How to Find a Job When Studying Abroad

By Lora Keleher , last updated September 30, 2011

Finding a job when studying abroad is challenging, but possible. Before you start job hunting, you should first arrive, get settled, and familiarize yourself with the area. Once you start looking, you should expect to possibly spend more time conducting your search than you would at home, because many employers aren’t interested in the additional regulations and red tape that come with hiring a non-citizen. Here is some information that will make finding a job when studying abroad a much easier process.

Be Aware of Visa Requirements

When searching for a job, you first need to find out if working is legally permitted, as well as if the school you’re attending allows students to hold jobs. In many countries, student visas permit you to work a certain number of hours while attending school, but some higher educational institutions prohibit students from working while attending. You can only work the number of hours permitted by your visa. Finding a job that pays under the table is highly discouraged, because if you’re caught, you’ll be deported.

Another thing to keep in mind is that an employer might require you to obtain a tax identification number before you start working, which could take a while. You should find out the visa and tax requirements before you leave the US, so you’re prepared when you start looking for work.

College or University Resources

One way to obtain a job is to contact the administration office of the school at which you’re studying, and see if they have a department that assists students in obtaining work. The school itself may also hire students for part time administrative-type jobs. You can also inquire with fellow students who have jobs, or who might know of places that are hiring. The best students to talk to are ones who hold jobs and are also from the US, because they’ll likely be on the same type of visa, and know employers willing to hire US citizens.

Visit Businesses and Be Persistent

Just like in the US, you can often find jobs abroad by stopping into local businesses and filling out applications. Typically, you can find service industry jobs, such as working at a retail store, restaurant, warehouse, or performing data entry. If you frequent a business and develop a rapport with the staff and owner, you might have an easier time getting hired there.

Teach English

If you’re not totally fluent in the native tongue of the country you’re visiting, your job search is going to be extremely challenging. However, you may be able to find a job teaching citizens how to speak English, or tutoring fellow classmates in English. English-speaking skills are highly sought after, and many people are willing to pay fairly large sums for private lessons. Additionally, residents often prefer tutors who don’t teach speak their native language fluently, because it forces them to learn more quickly. Most schools have bulletin boards, and other spaces where you can advertise. Similar to other jobs you may find abroad, you have to pay attention to visa laws, and make sure that you possess or obtain the proper visa.

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