Employment for International Students

College is a right of passage for young adults all around the world. It’s a place where you go to find yourself and start working towards who you will become once you graduate and enter the ‘real world.’

The real world is a scary place where all of a sudden you are told to find a job and wholly support yourself. In recent years, this has become more difficult due to the percentage of people with college degrees, but you can make it easier on yourself by finding employment while you’re in school. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy — just a part time job at the school bookstore will work — employers just want to know that you’re, well, employable.

U.S. students can sometimes find this to be a difficult process, depending on where they live and the amount of current employment opportunities. But while it may be difficult for U.S. students to find a part-time job, it’s that much more difficult for international students because of the problems that visas can pose for prospective employers.

College towns are full of great employment opportunities for students because of the many restaurants, stores, and bars. This may mean that you’re a waitress, a cashier, or a bartender, but hey, everyone loves getting tips. Businesses know how desperate students are for extra money, so they know how hard we’ll work for it. Off-campus jobs are great and allow you to meet people you might not have met on-campus, but they are much less understanding when it comes to being an employee as well as a student.

Whether you’re looking for jobs on or off-campus, most universities have career centers where they will help you build your resume, conduct mock interviews, host networking events, and even give you personal career counseling.

But if you’ve only been searching for jobs off-campus, then you may want to consider looking for work-studies and other employment opportunities on-campus, instead. Working on-campus will not only give you a little extra cash, but it’ll help you make new friends, improve your language skills, and give you that important work experience I was talking about.

If you’re in search of improving your language skills and becoming more outgoing and comfortable in your new community, then you should consider being part of the orientation staff. This job is normally only available to those students who have been attending the university for at least one year. However, if you’re one of those people, then apply. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience where you’re basically guaranteed to make new friends and probably even make a difference in the life of some incoming freshmen.

But maybe you don’t want to spend your time with the incoming freshmen —that’s totally fair. Consider applying at your school’s call center.

In my sophomore year of college, I got a job at the call center on campus. Sure, it doesn’t sound very glamorous, and it wasn’t, but out of all the jobs I’ve had, that’s the job I’m most grateful for. It was a diverse environment that consisted of other students where I learned a lot about others as well as myself. Even better than that, they paid me well and worked with my awkward student schedule, which isn’t an easy task.

If a call center isn’t your thing, then, well I don’t blame you. However, there are other options. Most colleges have a webpage designed specifically for the purpose of hiring you. Universities write their job listings with their diverse student community in mind — most jobs are open to everyone, and if not, it will be stated in the requirements.

Quite often, universities even have email lists for different groups of people. If you’re an international student, you will most likely receive emails with information about what’s happening in the international student community. Some of those emails might just be about jobs for international students.

Depending on if you’re just looking for some extra cash or you’re looking for a job related to your degree, you could always look for internships and volunteer opportunities. They look great on your resume and help you gain experience in your desired field of work. They can be tricky to get because they can be fairly competitive, but they’re worth the blood, sweat, and tears. Reach out to your professors and ask them if they know of any internship opportunities. Some of these jobs may be unpaid, but the experience is often worth more than money.

Being an international student will be a demanding process from start to finish, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a wonderful, unforgettable experience. No matter where you decide to go, your school will have plenty of resources available to you which you should take advantage of. The international students’ office will offer programs and informational sessions to help you figure out whatever questions you have.

If you have any questions about becoming a student in the United States, let Universal Student Fund be your guide!