5 Ways to Get Work Experience While Studying Abroad

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Finding the time to get work experience while studying abroad is just as important as catching up on classes or going out with friends!

With many of the options below, the pay can be beneficial in covering a portion of your expenses, so why not take advantage of these opportunities to improve your resume and make some extra money? 😉

Check out the 6 ways here! 👇

#1 Part-time Jobs

Adding part-time jobs to your resume will make it more attractive to employers as they will realize that you have the confidence to learn and adapt. 

A part-time job is a great way to work abroad, improve your soft skills, step a foot in the working world, and of course, cover some of your living expenses.

You can work while studying abroad in many destinations like Canada, USA, UK, Australia, and almost all European countries. However, there are rules and restrictions regarding every country, so make sure you check that out.

If possible, consider getting a job that is relevant to your career path to get familiar with the practical aspect and develop your knowledge in advance. For example, if you’re studying Marketing, it would be a good idea to work as a sales representative before graduation.

A man and a woman are standing next to each other and looking at a tablet

Do you find it difficult getting a job related to your field? No worries, time for a plan B! You can still find something that is not completely related to your career, but will get you closer to the job market and help you develop basic skills such as time management, teamwork, leadership, customer service, and more.

Some of the best sites to find jobs abroad are Indeed, Snagajob, and Craigslist.

#2 Internship & Co-op

Another way to get work experience while studying abroad is through internships or co-ops. They are a form of learning outside of the classroom, where you get to be employed while studying and apply theory to practice. 

By now, you are probably wondering what a co-op is? Well, it is a work program where students get a job instead of studying for a semester, something related to their degree. Usually, you can get the job through the university and most of them are paid. 

You get to understand the working world from a professional perspective and earn extra money as well. For example, if you’re taking a co-op program in computer science, a work term might involve working as an assistant in a software development company.

Studies show that students find full-time employment after graduation faster than non-co-op students.

The main difference between internships and co-ops are that co-ops are more in-depth with longer hours, up to 35 or 40 hours, and more days, unlike interns, who only work 10 or 12 hours a week over two or three days. 

Internship programs can offer more flexibility for students since they’re shorter and can be paid or unpaid. 

When researching your programs abroad, make sure to contact the universities to ask about the co-op education option. They will help you find the program and then later on, find the jobs as well.

#3 Volunteer

Employers love to see volunteering experiences on your resume because it doesn’t only show that you have the right skills but also the will to work without getting compensated.

Depending on your degree, sometimes volunteering can be more useful than a part-time job. For instance, if you’re studying social work or law, this would be a great option to add to your CV. 

During volunteering work abroad, you can meet people and get their contact information for future job recommendations, or one day they might even become your employers.

Benefits of volunteering:

  • Expand Your Network: Everyone loves to meet new friends, especially when you’re studying abroad! It is important to create meaningful relationships and increase your social interactions for more employment opportunities and personal development as well. 
  • Build New Skills: Volunteering will teach you new social skills and will make you more aware of the issues that other people deal with and what’s happening in your community. 
  • Make a Difference: How would you feel knowing that you helped an organization pack food packages for homeless people? Small actions like that will have a positive impact on your mental health!
  • Discover Your Passion: You can volunteer as much as you want and in any field, without exceptions. Trying different volunteering jobs is useful to help you understand what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. 
  • Find a Job Faster: Add all your volunteer experiences to your CV and watch how many employers will contact you! They will know that you are experienced, hardworking, helpful, and loyal.
A man is holding the arm of an elderly man and walking next to him while smiling

Some examples of volunteering include walking dogs at an animal shelter, serving meals to patients, cleaning up in your local community, etc. You can find these opportunities by asking around in your area and contacting the university’s student office.

You can use online resources such as VolunteerMatch, Idealist, or AllForGood.

#4 Summer Jobs & Winter Vacation

During the summer vacation, when you’re not enrolled in any classes, most countries allow you to work full-time for 3 months as an international student to gain both experience and money. 

The winter break usually lasts for three weeks from the beginning/middle of December to the beginning of January, but might differ depending on the country. In these 3 weeks, you can arrange with your employer to change your schedule from part time to full-time.

The best part about summer jobs is that you can focus entirely on the job, unlike part-time, where you would have to work and study at the same time.

Working during vacations in your study abroad destination will allow you to get closer to the country’s culture and working environment. 

It is especially beneficial if you are planning to stay permanently in the country and reside there as you will already have work experience and knowledge about the atmosphere.

A woman is sitting on a desk and looking at her laptop

#5 Freelance

Being a freelancer is a flexible and well-paying way to get work experience while studying abroad

You get to negotiate the payment terms, deadlines, the content of the job, and you have the right to decline or accept it depending on what you want! 

Other than finding clients, you can also enter contracts with companies, or agencies that require their services, such as article and essay writing or photography.

Making all those decisions will make you a perfect candidate for many employers after graduation as you will become an expert at decision-making, communicating, problem-solving, negotiating, and many more important skills.  

What are the advantages of freelancing?

  • Flexibility & Freedom: Because balancing work and study can be hard, this option is ideal as you can work at any time and determine your workload for the week depending on your studying plans.
  • More Exposure: Freelancing gives you more opportunities to develop yourself and improve your skills. You can take more than one job and get exposed to different fields.
  • Independence: As a freelancer, you work for yourself and at your own pace. This will make you practice your organizing and time-management skills as you will be your boss.
  • Choose the location: You can choose where you want to work, either from home, a coffee shop, or even a library. The distance between you and the client is never a barrier; you can accept job offers from all over the globe.

The 3 best freelance websites to find work are Fiverr, Toptal, and Upwork.

Now that you know the ways to get work experience while studying abroad, you can start looking for opportunities near you. Share this content with your friends so they can benefit too! 😉


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