Top 10 Jobs for International Students

Want to know which jobs are popular with international students? Here are some examples of jobs which suit international students living in the UK!

1. Retail Sales Assistant

This job involves helping customers in the store, dealing with stock and cleaning. It’s probably so popular because of the high turnover rate in retail. It’s a great way to learn English because you have so many interactions with colleagues. In the UK, the lead up to Christmas is a key time to hire – just like in Australia. Seasonal work in retail is therefore very popular and will see that lots of additional staff is required. 

Pros: Flexible working conditions, lots of of time to practice English, chance to interact with locals, usually finish at 5.30pm in smaller cities (but possibly up to 8pm or later in larger cities).

Cons: Relatively low pay rate, early starts, on your feet all day.

2. Administrative Assistant

You could be making coffees, sorting the mail, writing emails, managing calendars, making copies and more. This role is an entry level position in an office environment, and you’ll be usually asked to do pretty repetitive easy jobs.

Pros: Relatively easy work, good working hours (9am-5pm), reasonable pay rates.

Cons: Can be quite boring and monotonous, not a lot of interaction with others.

3. Waiter/Waitress

The ultimate student job, a waiter/waitress will work in a restaurant to ensure hungry diners are left satisfied. You will be cleaning, serving food and drinks, taking bookings, dealing with patrons and more. Some restaurants take customer service very seriously, so the training and the stress involved in this line of work can vary widely.

Pros: Reasonable pay rates, lots of time to practice English, lots of interaction with locals, always busy and rarely bored.

Cons: Long hours can be tiring, some chefs are crazy, not much of a tipping culture in the UK.

4. Kitchen hand

One of the most physically demanding jobs, a kitchen hand will wash dishes and do easy food preparation tasks in a restaurant’s kitchen. You are often the last to leave the restaurant as you will be scrubbing pots while the waiting staff finish.

Pros: Reasonable pay rates, time goes quickly because you’re so busy, you keep your muscles strong!

Cons: Long hours can be tiring, some chefs are crazy, not a lot of conversation, can be a stressful environment.

5. Bartender

This is the job for those that enjoy talking to strangers, like making cocktails and have a strong work ethic. For this job you need to be tolerant of drunk people, be able to work long hours but also not take yourself too seriously in order to get along with customers and fellow staff. This can be a great way to engage with British culture, as the local pub in particular is a great way to get to know locals and forms an essential part of British life.

Pros: Good pay rates, fun atmosphere, great way to practice English and interact with locals/become part of a local community.

Cons: Long hours, have to deal with drunk people (who can become difficult!), can get very boring on a slow night.

6. Call Centre Staff

No other job will give you this much English practice. Your job is to be on the phones all the time, either selling something or helping people through customer service. Many international students quite enjoy this line of work, and it’s the Insider Guide’s pick of the lot! 

Pros: Excellent pay, flexible working conditions, often a fun work atmosphere, good way to practice English.

Cons: You have the same conversation hundreds of times a day, no physical activity.

7. Customer Services Officer

This job was invented for those that are good with people. Your job is to deal with customers complaints, requests, specifications, issues and more. If you take this job, your job will be to be the bridge between the company and the customer, which can be challenging but also quite rewarding.

Pros: More mentally stimulating that other jobs, good place to start if you are looking for a better job in the organisation, reasonable pay rates.

Cons: Mistakes can result in big problems for the company, can be stressful.

8. Cleaner

This is a job for those that don’t mind night shifts, low interaction with people and hard work. Big companies employ hundreds of cleaners and then assign them to office blocks to clean each night.

Pros: Not a lot of communication required (if you don’t speak English well), not overly complicated.

Cons: This industry has issues with exploitation of workers (so be careful), often have to work at night, you don’t get to practice English or interact much with others.

9. Receptionist

Your job is to welcome guests, assist with administrative duties, book flights, prepare meeting rooms and more. You are often a company’s first interaction with walk-in guests, so you need to be very professional and punctual.

Pros: Good pay rates, excellent hours (9am-5pm), lots of interactions with people from the company.

Cons: Mundane tasks can be boring, can be very stressful, difficult to manage work load as staff members keep giving you work.

10. Sales Representatives

Not a job for everybody, Sales Representatives require a high resistance to failure (you’ll get rejected a lot) and a very strong work ethic. You may be paid a base wage + commission, or you could be paid just on commission (which we don’t recommend).

Pros: Can earn a high salary if you can close sales, lots of interactions with people make it a good way to learn English and interact with locals.

Cons: You get rejected a lot, may have to work on street corners selling to strangers, can be paid just on commission (which means you don’t get paid unless you sell).