How to Make Money Online as an International Student

The international students are the new generation of the working world. Globally, 18 to 24-year-olds are now likely to work in less traditional jobs than their parents did. In the next five years, there will be a workforce shortage of 1.4 million people  in the UK alone  because of the  ‘Generation rent’  (those born after  1996) who will not have enough money to buy their own homes.  Is studying in another country worth it? Is an international degree worth it? How can an international student make the most of opportunities worldwide? 

In an increasingly globalised world, with countries like China and India producing more graduates than any other, it is not surprising that more and more people are heading for a career in  ‘international development’ . This is a field that explores the role of business and economics in countries where English is not the first language. Many students looking into this option get a taste of life in a  ‘host  country’  whilst obtaining a degree, and then return home to continue their work in a more traditional field. However, for those who are keen to forge a career in this area, there are plenty of opportunities available, and  ‘Generation rent’  are more likely to be attracted to  ‘third world’  countries because of the huge need there, and the lack of opportunity at home. 

As well as providing an opportunity to work in a ‘third world’ country, some courses in development allow students to gain valuable work experience, as partners are often required to do some  ‘fieldwork’ . This could be in a  ‘low-income country’  such as  Togo, where  ‘Generation rent’  are more likely to want to work, or in a  ‘high income country’  like  the UK, where partnerships with local businesses are common and relevant experience can be gained. Indeed, according to a  ‘Global Student Market Report’  from  Pearson ,  “over 42% of university students plan to study in another country following their graduation, with the UK the most popular destination followed by the USA.” 

For those who are considering a career in development, but aren’t sure where to start, here are some of the things you might want to consider…

Traditional vs  ‘New’  Degrees

If you are a  ‘traditional’  student wanting to pursue a career in development, you will first need to decide whether to study in a  ‘high-income country’  like  the UK or US, or in a  ‘low- or middle-income country’  like  Uganda, Ghana or Indonesia. Those studying in low-income countries will have the option of gaining a  ‘new degree’ , such as a  ‘Block Grant Scholarship’ , which means they don’t have to pay back any of the fees.  However, the downside is that, as these are government-funded, there may not be as much opportunity available as there would be if they had to pay for their education themselves.  Some ‘new degree’  programmes are now open to international students, but the demand still outstrips the supply, so you might want to consider going to study in a high-income country where opportunities for you will be greater.

If you are a  ‘new’  student wanting to pursue a career in development, the choice of where to study is a lot more open. You might want to consider the  ‘permawave’  programme  from  Newcastle University, which combines online learning with real-world experience by sending you to  ‘third world’  countries for a year, working with a local NGO on a project that benefits the community and the country you are visiting. 

Working in a Different Country

If you want to pursue a career in development, one of the things you will need to do is to find a job. To do this, you will first want to look at where the need is greatest, and where you can make the most impact. If you are keen to work abroad, many  ‘third world’  countries  will have  ‘mission-oriented universities’  that welcome international students, and whose graduates have a good chance of being placed in well-paid jobs. These are ideal places for you to study, as you will be sure to find a job, and you won’t have to deal with the cultural differences that might come up in practice.

Cultural Differences

If you decide to study in a  ‘third world’  country, you will quickly discover that there are considerable cultural differences between you and the locals. For example, if you are in  Uganda, you will notice that the locals don’t always interact with strangers, and the language is different too. In many cases, the students who flock to these countries do so because they see it as a stepping stone to a career in  ‘international development’ , and for those who come from  ‘high-income countries’, it is often seen as a  ‘gap year’  to  ‘broaden their global experience’ . However, if you want to live a happy and rewarding life, you should not let the cultural differences get in the way of you making the most of your time, as much as possible. If you want to find a job, you should not expect that everyone will speak English, and you should not take too long to ‘adjust’  to  ‘country  living’ .  Studying abroad will give you the chance to experience a  ‘different culture’ , and though it might be hard at first, you will soon see the benefits.

Community Development

Although many will see  ‘community development’  as a rather dull and unglamorous career path, those who go into this field usually end up doing some of the following:

  • Helping to build a sustainable community infrastructure
  • Providing healthcare and education
  • Raising awareness of issues within the community (eg gender equality)
  • Reducing poverty and hunger
  • Saving wildlife
  • Preserving cultural heritage
  • Reducing traffic congestion
  • Combatting climate change

As with any career, once you have gained some experience, you can look for a community development job, which can be a step up the career ladder, or you can decide to go into freelance consultancy, where you will carry out projects for organisations and charities.

Long-Term Contract Or Short-Term Contract

Whichever route you take, you will most likely need to agree on a work structure with the organisation you are working for. If you are taking a long-term contract with a charity, for example, you will need to decide whether you want to take up a full-time or part-time schedule. Many will choose to do a part-time schedule, as it means they can study or do other things in their spare time. However, for those who want to make the most of their experience, a full-time schedule is often favoured, as it means they can spend more time working and less time commuting.

What Will You Study?

Depending on where you are applying for college scholarships, you will be asked to specify what subject you intend to study. Many students are now asking to study  ‘gender’ ,  ‘infrastructure’  or  ‘environmental sustainability’  because these are often seen as the  ‘bread and butter’  of an  ‘international development’  career. If you are looking for a subject that will give you some experience of working in another country, there are a range of possibilities. Many will choose to do a  ‘double-major’  in  ‘International Development’  and  ‘Spanish’ , which many will find useful because  “there is a lot of demand for graduates in  ‘Spanish’ ,  ‘English’  and  ‘German’ , all of which are ‘international language’  and useful for those working in  ‘international development’ .  Indeed, “English is the international language of business.” 

How Is Your Skillset?

If you are looking for a career in  ‘community development’,  the question you need to ask yourself is: do I have the skills necessary to pursue this as a  ‘graduate’ ? You will need to consider a number of things, including: