. the Netherlands.

Australia has a 20-hour weekly policy when the semester is on, and as many hours as you want, during the holidays.

In Spain, you are allowed up to 20 hours per week, but your work must be related to your course of study. For you to work while studying in Spain, you need a work permit from the local authority; this permit can not go beyond your visa expiration date. Here, you are allowed to work full time during holidays/breaks.

A student in Eifel tower Paris

In France, the regulations a somewhat different and more flexible than those in other countries, especially if you have a residence permit. Students in France are allowed to work a maximum of 964 hours in a year. With this information, you can work part-time during the academic session, and full-time during vacations. Just make sure not to go past the time limit. The catch with having a residence card while studying in France is, you are allowed to work on and off-campus. You will be paid the minimum wage, but must also pay a percentage of your salary to tax.

Canada is the dream choice for many students who wish to study abroad, and it is understandably so. Canada offers many options for foreign students who wish to stay back and work after their studies. Unfortunately, the rules surrounding working while studying in Canada are a bit more complicated than those in other countries. You need not worry, working while studying in Canada is possible, all you need is to get a study permit, and Social Insurance Number, and get familiar with the regulations of the state. When you have your study permit, you can work off-campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week. If you are permitted to work on-campus, there is no limit to the number of hours you can work.

To work while studying in the United States of America (USA), you must find a part-time offer within the institution as you will be allowed 20 hours weekly while the school is in session. During vacations, you can take up to 40 hours per week. Students are not allowed to work outside their institution except you request for a permit from the US Immigration Service. This permit can only be granted after you have studied for at least a year, in the States. An added requirement to get a permit to work outside your institution is, you must work a part-time job in a field related to your course of study. Depending on your institution, you may have some restrictions added to those at the state level. Some institutions have further work restriction policies and some narrow them to some courses of study.

As an EU student, these policies are a bit relaxed, but non-EU students have more restrictions.

If a student works beyond the work-credit hour, they will be sanctioned for it because they have broken their visa rule. In most cases, the violators may be dealt a punishment as severe as expulsion from the institution. With this information at hand, it is crucial, and of high priority to find out from your institution, and state employment authorities, the regulation surrounding your visa. It is your responsibility to see that you adhere to the rules and regulations because you get to bear the consequences involved in flouting them.

Job Opportunities Available For Foreign Students

a foreign worker with a white lady

In most countries, especially in the EU, foreign students are not allowed to do some kind of jobs, like starting up a business, professional sports coaching, or health practice (except an internship required by your course of study).

However, there are a handful of part-time jobs foreign students can partake in to earn money and gain experience. Here is a list of jobs students can find in foreign countries.

  • Personal Assistant 

    You can assist an executive to manage their calendar and organize their itinerary. This is a great way to earn money and garner organizational skills.

  • Waiter(tress)/Receptionist

    This is a common part-time job role that lets you earn some bucks while gaining some important experience like customer service.

  • Gardener

    You can work as a gardener in your spare time, whilst making sure you do not exceed your work-credit limit.

  • Fitness Instructor

    If you have the relevant knowledge, you can take up a part-time role at a gym in your college or near you.

  • Software Developer Intern 

    If you are looking to up your software development skills, you could apply to be an intern and get paid for it, while getting valuable skills and experience.

  • Research Assistant 

    If you are good at researching or have an interest in it, you might want to find a place as an assistant to a researcher within your institution, and get paid for it.

Other available jobs include Pet Caretaker, Babysitter, Blogger, Tutor, Graphic Designer, Content Writer, Cashier, Delivery Driver, Sales Assistant, Social Media Manager, Security Guard, House Cleaner, Tour Guide, etc.

The list is endless. You could easily find one suitable for you, and flexible enough to let you manage your time for studies.

Important Things To Know Before Considering Working While Studying Abroad

  • You must adhere to the governing rules and regulations of the state, and your institution concerning working while studying. Failure to do so will attract sanctions that may lead to expulsion or withdrawal of your visa.
  • Rules and Regulations defer according to region.
  • All jobs available for foreign students are part-time jobs, except during the holidays. Hence, the salary you will receive can not cater for all your needs or expenses. It can only serve as an additional allowance. You are required to have enough funds to oversee the completion of your studies abroad.

Working while studying abroad is a great way to earn some money, gain experience, meet people and make connections, learn the culture of the country and broaden your experience. Most importantly, you get to learn about what the labour market entails, first-hand.

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