A new semester begins and with it your tuition, fees, and books will quickly empty your bank account. There is no need to panic! There are many ways for an international student in the US to find jobs and there are a lot of jobs that you may not have considered before. With your tight budget, it’s important to consider making some extra money to pay your bills while you study- if your visa allows you to. Here are some tips on where to start.
If you’re studying in the US while on an F1 visa then you’re able to work on-campus during your time in the US. Many universities and colleges put together events at the beginning of the year to help students get involved on campus. Since the majority of college students look for a job while they study, different faculties also come together to offer on-campus jobs. Some of these events are separated into departments within the university, but our advice: always attend campus events. This is the best way to get your name and face out there and meet possible employers on campus. You also have the opportunity to meet professors and staff that you could potentially work with later on. Along with attending campus events to hear about jobs, here are a few job suggestions that you will want to investigate on your own:
- Working at the Student Union: Almost every university and college in the US has a student union. This is a centralized building with restaurants, galleries, entertainment, and more. Jobs at the Student Union are great for college students as they’re typically fun and flexible. For example, I had friends in college who worked at the bowling alley on campus. They always had a great time and flexible hours since it was only opened in the evenings from Wednesday to Sunday. Another job option at the Student Union to consider is an organizer of events. This could include setting up rooms for specific events, hanging fliers or posting post-event pictures. Some of the restaurants on campus also prefer to hire students on-campus and will even work with their class schedules.
- Do you like teaching?: When I was in college, I really enjoyed learning languages. Through a friend, I got connected with the athletic department and became a french tutor for student athletes. My friend was also a physics tutor for the engineer department. Play to your strengths! If you enjoy a specific subject that you are very good at, look into becoming a tutor for other students. You will help others understand a subject better while making extra money and keeping all the important topics fresh in your mind.
- Go team!: Sports are a huge part of the college culture in the US. Many games will be hosted at your college or university and this brings a big, hungry and thirsty crowd of spectators to campus. Consider working for the athletic department as part of the operations or parking staff. You will most likely be taking entry tickets, serving refreshments, and watching games for free!
- Books and more books: Do you like to work indoors, in a quiet place, where you might be able to get your own homework done? The school’s library will be a great place to work! Whether that’s helping students find books or troubleshooting the technology offered by your school, the library is a cozy and ideal workplace for students.
- Work where you live: Almost every residence hall has a staffed front desk where individuals who live in the hall can visit with a concern or question. Many residence halls have a 24/7 front desk which means there are multiple hours of the day that need to be filled and that can fit into your schedule. The best part of working in your residence hall is you don’t need to travel far to get to work!
Working off campus can be a bit more difficult, however, it is not impossible! As an international student, you have different options such as OPT, CPT, or working for an International Organization Employment. Once you are approved to work off campus, consider the following:
- Legal paperwork: To study off campus, you will need to be approved by the USCIS. Even after you are approved, you will need to follow strict rules and regulations. Make sure you start early and don’t give up! The process may seem daunting but you will be able to obtain great opportunities with this authorization.
- What are you studying?: Find an industry where you can expand on your skills. If you are studying animal science, find places like veterinary clinics to work. If you are studying engineering, look for firms that offer internships, co-ops or part-time employment. Your on campus career center can help you in the search for off campus jobs
- Severe Economic Hardship: Life happens and sometimes, things are unavoidable. If you suddenly had an accident or fell ill, medical bills can be astronomical. While we always recommend having a health insurance for these instances, you might be needing an extra bit of income to complete next month’s bills. You might qualify for additional assistance.
Looking for a job in a foreign country may seem like an impossible task. However, in the US, there are many opportunities for everyone to be involved and get ahead in their career. If you need a job to finance your studies, rest assure your school will give you the tools to find a great workplace.