Living abroad and away from the comfort of your home, your expenses tend to shoot up at the slightest hitch. The fall back option is calling your parents back home to ask for extra cash. Easier said than done, isn’t it? The embarrassment of asking money all the time or the long wait for it to arrive….


Wouldn’t it be easier to earn some money on the side whilst studying? There’s no need to fall for the ‘easy-money’ pop-up scams on the internet.  Here are 5 ways you can earn extra money as an international student.

#1 At University, Don’t Just Get a Degree – Get a Campus Job

International Ambassadors at Portsmouth University

The best option of all. Universities around the UK offer many part-time jobs to their own students.  For example, they look for enrolled students to guide prospective students around campus.  Or to take part in student information events and Open Days. You don’t need expertise or previous work experience to be a Student Guide or International Ambassador – your enthusiasm and knowledge of the campus is what counts.

Since most of this work is event based, it hardly ever cuts into your course and study time.  It pays well too, helping you save up for a rainy day.  Or you can just apply and get all of the university jobs and be an Alpha on the campus!

#2 Choose Casual Work in 100s of Retail Stores

International Student Retail Jobs UK

Fancy working at your favourite brand shop? You can get free merchandise as a part of your uniform!

Love eating out or takeaway coffee? You can get a free coffee and lunch besides getting paid for your work!

Commercial shops always look to employ students  in part-time jobs.  Be it Calvin Klein or Hugo Boss, Nike or Adidas, McDonalds or Subway, Tesco or Waitrose, Starbucks or Costa Coffee – there’ll be so many job postings! The best part is, you can choose the days you want to work and the time you want to work – as long as it doesn’t exceed 20 hours a week (the maximum you can work during term-time if you’re here on a student visa).

With the money you will earn, coupled with the perks of store discount or carry-home-food, you’ll be decently settled throughout your stay in the UK.

#3 Get Great Work Experience with a Part-Time Work Placement

University work placement

Having real-life work experience and practical knowledge can really help you stand out from everyone else when applying for a graduate job.  A part-time work placement gets you into the professional working environment early on and adds important work experience to your CV.  It also gives you the best opportunity to understand what it’s like to work in an area that you’re interested in and what to expect from a formal employment.

During a work placement you can build up your networking and employability skills.  Your studies will benefit too as it gives more knowledge to take back to the classroom.  Moreover, a placement will always pay better than most other jobs out there.

#4    Offer Your Research Skills to Your Professors

International student job research assistant

Are you an undergraduate student thinking of pursuing a Masters? A Masters student thinking of pursuing a Doctorate? You could assist your professors, tutors and supervisors in their ongoing research and get paid for it, too. Research Assistants are essentially treated like a member of staff, doing research work handed down by their professor, to be done either individually or in groups.

Working as a research assistant is as good as doing a work placement, and you’ll have important work experience to show on your CV.  It also gets you a glowing recommendation from your tutors, which might be a great help to say the least.

#5  Put Your Social Media Skills to Good Use

Social Media Job International Students

Social-media savvy?  Well then, use your social media skills to the fullest and get paid for it.  Any city with a sizable student population will have businesses that use social media to advertise and organise events for students. These events can be at you university, in local venues and clubs, or could involve trips and outings elsewhere.

As an Events Rep you could be creating events on Facebook and inviting people to join.  You could be writing blog posts, or doing offline work like distributing flyers or acting as a tour guide.  Sounds fun, right?  You’d be learning and earning at the same time, and it won’t feel like much work at all – sounds like a dream job!

The Key to Success: Get In There Early

Successful international job applicants

In any university city, there’ll be hundreds of students – both local and international – on the look-out for part-time work to earn extra cash and / or get work experience.   So, my parting advice to you is:  start scouting for a job as soon as you get here.  Make sure you have a 1-page CV ready with your contact details, your education, your skills, what you’re really good at and any work experience you already have.

Which reminds me:  it’s often much easier to get a part-time job if you already have some work experience. So, if you have a chance at all, try to get work experience and a work reference (or certificate) before you get here.  But if you don’t manage to do it, don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of opportunities still.

Good luck with everything – and enjoy both your degree and part-time job!

Meet Sanket

Sanket Kulkarni University of Portsmouth

Sanket Kulkarni is a postgraduate Law student pursuing a Masters in Corporate Governance.  He joined the University of Portsmouth after getting bored at a corporate desk in India and is now pursuing every hobby a student possibly can.  Apart from being a member of the University’s Indian Society, he loves music and is a wannabe (terrible) DJ, but thinks he does ok.

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