Working part-time while studying is one of the oldest student dilemmas in the book. Sometimes, you have no choice but to work and study simultaneously! Student Ambassador Souvik Basu debates the pros and cons of working while studying overseas giving us some interesting insights into the topic…

Part-time Jobs vs Up-Skilling: An International Student’s Dilemma 

One of the top three questions I had before reaching Ireland was – How do I get a part-time job easily? I contacted several University alumni to get a succinct answer to this. Although I got a wide array of suggestions, one of the most predominant ones was – Do you really want to do a part-time job during your postgraduate year? Although I should have considered the question a bit more seriously, but back in August I was sure that one of the first things I do after reaching Ireland would be to get a part-time job.  

Once I reached Ireland, I quickly realised that I was not an anomaly. Most international students have a similar mindset. Get a part-time job to manage everyday expenses and make the university experience a bit more comfortable. One of the predominant justifications for this being – “Everyone does it, why shouldn’t I?”   

I am a full time Marketing student at Maynooth University and from the moment I received the offer letter, I started researching what student life in Ireland will be all about. I wanted to make sure that I was well prepared for all the challenges that I might face in the upcoming months, the final goal being utilising my time in the best possible way to get a good job post course completion.  

My initial plan like most students here was to get a part time job so that I can make some additional money which might make my stay in Ireland more comfortable. The minimum per hour wage here in Ireland is 10.5 euros and the average pay being 12 euros. As you are allowed to work 20 hours a week, an individual can make around 240 euros a week and 960 euros a month through a part time job.  

Usually out of the 9 months of college if we remove the time that goes for exams and study breaks, it leaves us with around 6 months. So, the maximum that someone can earn doing a part time job in this duration comes to 5,760 Euros (960*6) approximately.   

Going for an intensive course requires immense dedication and regular up-skilling if you are trying to get a job offer by the time you complete your course. There is a lot of work which needs to be managed to be a suitable candidate in this highly competitive job market. You also need to simultaneously skill up to get that dream job. The average salary that you can earn in Ireland doing a full-time job is around 2,500 if not more and in 6 months you earn more than double that you will from a part time.  


Pros of a Part-time Job 

  1. You can meet new people outside your university groups and get to know new cultures.  
  1. The salary that you earn can be utilised for going out, having fun and occasional traveling.  
  1. You can eat outside as many students find eating out expensive.  


Cons of a Part-time Job 

  1. Can drain you physically which may end up hampering your grades in college.  
  1. Coordinating with project groups becomes an obstacle due to lack of time flexibility.  
  1. Up-skilling and participating in university events might become challenging.  
  1. It might lead to a delay in getting a full-time job in your domain post course completion.  


Side note- if you manage to get a part time job that is related to your field of work or the industry that you are trying to secure a full-time job in, you should go for it.   

It’s very important to choose wisely so that you can utilise your time in the best possible way. I will leave you all with a final food for thought- taking a momentary short-term loss may lead to long term gains.    

Souvik Basu is pursuing a MSc in Strategic Marketing at Maynooth University.