5 top tips for international students who want to work part-time

Considering working part-time while studying in London? London can be a fantastic city for international students, but the cost of living can add up. Many students find part-time work allows them to explore the city more fully. However, balancing work and studies can be a challenging art. MSc Public Health student Emma offers some helpful tips on finding a part-time job that might fit your needs. It's worth considering her advice before you begin your search.
Emma Rogers

Hi everyone! My name is Emma, and I’m an international student studying the MSc Public Health at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). I’m currently a full-time student and a part-time employee, having worked between 10-20 hours a week in the hospitality sector throughout the school year. I wanted to share some advice about managing these two commitments for those of you who are considering doing the same next year.

Tip 1 - Give yourself time to settle before seeking employment

LSHTM is a demanding institution, and regardless of your academic background, it will likely take a few months for you to adjust to your new workload. Furthermore, the first few months at LSHTM is the prime time to forge friendships with your classmates that will last for the rest of the year (and maybe even after).

I therefore don’t recommend getting a job in Term 1 (i.e. October to December), and instead advocate for waiting until Term 2 (i.e. January to March) or even Term 3 (i.e. April to September).

Tip 2 - Understand your visa restrictions

This tip applies only to international students who enter the UK on a student visa. It’s important to note that most student visa holders are legally restricted to working 20 hours a week (starting on Monday and ending on Sunday) during term time, but are able to work full time during official vacation periods. The official term dates for 2024-2025 can be found on the LSHTM website.

Although this at first may seem restrictive, I can promise you that you do not want to be working more than 20 hours a week as a full-time student! Understand the legality of working on a student visa.

Tip 3 - Find a job close to (or at) LSHTM

To save time on commuting, I recommend finding a job within walking distance of LSHTM, especially if you’re living in student accommodation close to the School. For example, LSHTM is only a 15-minute walk away from Soho, the undisputed centre of London dining and nightlife. I’ve had two jobs in Soho during my time in London, one as a cloakroom attendant at a nightclub, and one as an operations assistant in an escape room. There are hundreds of businesses in Soho, many of which are looking for part-time and temporary workers at any given time, so I recommend looking here if you’re interested in working in the hospitality sector.

A map showing the distance between LSHTM and Soho in London.
LSHTM is only a 15-minute walk to the centre of Soho.

Tip 4 - Create a schedule that works for you

The first job I had in London was a serving position in Mayfair that had me working 11am - 8pm every Saturday and Sunday. I was also in class 9am - 5pm from Monday to Friday, meaning that I ended up having very little time to explore London, see my friends, or relax by myself.

I ended up quitting that job and finding the cloakroom attendant position in Soho, which typically had me working 6pm - 2am every Thursday and Friday. I found that moving my schedule around, even though some days ended up being longer, vastly improved my mental health and made it easier for me to achieve an optimal work-life balance.

Tip 5 - Don’t forget to take some time off

The combination of studying full-time at LSHTM and working part-time has the potential to lead to burnout. That’s why, regardless of how busy I may be in a given week, I always take the time to do one thing to destress with my friends. I usually set time aside on Saturday nights to do something fun, whether that be miniature golf, darts, or a party. These nights always re-energise me and help me mentally prepare for the upcoming week!

Emma taking some time off both school and work with her LSHTM friends.
Taking some time off both school and work with my LSHTM friends.


Although it’s been challenging at times, working while studying at LSHTM has made me a more resilient, productive and grateful person. I can honestly say that even if it hadn’t been a necessity, I still would have chosen to have a part-time job in some capacity due to the lessons it has taught me. I hope this article has been helpful, and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!