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Should I work while studying abroad?

April 19, 2017 | By | 3 Comments

Whether undertaking a full-time or part-time course, many international students will be faced with the option of taking employment while studying abroad. It’s great for your CV and future job prospects but it can impact study time. Graziele, a Marketing master’s student at the National College of Ireland, debates the pros and cons…

In today’s war of talents and with all the shortage of skills, students must have hands-on experience. Applying for internships, you might have noticed that among with all requirements that the “the successful candidate must have to start working for X company”, employers are also asking for “prior work experience to in a similar role.”  Those that are not well prepared might feel a tremendous difficulty to fit in the job market and get the first experience after graduating. Thinking ahead, students are prioritising to study and work to have the chance to apply all the theory learned as soon as possible. Aware of the job market needs, some universities have incorporated internship programmes into their curriculums to help students gain real-world experience. One of the reasons international students choose Ireland as a destiny to study is the possibility of working while studying.  However, there are few things that one intending to study and work must consider before applying for a job.

Full-time students

Full-time students are expected to be fully committed to their studies, in other words, if you are a full-time student you should not be working while you are undertaking your course. However, that is far from the reality of many of the full-time students that work up to 15 hours during the weekend to have some pocket money to cover any expenses during the week. It is important to point it out that the majority of the students that work on weekends are not working in their field of study. Although taking up casual jobs on the weekend does not compromise student’s performance at college, does not add substantial weight to the resume either. If you are a full-time student, my advice is: take the chance to land a summer internship in your in your chosen industry to add valuable experience on the resume.

Part-time students*

On the other hand, part-time students are those that get the most benefit from studying and working option maintaining a well a life/work balance. As most of the employers are not willing to hire an inexperienced person on a full-time basis, working part time while studying, is one the best ways of gaining specific expertise and training in an unfamiliar job field. It is also the appropriate option if you need to support yourself financially. The main disadvantage is the duration of the courses are longer than the full-time.

*Please note that NON-EU students are not allowed to take up part-time courses in Ireland.

In conclusion, there are advantages to both modes of study. Weighing the pros and cons of full-time versus part-time is vital to making the right decision. Part-time study alongside working can be doubly beneficial, which might be crucial for your job applications and boost your employability. Bear in mind that, working experience is an attribute that employers expects you to have. There is nothing like a real-life taste to develop the academic skills acquired.


  1. faith

    I would love to apply for a partime

  2. I’m a Latin American who had the opportunity to study in the UK and in Finland. Both experiences were extremely rich for me, despite the difference between support I had in these places (in Finland I acted as a researcher and worked in the most supportive environment you can imagine; in the UK I am a PhD student in one of the most qualified universities in the world – in other words, a nobody from the global south). If you have an open mind and seize the most of the experience of studying and living abroad, your worldview will expand enormously and will never be the same again. You will also develop an international network that might enable you to work abroad and engage in worldwide projects.

    But if you are 20s or 30s and still have doubts about having tea with mummy everyday or explore the experience of living in a different part of the world by your own – facing solitude and different forms of solidarity – you should rethink your life. Studying abroad is not only “study in a different country”; it means making part of a different community that was built in other grounds than your society. It enriches your life enormously and trespasses the boundaries of your academic experience.

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