Side Hustle: Top Opportunities for International Students to Make Money

Are you a student in financial difficulty? Have you ever searched the deepest and darkest corners of the internet for answers on “How to make money fast”? Are you getting sucked into a maelstrom of spam advertising that has absolutely nothing to do with your life? Becoming a sugar baby is out of the question – so where else can you look to get the much-needed cash?

Don’t worry, we’ve done the research so you don’t have to. With students struggling financially abroad, we understand it’s a tough world. Add in a pandemic and we know how much effort it takes to keep up with cash flow issues.

A good starting point to solve this problem is to find a job. Whether small, large, full-time or freelance, it’s up to you. However, make sure they comply with the laws of the country you are in and respect your student visas.

In the US it is F1 visa rules should give you clear instructions on the dos and don’ts. To work in the UK you likely have one Tier 4 visawhich is also associated with certain restrictions. In Canada, explore those Canadian study permit the type of jobs and hours you are eligible for. When in Australia you can work 20 hours a week during school hours and work as long as you want during the school holidays (Pro Tip: Picking fruits is a great way to get paid there).

Let us guide you through the legal ways you can make some money as an international student:

Rental of real estate

If you own real estate or rooms, you can rent them out to earn additional income. This is common, but it is usually done by paying a fee to a management company so that you don’t have to deal with tenants yourself. God knows you don’t need to bother while chasing the deadlines!


A great way to generate income is to invest. If you are gifted with a sixth financial sense and the ability to predict the stock market, this is another legal way to make money. And who knows? You could push your way onto Wall Street at the bottom.

A chart is pictured before the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on November 14, 2019 in New York City. Source: Johannes Eisele / AFP)

As long as you don’t have a say in companies you have a stake in and you don’t make too many trades, you don’t have to worry about getting into trouble. You will still make a profit and your costly dream of owning Bitcoin can finally come true!

To write

Do you consider yourself Ernest Hemingway? Another popular and legal way to make money is to become a freelance writer. You can make a pretty penny if you are good at and develop good rapport with editors.

While the US doesn’t allow F1 visa holders to submit books, manuscripts, etc. for publication and profit, nothing prevents you from filing in other countries like the UK.

Writing can be a source of therapy and a source of income. Source: Luis Acosta / AFP

Contests and Paid Surveys

Do you have the lucky charm? A fun way to earn some extra cash is to compete in as many competitions as you can – winning something small is still considered a win. Having the option to keep or sell whatever you win – wouldn’t that be great?

PAID SURVEY! CLICK HERE! PAID SURVEY! CLICK HERE! No, click there. Paid surveys are one way to add some cash to your account – make sure you get a separate email to avoid getting a large number of spam emails anytime soon. You will be surprised how many paid survey websites are available in each country and if you are a regular surveyor the amount of coins will add up.

Freelance online work

In one minute you are eagerly reading the Tattletales From Tanqueray on “Humans of NY”, in the next moment you are on “Youtube” and watch videos of hot chicken mukbangs – the internet can be a mean black hole of distraction, procrastination and of misinformation.

However, if you are good at working online – graphic design, social media, blogging, and the like – freelance work might be for you. With an entrepreneurial mindset, companies will definitely have access to your freelance skills. It also gives you the option to build your resume while having a flexible schedule.


Don’t worry if you don’t have a formal teaching qualification. If you have excellent grades, you can help parents who are usually looking for college students to educate their children. In the UK, you could be making £ 20 an hour or more.

Tutoring can bring you a great deal of extra income if you have the patience. Source: Ethan Miller / Getty Images / AFP

Additionally, when you complete a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course, you can prepare for job opportunities around the world. It’s also a great way to expand your savings and explore different cultures on your trips abroad.

Participate as a paid volunteer

Do you feel like being a guinea pig? Participation in a focus group, clinical trial, or other similar experiment will usually provide cash, food, and drinks. Since this is paid volunteer work, there are no legal issues here. Imagine being part of a group of testers finding the cure for the coronavirus!

Dog walks or babysitting

Last but not least, another easy way to expand your bank account is to babysit or take your dog for a walk. You’d have to juggle your curriculum, but it’s something that could bring in a lot of extra cash with little effort.

Walking the dog, a fun way to make some extra cash. Source: Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images / AFP

There are several ways to avoid the bush when starting your life as a young, independent adult at a university abroad. On the flip side, if you keep your eyes peeled and ears peeled among the multitude of money-making opportunities, you can easily find options for some profitable sideline activities. Remember to always research the dos and don’ts of your location!

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