5 best side hustles for International students <br> (in 2023)

  • Gradstar
  • September 4, 2023
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Are you planning to study abroad after 12th but fear whether you’ll be able to meet the living expenses in a new country with a higher cost of living? Side hustles can help you cope with the high cost of living abroad. Today, we have 5 ideas for lucrative side hustles for international students.

Why is it a good idea to have side hustles?

International students must invest their time in developing skills, gaining work experience, and earning extra cash on the journey. That’s exactly what side hustles bring in.

Generally speaking side hustles are a good idea for the following reasons:

  • Reduced dependence on external financial credit sources, reducing debt and an added sense of financial independence.
  • Enhanced networking opportunities to enable you to land your dream job.
  • New skills development beyond academic skills.
  • Interaction with locals, immersing yourself in the local language and culture.

5 best side hustles for International students

These 5 side hustles will not just get you some extra money but also help you explore your interests while developing valuable life skills:

1. Tutoring

Would you like to share your advanced level knowledge in a particular subject area and teach young kids or college juniors? If yes, tutoring may be the right choice for you.

And the best part? You’ll have the flexibility in choosing your hours, subjects, mode of teaching, and sometimes pay rate.


  • Subject-specific knowledge
  • Strong communication skills
  • Patience
  • Adaptability
  • Organizational skills

Pay scale

There’s no fixed pay as a tutor, which is excellent news. Why? Because the pay is not usually capped and will depend on your skills and subject expertise. For instance, you can earn around £15.39 by tutoring for an hour in the UK. Rates will vary by country, subject area and age of the student you are tutoring.

How to get started?

You can start tutoring students in person or via online teaching platforms like Cambly, Preply, PalFish, and other platforms available on the internet.

2. Freelancing

Do you have strong skills and expertise in graphic design, video/photo editing, coding, writing, or social media management? Well, it’s time to capitalize on it via freelancing while you study abroad. That means you provide such services online to people who need them in exchange for a fee.


  • Field expertise–graphic designing, writing, or social media marketing, for instance
  • Client acquisition and management
  • Time management
  • Unparalleled work ethics
  • Self-discipline
  • Problem-solving capabilities


You can charge based on your expertise, work area, qualifications, and market rate. New freelancers can earn around $20/hour in the US on average, while freelancers in specialized fields such as marketing, legal, accounting, and web development can make an average of $28 average.

How to kickstart?

You can easily find freelance gigs on professional network platforms like LinkedIn or popular freelance websites such as Upwork, Freelancer, and PeoplePerHour.

3. Content creation

Now here comes a popular option for all you Gen-Z’s – content creation. There is high demand for new and engaging content so if you have a flair for content creation you can easily start making money by unleashing your creative side. Here are 2 options:

1. Get paid to create visually rich content for different brands using simple tools like Adobe Creative Suite or Canva.

2. Start creating content to build your personal brand and earn via brand collaboration, advertising revenue, launching your own products/services, or affiliate marketing.


  • Creativity
  • Research (updated with trends)
  • Attention to detail
  • Editing
  • Hands-on experience with content creation tools
  • Graphic designing and writing (blogging, copy writing)


Content creators get paid based on their experience and the type of content they create. However, the average pay rate will vary on how engaging the content is.

How to kickstart?

To build your own brand while studying abroad, start creating content on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Pinterest. You can also find clients on LinkedIn or freelancing platforms who require content creation services. Or ask your university if they would like you to create content for their social pages and website.

4. Market research

Can you spare an hour or two in your day to complete some surveys or participate in a focus group? If yes, you must opt for this side hustle while studying abroad.

Numerous companies conduct market research for new product launches and to understand their customers better. This is a perfect way to make some money and it is usually well paid!


  • Basic computer skills
  • Effective communication
  • Attention to detail
  • Patience
  • Rule abiding attitude
  • Strong time management


The average pay for market research depends on your platform and the number of hours or surveys you complete. For instance, you can earn $50-$250 per survey or focus group.

How to kickstart?

Google market research jobs in the city you are in and see what you can sign up for.

5. Uber driving

Imagine driving in a foreign country, with flexibility in the hours you drive and getting paid for it. Does this excite you? If yes, your best bet is to become a part-time Uber driver while studying abroad. On top of it, you’ll get a chance to have interesting conversations with people from all walks of life and help them reach their destinations!

Skills and requirements

  • Relevant driver’s license
  • Robust driving skills
  • Basic knowledge of traffic rules and regulations
  • Proficient navigation skills
  • Efficient customer service


You get paid for the trips that you do so the more you drive the more you earn.

How to kickstart?

To drive with Uber you must complete the application process and you will need your own car or to lease a car. The car must be assessed by Uber and be in good condition.

Wrapping Up

Moving abroad as an international student can be overwhelming and keeping up with the growing expenses of tuition fees, accommodation expenses, living costs, leisure and medical expenses can be difficult. Earning additional income to support you while you are studying can minimise the stress so you can enjoy life and live the life you want.

Reduce other stresses of moving abroad such as course selection, English test preparation, housing (Explore the kind of accommodation international students prefer), and more by trusting our best study abroad experts at Gradstar. We’ll hand-hold you through the backend work while saving time and money. So, what’s the wait for? Book a personalized appointment with our best overseas student experts today!