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Side Bustle Ideas for International Students

Moving to a new country can be overwhelming. For international students, the main concerns related to money are personal expense management and generate enough income to support themselves. Even if you get a stipend or a nice amount of pocket money, you still need a little extra cash for those fun weekends and exploring the country.

It is difficult to hold a full-time job for international students in the United States due to several visa restrictions. Also, there is a time constraint as you have to focus on your studies.

A scramble is the answer. These part-time jobs are a good way to prepare yourself for the world after school. As a bonus, money management helps you better manage your budget, invest and save.

Here are the top 5 ideas for making money online as an international student in the USA:

1. Content Writing

Do you have a gift for storytelling? If so, this is the right solution for you. Contact some companies or go online to find writing gigs. All you need is a device, internet and skills.

This will help you gain experience and earn some decent money. Network in colleges and in your environment to reach clients and work. You might even land a dream job while researching different clients online. It’s a sustainable option if you’re willing to put in consistent effort.

Look for opportunities on freelancing or crowdsourcing platforms such as,, and Upwork.

2. Online tutoring

As a student, you have mastered a subject, skill or area. You can put this knowledge to good use and mentor young kids or your college juniors in exchange for online fees.

If someone is looking for a personal tutor in person, you can also offer your services offline. Many students provide home tutoring to neighborhood children who stay with working parents. Look for opportunities on your bulletin boards or search for them online.

3. Stock trading

Investing in the stock market is a lucrative channel to earn massive returns, but is subject to market risk. To get the right knowledge and financial savvy, start taking online courses, join college clubs with similar interests. The first step here is research, learning and networking.

Gain comprehensive knowledge of stock markets, investments, returns, and then apply that knowledge in a practical way. Choose a safe business first and invest regularly to reap greater profits. Don’t invest blindly, follow the right strategies to make your business successful.

4. E-commerce store

Can you make delicious cupcakes? Or prepare delicious meals? Or weave scrunchies? Then sell them. You can reach massive audiences and sell your creative work with social media.

All you have to do is market your product. You can also turn this side hustle into a full-fledged business in the future. In any case, it will always make a great entry on your CV.

5. Paid surveys

Signing up as a surveyor for paid surveys is a healthy channel to earn money. Choose one of the platforms and sign up with your email. Complete surveys regularly and earn rewards from the comfort of your couch.

Also, watch out for some companies that regularly conduct surveys and pay out a handsome sum to participants. Popular sites for online surveys are Survey Junkie, and BrandedSurveys.

Read: Can international students work while studying in the United States?


5 Ideas to Make Money Offline as an International Student in the USA

1. Hospitality

If restaurants in your college neighborhood aren’t hiring, food outlets like McDonald’s and Dominos are still looking for part-time employees. You can get a position for the weekend or during a high season to earn a side income.

You can either wait at the tables or work behind the cashier. They pay enough money and you will earn tips from customers.

2. Tour Guide

As a student, you would like to explore the country or the city. Tourists arrive by the hundreds in foreign countries quite frequently. Knowing the city well enough or learning as you explore it is a big plus as you can become a tour guide. On weekends, take tourists into the city.

Show them underrated places or take them to a local restaurant for some authentic cuisine. It’s an amazing way to earn money and meet new people every week.

You can also have the freedom to choose your rates and get paid accordingly. It will be a great opportunity to meet new people and engage in distinct conversations.

3. Child care

If you love children then this is the perfect job for you. Most working parents are looking for people who can take care of their baby during their office hours.

It’s a flexible and fun job to do. Also, the pay is really good if you know how to negotiate. You can also connect with a native family when you stay alone as a student there. You can hone your soft skills and earn a lot of money here.

4. Work on campus

Some universities offer on-campus work. It is mainly offered on a part-time basis to students. You can approach your administration and look for opportunities online. There are various jobs available in the university itself.

Talk to the relevant person about potential positions. The admissions office or student aid office should be able to guide you. Earning money on campus is the most efficient use of time and travel expenses. Plus, you’re on campus, soaking up all the vibe.

5. Find roommates

You can sublet a room if you have rented an apartment or shared a room. It depends on how comfortable you are with the arrangements.

Most colleges don’t have enough on-campus living options for all new students, and many students are looking for cheaper housing.


As an international student, you have many options for generating passive income. These channels are mostly flexible and can do wonders for you. All you have to do is identify your skill set and monetize it in the right direction. Choose one of these ways to start and work your way up as you gain experience and expertise.

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