Is money the only thing standing between you and studying abroad? Rest assured, you don’t have to give up your dreams of studying in another country. You can work abroad to pay for books, food, and travel.
Some visas let you take part-time jobs, or you could work under-the-table as a tutor or babysitter. Plus, thanks to the internet, it’s easy to make money abroad by working online.
Perhaps that’s why, more than ever, students are studying abroad during college. In the 2014 to 2015 school year, over 313,415 students spent time in another country. The Institute of International Education aims to raise that number to 600,000 in the next few years.
If you’re looking for ways to finance a semester or two outside the U.S., read on for 10 options for working abroad.
10 ways to work abroad as a student
1. Teach English
It’s easy to connect with students looking for English tutors. Advertise your services on campus or online. Many cities have local discussion boards or Facebook groups where students and tutors can connect. When I lived in Spain, I found lots of students looking for English teachers online.
Besides meeting up in person, you can also teach English online. Companies such as Udemy, Verbling, and Italki connect you with students all over the world through Skype. Let’s say you made $15 an hour teaching English. If you worked 10 hours a week, then you’d be pulling in $150 each week, $600 a month.
2. Tutor students in test prep
In addition to tutoring in English, look for students who want help preparing for U.S. admissions tests, including the SAT and ACT. Besides helping students ace the SAT, you can guide them through the college admission process.
As with teaching English, meet up with local students or tutor online. Student Tutors, for instance, is one company that hires college students as online tutors.
3. Work as a freelancer online
Do you have other marketable skills to offer online besides teaching or tutoring? Some fields with abundant freelance opportunities are writing, editing, programming, and website design. Check out work from home sites like Upwork and Freelancer to see what roles are available.
These sites let you apply to jobs and offer services. Pay varies depending on the service and length of the project. Helping someone write their dating profile would earn you just $5 on Fiverr. Designing a website for a company through Upwork would make you $500 or more.
If you enjoy spending time with kids, consider finding a babysitting job. Babysitting is typically flexible, and it pays well. Plus, you’ll connect with a family and get a deeper sense of your host country’s language and culture.
Check your college’s job board for babysitting opportunities. Alternatively, look for local websites that connect babysitters with families. Care.com, for instance, operates in 15 countries around the world matching families with caregivers.
5. Offer translation services
Do you have a working knowledge of your host country’s language? If you’re fluent, offer translation services. Translators generally set their own rates by the word depending on their experience level and efficiency. Translating will let you make money working abroad while honing your language skills and building a portfolio.
6. Become a tour guide
Would you love to bring people on tours around your new city? Reach out to tourism companies and see if any are looking for tour guides. This role is a fun way to learn more about your host city and meet new people as you make money abroad. Just don’t lead any pub crawls the night before a big exam.
7. Help out at a hostel
Working at a hostel is another great way to make money abroad and meet people from all over the world. Hostels don’t always update their openings online. Your best bet is to go in and inquire about any opportunities.
8. Wait tables (visa permitting)
Some student visas let you work part-time. If yours has this allowance, look for work in a cafe or restaurant. In the busy environment of food services, you’ll be fluent in your host country’s language in no time.
9. Work on-campus
If you’re studying abroad through a university, rather than an external program, then the college may offer on-campus jobs. Eligible students can find work-study jobs on the branch campus. Speak with the study abroad office to learn about your options for making money abroad. Maybe the office will even set you up with an on-campus job before you arrive.
10. Create your own travel blog (and keep at it)
Finally, you can try to make money abroad by starting your own travel blog. While study abroad travel blogs are a dime a dozen, most of them are more personal than professional. If you’re serious about it, look for a way to fill a niche, produce stand-out content, and monetize your blog.
Of course, you’ll need to write posts on a continuous basis, which can be tough as a full-time student. Plus, blogs take several months to a year to start generating revenue. Starting your own blog may make you money eventually, but it’s not your best option for immediate income.
Should you work abroad as a student?
Working abroad has its challenges. You have to work around a language barrier, learn new customs, and adapt to different ways of doing things. By meeting these challenges, though, you’ll sharpen your language skills and broaden your horizons. Along the way, you’re sure to gain lots of self-confidence.
If your job takes too much energy from your studies, then it’s probably not worth it. However, with the range of opportunities for work abroad, you’ll be able to find a flexible role. By making money abroad, you’ll take the pressure off your finances and enjoy a semester outside of your comfort zone.
You don’t have to pass up a semester abroad to keep working. By working abroad, you’ll continue to make money (and receive financial aid) while gaining the global competencies that will impress future employers.
For more tips, check out this guide for six ways to pay for study abroad without going into debt.
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