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University of Bath

International students: experience and part-time work

Find out about options for gaining work experience as an international student.

Benefits of gaining experience

Employers worldwide believe that students gain more than academic qualifications from university. Different experiences develop skills and achievements that will enhance your employability and competitiveness in the job market, both in the UK and overseas. Applying for work experience also provides an excellent opportunity to learn and practice the job-hunting and application skills that you will need when applying for permanent roles.

How to find experience

To find out about the different ways that students gain work-related experience, take a look at TARGETjobs and read their article on Your work experience options.

MyFuture is a key source of paid and voluntary work experience opportunities with organisations keen to recruit Bath students.

For part-time work opportunities both on campus and in the Bath area, check SU Jobs.

Besides work-related experience there are many other activities that give you the chance to develop new skills, meet new people and practice your English language skills:

Voluntary work

  • Activities are wide-ranging, e.g. helping to organise and run a fundraising event, working in a charity shop, mentoring young people.
  • UK employers value students with experience of volunteering because it demonstrates commitment, motivation and it supports the development of transferable skills like teamwork, communication and adaptability.
  • For information on how you can volunteer, visit the Students' Union Volunteering Office in 1 East Room 3.14, email, or look at the Volunteering pages.

Clubs and societies

UK employers don’t want to employ graduates who have spent all their time studying. Learn about the huge range of clubs and societies at the University on the Students' Union website.

Enterprise activities

  • Skills Training in the Students' Union offers a range of courses to help you develop the transferable skills that employers want.
  • Bath Entrepreneurs is a pioneering group ideal for anyone interested in running their own business or finding out more about entrepreneurship.
  • Enactus is an international, student-led society. It aims to use the power of business to make a difference in society.

Maximising your chances

Our helpsheet Maximise your chances of success, a guide for international students explains the most common reasons why students fail to gain employment. Here are some tips that relate to finding part-time work:

  • Use the support available to you from SU Jobs to help you find part-time work.
  • Produce a CV for part-time work applications. Focus on skills and experience that the employer will find interesting and reduce less relevant information. For information about UK-style CV writing, come to a workshop or read our Application, CV and cover letter guide.
  • Start early and use a variety of sources to look for work. Check the job notice boards at supermarkets, make informal enquiries at shops, cafes, hotels and restaurants, and ensure that your friends know that you are looking for a job. Many people hear about opportunities through people they know.
  • Be persistent, and be realistic about the sort of work you might find. Part-time jobs may not be related to your career plans, but will still provide useful experience to boost your CV.
  • Respect that some employers (especially small businesses) might not have experience of recruiting international students and therefore might be cautious about breaking the rules. If you know the rules about your ability to work in the UK, you can provide information to potential employers if they need it. It may help to show employers your eligibility to work as explained on the UKCISA website, and your permission to work vignette/stamp in your passport.

Visa restrictions

As an international student, there are certain restrictions on whether you can work whilst you study and, if you can, how much you can work. The immigration rule that limits the hours you can work is very strict. If you work more hours than you are allowed, you risk being sent home by the immigration authorities. Remember that any restrictions apply to both paid and unpaid work. Note that any voluntary work that an employer counts as 'unpaid employment' rather than 'volunteering' will count towards your total of working hours.

National insurance and tax

If you have a paid job while in the UK you will have to pay income tax and national insurance (unless your earnings are below a certain level).

UK citizens are given a national insurance number at age 16. If you want to work while you are in the UK you will need to apply for a national insurance number.

The SU Jobs page Got a job provides further information on tax and national insurance and how to obtain your own national insurance number.

Further information

Information on student jobs and paying tax can be found on the website.

Other pages on international students