Working on campus as an international student is not always easy. Actually, I would say it is pretty hard. There are plenty of things that might make it harder for you to find or perform a job because of your status as a foreign student in the United States. But fear not! Although there are things that might give you trouble, finding a job and working on campus can be an incredibly rewarding experience, especially for international students.
1. Learn about the United States
There is no better way to learn about your new environment than actually engaging with it. One way to do this is by getting a job on campus. During my two years as an usher at the Eastman School of Music’s Concert Office, I have learned a lot about various aspects of musical culture in the US. One example is things to do and not to do before, during, and after a concert. I don’t think I could have picked up on those nuances in any other way than by being present at numerous performances.
2. Become involved
Working on campus is also a good way to become more involved in student life and extracurricular activities. This is not only fun, but it is also especially cool when you’re trying to navigate campus life. Knowing how things work for certain aspects of campus can not only help a friend when they are stumped by what’s going on, but it can also help you avoid and solve conflicts or misunderstandings that might occur.
3. Meet other people
Although this part is implied by the previous two reasons, it is an important aspect of working on campus that deserves consideration. When you are working on campus, you rarely do this all by yourself. Instead, you are often part of a larger team. This was the case for me as an usher my first two years at the University, and is even more the case now that I work at Starbucks. A single person cannot take someone’s order, make food, and make drinks at the same time. Multiply this by ten, and you see that it is quite literally impossible. So, instead, I have coworkers that help with all of these things. Working together with them has allowed me to get to know my coworkers better, many of whom I would not have met were it not for my job.
4. Add to your resume
Working a job (or a variety of jobs) on campus also lets you gather work experience. This is incredibly helpful when it comes to figuring out what you might want to do in the future, but it is also a big plus when applying to internships for during the school year or over summer break. Even when the job you’re applying for is not exactly (or maybe is the exact opposite of) what you hope to do in life, working a job shows that you are committed to what you do and might help you find something else in the future.
5. Earn money
This part of working on campus is also quite self-explanatory, but it is worth mentioning nonetheless. You are rewarded for your hard work, sometimes in course credits, but more often with money. Although most student jobs on campus are not exactly “high end,” it is a good way to earn some extra cash and maybe buy that t-shirt or DVD you saw browsing through Amazon the other day.
6. Embrace tax season
You may be thinking you don’t want a job because you don’t want to go through all those confusing forms trying to figure out how to file your taxes. But unfortunately, as an international student, you will be filing your taxes regardless of whether you are actually earning money. So you might as well pick one up, since you’ll be filing your taxes anyway.
Of course, there are other advantages to finding a job on campus than the ones I have outlined above. But you wouldn’t know unless you’ve had one yourself!