You are about to embark on an international study adventure. While this is an exciting time, I’m sure there are probably a million things on your mind, and I bet ‘money’ is definitely on top of that list. I think it would be safe to assume that you and your family have given the prospect of studying abroad a good deal of financial thought, but nonetheless studying abroad is expensive, and there is always the matter of those little expenses that creep up on you that you haven’t planned for! After all international students include people from all ends of the spectrum; students who might have received a scholarship, others (like me!) who need to take out loans, and perhaps those who have prepared and have a structured financial plan.

Most students would love the opportunity to work and study at the same time. But before doing so, you should be aware that there are different regulations for working while studying in different countries. In this piece we will focus on the three popular study abroad destinations: the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Working and Studying in the United States

The United States has very specific regulations when it comes to the employment of full time international students on a (F-1) visa. After all, the point of a student visa is just that, to be a student. But it is understandable that we all need some finances to get by.  So if you are one of the many students who may need a part time job to help you out, you can speak with your International Office about jobs that may be available across the campus. As full time international students, you can’t expect to work more than the approved part time (20 hours per week) during the academic calendar, and full time (40 hours per week) during holidays. Work on-campus can be found at the library, cafeteria, helping with student research, a book shop, and the list goes on and on.

After you have completed one year of your school work, off campus employment may also be an option. You can always speak with school officials about the steps that need to be taken and options that are available regarding off campus jobs.

Working While Studying in Canada and the UK

If you are pursuing an education in Canada or the United Kingdom, the opportunities for employment are very similar in both countries. As long as you hold a valid, full time student visa, working on or off campus should not be a problem. You will however not be able to work more than 20 hours a week, and 40 hours during holidays. Additionally you will need to confirm you full time student status with officials, and be approved to work accordingly.

As an international student myself, I was in the position of needing a bit of financial help and went through a similar process. I found that there are some options out there for full time students that may work better than others. Office jobs and regular working hours would probably not be the best route as they would interfere with classes. Shops, bars, grocery stores and places that have more flexible hours are ideal for students.

Working AND Studying? Seems Like a Lot… Right?

I know how you feel. The task of studying full time and working can seem daunting. The pressure of needing money and also completing your school work can be overwhelming. The key is to find a balance.

As an international student, studying will be your main focus. You will be going to classes, study groups, completing papers, going to the library and on and on. Working on top of that? It may be enough to stress you out. Well I thought so too, until I tried it out.

I studied in Ireland, which has the same working regulations as the UK and Canada. I found that having a few hours a week provided me with not only a bit more financial comfort, but the chance to take a break from studying. I made friends, gained experience and felt very good about providing stability for myself.

If you are one of the many students who may need a part time job to help you out, look at these positives. It is important to understand the regulations regarding employment in the country you will be studying in, but once you have this knowledge, you can focus on getting yourself through your international experience with more stability and less stress.