passive income ideas
As a student, you can upload study related videos, tutorials, book reviews and even institution reviews. Source: Arbi Anugerah/AFP

As an international student dealing with time zone issues, virtual learning, losing jobs because of COVID-19, and many more obstacles, you’re probably dealing with many money problems. With the usual ways of making extra money such as waitressing or working in the student office likely to be out of bounds, what’s an international student to do?

For a start, explore passive income ideas. YouTube is a good option — it is not just a great place for entertainment and information, it’s a platform with several passive income ideas. In short, you can make money here. 

One success story is Parth Vijayvergiya. This popular YouTuber shares videos after videos of useful information for international students in the US. As an international student himself, his views on visas, travelling tips, and so on are a hit among his target audience.

You too can follow in his footsteps. Below we take you through the steps on how to make money on YouTube and other passive income ideas suitable for international students:

How to make money on YouTube

As YouTube’s partner, you’ll make money by receiving revenue for each click or view that an ad placed on your video gets. As a student, you can upload study-related videos, tutorials, book reviews and even university reviews.

If you’re looking to monetise your channel through a paid subscription, you need to regularly update on tutorials and study materials. Pro tip: make sure your videos are actually helpful and of the best quality.

Like all things of value, expect to put in a lot of hard work. You must adhere to the terms and conditions and eligibility criteria. Money-making videos need to be popular so make sure your videos are captivating enough. 

It will be worth it though. For instance, if you’re posting videos on YouTube on physics tutorials and you’ve built a good audience in that process, then institutions and publishing houses might want to advertise their services through your channel which equals … money! 

Alternative passive income ideas

Printing on demand stores is a model in which the items you sell — tailored to your customer’s orders — are manufactured on demand. This means working with a third party manufacturer instead of suppliers and is similar to the dropshipping business. 

Another one on our list of passive income ideas would be to buy burner phones for ads. What does this mean? Basically, use those phones to watch ads all day to generate a small amount of revenue a day, this all adds up and can help you in the long run. 

Next, start a blog. Just like YouTube, this requires a lot of work and good quality content. If you’re a student abroad, write about your classes, travels, reviews on food, and so on. Basically, a diary of sorts. A blog is a great way to get some side money with beginners making about US$100 a month.

If you have patience, why not sell courses? It will also give you practice in your study subject. Platforms like Udemy make it super easy to design, package and sell courses which is something you can do during school breaks. 


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Following up with selling courses, tutoring is a legitimate way to make money and one of the most popular passive income ideas. Sites like Magic Ears can have you earning up to US$26 an hour teaching English. 

Do you have talent in the kitchen? Perhaps as a baker? There’s no need for a restaurant — in fact, one can make do with a simple small electric oven that can be found on most campus dorms. Market your cookies and start taking orders from sweet-toothed customers — easily done on platforms like Instagram. 

The pandemic has hit us hard but the internet is your oyster so take advantage of it and you can start reaping benefits in no time. Good luck!