For many international students, having the option to work while studying abroad plays a big part in deciding on a study abroad destination. Working while studying can help you earn an income and offset the cost of your studies. It can also help you get invaluable experience in the local job market to start building your resume and develop your skills. In an effort to make your decision a bit easier, we’re going to break down the different work while studying abroad options in:
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Australia is home to one of the world’s best education systems and also offers international students the flexibility to work while studying. If you’re studying in Australia on a valid student visa, you also have the added incentive of being able to work up to 40-hours every two weeks during your study session. Keep in mind that you don’t need to divide the hours equally between the two weeks. That means that you can work more hours one week and less the other, or vice versa.
You can also work full-time during scheduled course breaks, such as the summer holidays. In Australia, a typical full-time employee works an average of 38 hours each week.
One of the many reasons Canada remains a popular study abroad destination among international students is because of the country’s wide range of diverse and flexible post-secondary study options. International students can find employment if they’re enrolled in a full-time degree, diploma, or certificate program that’s at least six months in length. If you’re a part-time student in your final semester, you can work off-campus if you don’t require a full course load to complete your studies and were a full-time student up until your final semester.
You can work off-campus up to 20-hours per week during the regular school semester, and full-time during a scheduled break, such as winter and summer vacation and during reading week.
With more than 50,000 academic courses across more than 25 subject areas, students studying in the United Kingdom will be spoiled for choice. International students studying in the UK on a valid student visa (formerly the Tier 4 student visa) also have the opportunity to work while studying. However, the number of hours you can work depends on what you’re studying:
- Degree Level or Higher: If you’re studying a full-time course that is degree level or higher, you can work up to 20-hours per week while class is in session. You can work full-time during scheduled breaks, such as during summer or term breaks.
- Below Degree Level: If you’re studying a course that is below degree level, you can work up to 10-hours per week, and full-time during the scheduled breaks mentioned above.
Note: Be sure to carefully review your biometric residence permit (BRP), which will outline any work restrictions.
The United States earned the top spot yet again in the list of U.S. News Best Countries for Education, and it’s easy to see why. US educational institutions constantly dominate the lists of the world’s very best universities, such as the QS World University Rankings 2022. Like Australia, Canada, and the UK, the US also gives international students the chance to work while studying, but the options are more limited.
International students studying in the United States on a valid F1 visa can find work on-campus, such as at the school’s library, cafeteria, or admissions offices. F1 visa holders can work on campus:
- Up to 20-hours per week during regular full-time semesters
- More than 20-hours per week between quarter semesters
- More than 20-hours per week during scheduled breaks, such as winter and summer break
You can work more than one job on campus, but must not exceed the 20-hours per week restriction during regular full-time semesters.
There are two options for off-campus work while studying in the US: Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). You must complete your first year of studies before you are eligible for one of these programs.
Curricular Practical Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT) gives you the opportunity to participate in off-campus work experience (as well as work training or an internship) as outlined in your degree program. Depending on your degree program, completing a CPT internship is a program requirement that you will need to fulfill before graduating.
Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)
Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) allows you to find off-campus employment within your field of study. Students enrolled in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program can also take advantage of an OPT extension. If you’re interested in taking advantage of OPT, you’ll need to apply for a separate visa. (You can also learn more about Post-Completion Optional Practical Training, which, as the name suggests, is completed after you graduate.)
You can work up to 20-hours per week while studying, and up to 40-hours per week when on a break, such as during summer vacation.
We hope this gives you a good overview of the different options you have for working while studying in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US. You can also learn more about co-op, work placements, and internships in these countries, as well as post-study employment opportunities after you complete your studies.