July 12, 2022

What you need to know about gaining work experience while studying abroad

Several international students choose to study abroad to widen the scope of their career opportunities. In addition to pursuing a promising career abroad, international students are also given the chance to experience the global academic standards at select education institutes. More and more international students find it an attractive option as studying abroad provides great value in terms of career prospects.

If you are aware of the type of undergraduate or postgraduate program you wish to study, you can select a university abroad. That said, you will not be limited to the study options in your country of origin.

Studying abroad plays a significant part in deciding the country, course, and university. At the same time, working while you study abroad can help in earning an income that may help in offsetting the cost of studies to an extent. The work conditions are different in different countries; in this blog, we’re here to break it down for you.

Working while studying in the United Kingdom

The UK houses more than 50,000 academic courses that span over 25 subject areas. International students studying in the UK with a valid student visa will have the opportunity to study and work in the UK, while the work hours depend on the study level selected.

  • Below Degree Level: Taking up a course that is below degree level may permit you to work up to 10-hours per week. You may be allowed to work full-time during scheduled breaks. 
  • Degree Level or Higher: With a full-time course that is degree level or higher, you will be permitted to work up to 20-hours per week. During scheduled summer time or term breaks, you may work full-time.

You must review your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) to be sure of any work restrictions.

Working while studying in the Canada

Canada has a wide and diverse range of post-secondary study options, making it an attractive study destination for international students.

International students can work and study in Canada if they’re enrolled in a full-time degree, diploma, or certificate program. This program should entail study duration of at least six months in length. 

You may work off-campus if you are a part-time student in your final semester, that is, if you do not require the full course load to complete your studies, and if you were a full-time student up until your final semester.

You may work off-campus up to 20-hours per week during the regular school semester. You can work full-time during a scheduled seasonal break and during reading week.

Working while studying in Australia

Australia is the hub of high education standards, while offering students the chance to work and study in Australia. If you are an international student studying in Australia on a valid student visa, you may be permitted to work up to 40-hours every two weeks during your study session. You can divide your working hours; for instance, you can work more hours one week and less in the other week. You can also work full-time during scheduled summer breaks.

Furthermore, the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs has allowed a temporary relaxation of working hours of international students due to workforce shortages. This means that ongoing as well as new student arrivals are permitted temporary relaxation of student work limits in certain sectors of the economy.

Working while studying in the US

The United States is listed as one of the best counties for Education. The US educational institutions continue to dominate the world’s best universities, such as the QS World University Rankings 2022. Like the UK, Canada, and Australia, international students are given the opportunity to work and study in the USA, but the options are more limited. Let’s take a look at the options available for international students.

Working On-Campus

International students with a valid F1 visa can work on-campus, like at the admission’s office, school’s library, or cafeteria. The work hours for F1 visa holders include:

  • Up to 20-hours per week during full-time semesters
  • Over 20-hours per week between quarter semesters
  • Over 20-hours per week during scheduled winter and summer breaks

You may be allowed to work in more than one job on campus. However, you are not permitted to exceed the 20-hours per week restriction during full-time semesters.

Working Off-Campus

Working off-campus while studying in the US includes two options: 

  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) 
  • Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) 

You must complete your first year of studies, only then you gain the eligibility for one of these programs.

To elaborate more on the above programs:

Curricular Practical Training

The CPT program offers you the chance to participate in off-campus work experience, including work training or an internship. Depending on your degree program, completing a CPT internship is a requirement that you will need to meet before graduating.

Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

The OPT program allows you to find off-campus work related to your field of study. Students enrolled in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program can also benefit from an OPT extension.

Regarding your work hours, you can work up to 20-hours per week while studying. You can take up to 40-hours per week when on a summer break.

Getting work experience while studying abroad

While you figure out the options available to you based on the country you select to work and study abroad, it’s important to also learn to manage your time. Working and studying in a foreign country, and learning to adapt to the lifestyle can get overwhelming at times. We’re sharing a few tips to help you learn how to manage your time while studying and working abroad.

  • Discipline is the number one rule as you make efforts to standardize a specific bedtime and wake up time. You may not have a parent or guardian around to make sure that you sleep and wake up on time every day. So, adapting to a little bit of self-discipline can help you go a long way. It’s also important that you get quality sleep so that you gain improved focus during the next day’s study and work programs.
  • Avoid distractions on days when you need to prepare for the following day. By this we mean that you must prioritize your time based on your weekly schedule. Unlike your peers who may live in that country, you being an international student will not enjoy the perks of fluidity for life post your study program. You will have a limited time period in the country to study, work, and also maybe, pursue a career, of a limited period, depending on some factors. So, attend your classes on time without skipping to tick off those fun plans on your bucket list.
  • Go easy on being a perfectionist because if you are one then it’s time to limit your time concentrating on one project for a longer time. Make sure that you stick to completing a few projects rather than major projects put together. The goal is to complete the assignment to the best of your potential, and not at the cost of spending time that conflicts with study and work hours. So, plan your time accordingly and try not to complete three assignments at the last moment before submissions.
  • Join a study group if you still need extra support and the right motivation to do things on time and productively. Collaborating with a serious study group will always help you stay accountable for your study programs, while you plan around your working hours. The group that you join should be able to provide a healthy amount of pressure to ensure that you are on track with your tasks.
  • Become an early riser in the morning, which is usually the best time to work on something that needs a fresh mind. We sometimes tend to procrastinate as we get used to the routine but with the right kind of discipline as we explained in our first point, you can get work done effectively. So, instead of working late hours to complete last minute deadlines, you can complete your work on time and feel proud of yourself.
  • Plan your work and study schedule to make sure that you can also add in some time for fun. You may feel at times that you don’t need to plan and you have it all under control, but the fact is that one can never be too sure about unexpected delays. You need to include planning on the expenses you will make, keeping a realistic budget, and maintaining a healthy study schedule. 
  • Add a reminder tool to your checklist because sometimes, we need an alarm clock to wake us up in the morning and also an automated reminder tool to help us stay on track of work tasks. This is to ensure that we don’t miss out on important assignments and work appointments. You can use something as simple as a Google reminder or a mobile reminder app to help you with your daily tasks.

Studying and working abroad provides a whole new experience for international students. You get to learn a ton of responsibility and taste independent living at the same time. If you want to know your options to studying and working abroad, connect with our expert consultants today.