Many African students opt to work while studying in US colleges and universities. Working while studying abroad comes with numerous benefits: not only does it provide an income to cover part of your tuition-related and living costs, but it also gives you a head start in building your professional career.
Unfortunately, international freshman students aren’t allowed to work outside their campuses in the U.S. If you’re hoping to explore work opportunities while studying abroad, therefore, you should have an idea about on-campus jobs for international students.
Let’s take a deep dive into everything you need to know about on-campus jobs for international students in the U.S. We’ll talk about government regulations, the benefits of working on-campus, common on-campus jobs for students and how much they pay, and give you some tips to help you land your first on-campus job.
U.S Government Regulations for International Student Employment
Before engaging in any type of work while studying abroad, make sure that you have full understanding of the government regulations for international student employment.
These regulations are put in place by the U.S. Government to ensure that international students are able to support themselves financially but also to prevent them from taking jobs away from citizens.
Here are key regulations regarding on-campus jobs for international students you must keep in mind:
- F-1 students in their first academic year aren’t allowed to work off-campus
- International students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours per week during regular semesters
- During annual vacation periods when students are not in class, international students may work full time on campus
- On-campus employment can take place on the school’s campus or at an off-campus location that’s educationally affiliated with the school
- Once offered employment, international students must apply for an US Social Security Number
- After graduation or the program’s end date indicated on their application, international students are not allowed to take on-campus jobs
Benefits of On-Campus Jobs for International Students
On-campus jobs can provide a number of benefits for international students in U.S colleges and universities.
If you’re considering getting an on-campus job while studying abroad, think about these benefits:
- Income to cover financial needs: One of the main reasons international students look for on-campus jobs is to help support themselves financially while they are studying in the United States. On-campus jobs typically pay less than off-campus jobs, but they can still provide enough income to help international students cover part of their living expenses.
- Flexibility: On-campus jobs are often more flexible than off-campus jobs, making them a good option for international students who need to balance their coursework with their job. Since the job is on-campus, international students won’t have to worry about commuting, which can be challenging and time-consuming.
- Networking opportunities: On-campus jobs can also provide international students with valuable networking opportunities. By working alongside other students and staff members, they may be able to connect with people who can help them with their academic and career aspirations.
- Valuable Work Experience: On-campus jobs are a good way to gain work experience in a foreign country. Many on-campus jobs are related to students major or field of study. This can be helpful for students who want to start building their skills and work experience to get a head start in the competitive job market.
- Improving Language Skills: On-campus jobs can also provide international students with an opportunity to improve their language skills. By working in an English-speaking environment, they can become more comfortable with the language, which can make it easier for them to communicate with their professors and classmates.
- Sense of belonging: On-campus jobs for international students can help you feel more connected to your campus community, which can alleviate homesickness.
Common On-Campus Jobs for International Students
There are a variety of on-campus jobs that international students can apply for, depending on their skills, interests, and the needs of the school they are attending. Some common on-campus jobs for international students include:
#1. Research Assistant
If you have strong research skills, consider looking for research assistant jobs to help professors and researchers with their projects. Tasks include data collection, data analysis, and other research-related assignments.
According to Zippia, the average hourly wage for undergraduate student research assistants in the U.S in 2023 is $13.21.
#2. Tutor or Teaching Assistant
Many international students are fluent in a second language and can provide tutoring or assist with language classes. Teaching assistants may also help professors in other subjects.
With a teaching assistant job, you can expect to make about $14.51 per hour according to PayScale.
#3. Library Assistant
Do you like hanging out in the library? Becoming a library assistant might be a great on-campus job for you.
Tasks include shelving books, checking out materials, and assisting patrons with research.
On average, student library assistants are paid $12.06 per hour in the U.S.
#4. Office Assistant
You might also be able to get a job as an office assistant in your campus. This job is perfect for students with excellent computer skills.
Office assistants may help with tasks such as answering phones, scheduling appointments, and maintaining records.
On average student office assistants earn $11.86 per hour in the U.S.
#5. Resident Assistant
International students who have strong leadership skills and enjoy helping others may be able to work as a resident assistant in a dormitory.
They may help with tasks such as supervising residents, enforcing dormitory rules, and organizing events and activities.
Student resident assistants earn $12.98 per hour on average.
#6. IT Help Desk Assistant
For those with technical skills and experience on computer systems, help desks are a great opportunity to assist other students and staff members with their computer-related needs.
Students with IT help desk jobs can expect to make around $13.59 per hour in the U.S.
#7. Food Service (Barista, Server, Cashier)
Some international students may work in food service, either in a campus-cafeteria or restaurant. they can be a cashier, kitchen helper, or a server.
Food service jobs in the U.s can fetch international students about $16 per hour on average.
#8. Maintenance and Custodial Jobs
There are jobs that don’t require a specific skill set or language fluency, these jobs may include general maintenance, cleaning, and gardening.
Maintenance and custodial job can earn you around $15 per hour, on average.
Now let’s move on to the fun part: how to find and apply for on-campus jobs as an international student.
Tips for Finding and Applying for On-Campus Jobs as an International Student
Here are a few tips for finding and applying for on-campus jobs as an international student:
- Start by checking with your school’s career center or international student office. They may have information about job opportunities specifically for international students, and they may be able to provide guidance and support throughout the job search process.
- Network with other students, professors, and staff on campus. International students often find jobs through word-of-mouth, so make sure to let people know that you’re looking for work.
- Look for on-campus jobs that are open to all students, regardless of citizenship status. Examples include working as a research assistant, tutoring, or working in a campus library or bookstore.
- Be prepared to provide documentation of your legal right to work in the United States. As and international student, you will be required to provide documentation such as a copy of your student visa and I-20 form.
- Pay attention to the application process. For example, you may be required to submit a resume, cover letter and transcript. Tailor your application to the specific job you are applying for and show them how your skills match with their needs.
- Be patient and persistent. Finding a job can take time, especially if you’re an international student, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t find something right away. Keep searching, and don’t be afraid to apply to multiple positions at once.
- After getting a job, maintain a good communication and a good relationship with your employer. This could open opportunities for more responsibilities, recommendations, references and a better chance for future job opportunities.
- If you have any issue regarding work authorization, work hours or anything regarding your work, contact your school’s international student office for guidance and support. They are there to help you navigate any challenges you may face as an international student.
Overall, finding an on-campus job for international students is a great way to earn some income while studying abroad as well as start building your skills and experience. Getting an on-campus job will also help you make the most of your study abroad experience.
FAQs on On-Campus Jobs for International Students in USA
Can international students work on campus US?
Yes. International students are allowed to work on-campus in the U.S. However, they are only allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week during regular semesters. When schools are on break, they can work full-time on-campus.
What are the most common on-campus jobs for international students?
Common on-campus jobs for international students include:
- Research assistant
- Library assistant
- Tutor or teaching assistant
- Resident assistant
- Food service assistant
How much do on-campus jobs pay in US?
On-campus jobs in the U.S pay around $11.58 per hour on average, according to Zippia.
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