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The Ultimate Guide to Combine Work and Study Living Abroad


Working while studying may seem impossible at just the mention of it. Aside from this, most people would wonder why one would even consider juggling both. It even gets complicated when you're studying abroad. Even so, circumstances may force people to work while still studying, perhaps to cover their tuition fees or even living expenses. Whatever the case, juggling both is possible as we are going to discuss in this article. Thousands have made it regardless of their geographical location and so can you.

The following is a guide on how to combine work and study while living abroad.

1. Consider your Options

Before you embark on anything, you should first consider your options. This includes checking the finer aspects of both your study program and the work opportunity that you have. This consideration should have the ultimate objective of choosing the best alternative. Here are some popular options available in most learning institutions and workplaces:

Part-Time Study or Part-Time Work

At times, all that you need to do to juggle both work and study is easing the burden or perhaps taking off some of the pressure. A perfect way of doing this is by choosing to go in either of the two on a part-time basis. You can work part-time, and while you're off work, you can attend classes. You can also study part-time, and while you're out of class, you report for duty at work. Both scenarios give you an opportunity to reduce the stress of both worlds which in the long run improves your overall performance. A common option in many learning institutions for part-time study is evening classes or night time classes.

Online Classes

Most institutions are embracing distance learning as part of their modes learning. It minimizes physical student-teacher contact by utilizing technology hence saving time and money. If you're working, you can consider this option for your convenience.

Work-Study Programs

This is a program whereby universities offer work opportunities on campus for students. It is a form of financial aid to students so that they can meet some of their immediate needs on campus. Thus, students can attend class conveniently without having to commute. On-campus jobs are an excellent opportunity to also meet and mingle with foreign students. You will be inducted in their circles, and you can benefit a lot by learning their language.


This is a great avenue for work especially when you're abroad. You can literally make a killing out of translation or teaching others to read and write your language. For example, if you're from China and you're a student in the US, you can make use of the opportunity to teach others the Chinese language and earn something out of it.

The above are just some considerations you can make before you embark on work while studying. 

2. What If You Already Have A Job And Your Studies Have Already Started?

The following tips can be of great help:

Proper Time Management

When you're working while studying, you have to face the reality that your typical days are not like everyone's on campus. Thus, it calls for proper time management which involves prioritizing your tasks at the start of the day. Write a schedule where you assign every task with an appropriate time frame for completion, starting from work activities to campus activities. Limit all non-productive activities that may eat up your time. Always have in mind that time is of the essence.

Ensure that you meet the stipulated study hours that your institution gives with a touch of flexibility. For example, if you have to study 35 hours weekly, you don't have to dedicate 5 hours daily. At times, you could cover most of these hours during weekends when it's not an official work day.

Another important thing to take note is all deadlines for assignments. Have a plan of writing academic tasks in ample time to reduce your bulk of work and last minute writing.

Schedule Breaks from Both Worlds

Let's face it. It's quite hard concentrating on both work and study. There are times when you get extremely fatigued while there comes a time you feel like giving up either of the two activities. A good way of overcoming this fatigue and also those thoughts is taking a break from your daily routine even for 30 minutes.

Scheduling such breaks can have an invigorating effect on you. It will recharge your mind and body hence making you more efficient in both work and study.

3. Expectations If You Decide To Pursue both Work and Study Together

What are the expectations you should have especially now that you are working while studying abroad?

  • There might be some extra fees if you choose a work placement program or a study abroad internship program in your institution.
  • There is no way that you can cater for your whole education with part-time employment. At best, what you earn can only serve you as extra spending money.
  • It can also be difficult to balance your work and academics because you're in a new and foreign environment. You will just have to adapt quickly and be willing to take the time to learn.
  • In some foreign countries, you might need a work permit aside from your student visa. You should liaise with your country's embassy in this regard.
  • Your school might also forbid foreign students to work, or they may permit foreign students to work only in certain circumstances. You can check on this requirement with your school administrators.


All in all, you can work while you study abroad. All it takes is a sense of responsibility and time management. It also requires you to be able to adapt to unfamiliar environments. A word of advice though: choose a job that lets you mingle with the locals. The job should give you an opportunity to see and experience a new culture from a non-academic perspective. Besides, you will enjoy the opportunity to earn while still learning and also have a fun experience. All the best with combining the two while living abroad!



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23 October 2020
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