Why international students need to start freelancing right now

freelance jobs
Work from anywhere in the world and between lectures when you opt to become a freelancer. Source: Alex Wong/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Vacations are over, and school is back in session. For international students everywhere, this means surviving on tight budgets, not buying that really cute shirt you’ve been eyeing for a while at H&M, and cancelling expensive weekend brunch plans all to save a few bucks. It’s dreadful, but what if we told you there was a way students can make their own money without having to intern or opt for a nine-to-five?

Lucky for you, we live in the 21st century — which means the future of the workplace is something called the gig economy. This does not just refer to temporary and flexible work structures within organisations, but it also means freelance jobs, where you don’t have to be attached to a particular company to earn money.

The good news about freelancing is, the more hours you put in, the more money you get! Similarly, if you take on project after project, you’ll end up earning more than you would at an office. Wondering what it takes to be a freelancer or an independent contractor? Here are some of the best freelance jobs available for students:

freelance jobs

Freelance jobs can be found on websites like Fiverr, Freelancer.com and Rockerstop. Source: Chris Delmas/AFP

Freelance jobs for international students

Social media marketing

Average pay: US$25 an hour

Consider yourself a social media addict? Know the best ways to use Canva and plan posting schedules during the optimum hours of the day? Just brush up a few other skills like SEO, SEM, and navigate the algorithms of the most popular social media channels today, then you have yourself the option to go down the social media marketing route.

Many startups and brands out there have good products and missions, but can’t appeal to their target market or even a younger audience. It’s up to you to fill that gap and tell their story for them. 


Average pay: US$27 an hour

When you were in school, were there any subjects you were passionate about to the point where you read the textbooks from cover to cover? Or a subject that you weren’t that excited about but just can’t help but achieve good grades for? It’s time to unearth your potential as a teacher and start advertising your services to students in your area.

The best thing about freelancing as a tutor is that you get to teach other kids and helping them perform well in their studies is a motivator like no other. Most if not all find satisfaction in helping others succeed, and you will too when your student comes home with an A. 

freelance jobs

Copywriting is an art, and those who master it can earn some really big bucks on the side. Source: Joseph Eid/AFP


Average pay: US$33 an hour

Have a flair with words? If you know how to simplify terms and explain a lengthy issue or event in just a few simple words or condense an entire company’s mission into a three word slogan like Nike’s “Just do it,” perhaps copywriting is for you.

Copywriters are in demand, and for good reason — startups and businesses are popping up like mushrooms since the pandemic started. As more people realise the benefits of entrepreneurship and the freedom that comes with owning a business, the need for a copywriter to set the pace for brands has increased.

Data entry

Average pay: US$24 an hour

A menial task that is somewhat laborious but also takes little to no skill, just attention to detail? If this intrigues you, consider applying for freelance jobs in the field of data entry, where you take charge of the copious amounts of data companies need organised but have no one to dump the task on.

While the job itself is not that hard, it might be a good idea to learn how to work your way through Excel and pick up on some research skills before you attempt at becoming a data entry assistant.

freelance jobs

Design a company’s logo and your work lives on forever. Source: Fayez Nureldine/AFP

Graphic design

Average pay: US$28 an hour

Another win for creatives when it comes to freelance jobs — graphic designers have and always will be in demand. If you have an eye for detail and have mastered design softwares like Canva, Adobe Photoshop, or Coral, then chances are you may find work in either graphic design or illustration. 

All you need to kickstart your career in design is to have an existing portfolio and blast your resumes to every freelance site there is online. Your CV and portfolio will do the pitching for you.


Average pay: US$28 an hour

Those who are bilingual or speak more than just one language are in luck, especially if they are fluent in both. The mastery of two or more languages and the ability to translate text from one language to another pays well. 

As a translator, your only requirement is to know the ins and outs of both your mother tongue and your second language. Though the rule of thumb is to generally translate into the language you’re more proficient in, opportunities double when you are equally confident to translate to and from both the languages you speak.