As an international student, your study abroad journey will be filled with a mix of challenging situations and adventures. Many students decide to work part-time during their study abroad journey to support themselves financially or gain practical experience. Balancing study and work requires careful planning and effective time management. One thing you want to avoid is a situation where your part-time work becomes so demanding that it causes a decline in your academic performance or affects your health.
There are many benefits of working part-time while studying beyond financial support. Working part-time while studying will help you develop transferable skills and understand the work culture of your city. This experience will also provide a sense of independence and responsibility among many other benefits.
In this article, we will share 7 tips that can help you navigate the challenges of study and work to have the best study experience.
Tips for balancing study and work
- Understand the limitations of your student visa
Before you apply for part-time jobs as a student, you must fully understand the specific regulations around your student visa as an international student. Student visa regulations vary by country. In the US, for instance, international students can work on campus 20 hours per week during the academic year and full-time during school breaks. In the UK and Canada, international students have a similar work hour restriction but they can work on campus and off campus (if eligible). Understanding these rules will prevent any legal complications down the road.
- Develop time management skills
Creating a detailed schedule will help you stay organized. Include activities like your class timings, study hours, work shifts, and personal time for self-care. You can use planners, mobile apps and calendars to help you with scheduling and planning your study and work activities. Break down major activities into smaller, manageable tasks to make it easier for you. A great way to develop time management skills is to avoid multitasking and focus on one task at a time. This way, you can improve productivity and concentration.
- Learn to schedule and prioritize
Before taking on a part-time job as an international student, you must assess your schedule. Check your current workload with school and personal commitments. This will help you decide if you can take up more commitments and the number of hours you can realistically dedicate to work without compromising your academic performance. You have to be honest with yourself about your limitations and avoid overcommitting.
- Choose a flexible job
When you decide taking a part-time job is the right decision for you, look out for flexible roles to ease your study and work plan. Explore job boards or other career services offered by your university to connect with jobs that fit your schedule. You can find on-campus jobs with flexible hours or off-campus jobs with employers who understand the needs of students.
- Communicate your limitations with your employers
The best way to effectively manage your time while working part-time is communication. You have to discuss your availability and limitations with your employer. This will help them set realistic expectations for you and arrange a flexible work arrangement when necessary. Many international students can reduce stress and effectively balance study and work simply by communicating their availability with their employers.
- Build a strong support system
Navigating the challenges of study and work is easier with a strong support system. Working part-time while handling academic commitments can get overwhelming. This is why you need to have a strong support system. Build relationships with coursemates, alumni, academic advisors or even other students with similar situations. A strong support system will provide the encouragement you need and help you navigate tough decision-making situations you may face.
- Take care of your physical and mental Health
Prioritize self-care and rest periods. Having stable mental and physical health goes a long way in helping you manage the demands of study and work. While it can get tempting to work many hours to support yourself financially, you need to strike a balance. Stressful work hours can lead to burnout and eventually harm your academic performance. Making time in your weekly or monthly schedules to relax and recharge will help improve your general productivity.
Your study abroad journey comes with the opportunity to gain valuable experience and develop useful skills for your dream career. By understanding the limitations of your student visa and improving your time management skills, you’ll be able to find a balance between the demands of study and work while taking care of your health and personal commitments.
Preparing to study abroad can be overwhelming. If you need further guidance on degree options, application requirements and schools to apply to for your degree or counselling regarding the best master’s degree program for you, please click here to chat with our counsellors.
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