Did you know that international students can work part time during their Australian study experience? The Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection allows student visa holders to work up to 40 hours per fortnight, providing many advantages and allowing you to get more out of your time down under. We explore five advantages of taking on work experience during your course.
1. Extra income
If you find paid work (course placements and some internships are unpaid), one of the greatest benefits is receiving extra income — whether it’s to cover social catch-ups after class or help you travel around Australia during holiday breaks. Most Australian students take on casual or part-time work during their studies, typically in the retail and hospitality industries, but paid opportunities are available in some fields. Just remember: they’re very competitive! Before seeking work, refer to the Fair Work Ombudsman’s information for international students. You can also speak to your course coordinator or employment office on campus for help with internships and course-related placements.
2. English language improvement
If you’re not a native speaker, working in Australia will allow you to improve your English language skills (particularly in service industries). You will get out of your ‘comfort zone’ by using English out of the context of academic study, ensuring you grow your vocabulary. Get started by learning about Aussie slang.
3. Improved résumé
Whether you find a placement in a law firm or serve customers at your local takeaway shop, you will learn valuable workplace skills — from handling money and chatting with customers to working in a team and managing your time. The latter are known as ‘soft skills’ and are very important to potential employers, showing that you will succeed in your role and work effectively in the workplace.
4. Industry networking
Ever heard that it’s who you know, not what you know? While this phrase isn’t always the best advice, it does help to start making contacts during your studies. If you are able to secure a position relevant to your course, as well as putting your new skills into practice you’ll form a valuable network — whether it’s through freelance writing for communications, babysitting or childcare centre work for teaching, or market research for business. Unable to secure relevant work? Chat to your lecturers and tutors, and stay in touch beyond graduation.
5. Social opportunities
Working a casual or part-time job is a great way to socialise away from campus, while also helping you get your mind off study. This will help you develop greater independence (particularly if you have left home for the first time) and find a new circle of friends, while also providing greater insight into Australian culture. Plus… you never know who might be able to provide an industry contact to boost your post-graduation job search.