Working part-time as an international student

In the 2020-21 school year, I took on a couple of roles outside of being a student to enrich my educational experiences. Prior to that, despite being actively involved in various extracurricular activities, I was never in a professional setting. Since fall 2020, I have been taking a reduced course load while working part-time for personal and professional development.

My first employment opportunity was through my school – UBC’s Work Learn Program. This program allows current students a chance to apply their knowledge in more practical settings across campus. I work as an Online Project Assistant along with other 11 peers at one of UBC’s Learning Commons, where we solve logistic questions, facilitate workshops, make referrals, and create graphic contents to support UBC student’s academic performance and mental wellbeing. I also work as an undergraduate teaching assistant within my faculty. I support the instructors in course delivery and perform teaching assistant duties including grading and communicating with students.

For me, working part-time has been immensely rewarding. Through these experiences, I’ve been able to expand my comfort zone to become more self aware and reflective. I’m fortunate enough to work with extremely resourceful and kind-hearted supervisors and colleagues, many of whom have become mentors. While taking ownership and responsibility over my work, I’ve expanded my network which has served me well. In fact, networking is the reason why I secured my current positions in the first place. Through cultivating professional skills, I gained confidence and have become more comfortable applying to other jobs.

On average, I work 16-20 hours a week apart from taking courses, volunteering, participating in clubs, and competitions. It can be tiring occasionally, but I do not feel overwhelmed because I truly like what I am doing. Another great thing about working on campus is that your supervisors recognize your responsibility as a student and therefore, your work schedule is very flexible, especially in exam seasons. As for my studies, I still try my very best to achieve excellence by managing my time effectively and being goal oriented. In fact, working while attending school gives me a new sense of purpose, which enhances my school performance.