How to use your language skills to make you money
Turn your language skills into financial gain. Source: Dmitri Popov/Unsplash

Studying overseas is a highly rewarding endeavour, but we’d be lying if we said it didn’t come with unique challenges. High up on that list is the language barrier.

Chances are you’ll encounter a few confusing moments if your university doesn’t deliver in your first language. But rather than seeing it as an obstacle to student life, you can turn it into one of your greatest assets.

Being fluent in another language sets you apart and represents an invaluable skill you can easily turn into financial gain.

To cover the cost of living, help you out with tuition fees or just give you a little extra pocket money, here’s how you can use your language skills to make money:

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Study buddy

Whatever your mother-tongue, there’s bound to be someone at your university who wants to learn – possibly even a whole cohort of students if your uni offers a course in it.

This can be a great opportunity to be a tutor, or for a more casual setting, a conversation buddy. The pay for this can be lucrative too, with some tutors charging as much as US$60 an hour. Probably best not to price yourself out of the market though so be sure to check out what others are charging before you set your rate.

You can advertise at your Students’ Union or in the university newspaper. It’s also worth contacting language departments directly.

If you want to look beyond just students, you can advertise online or sign up to an agency who will help connect you with clients.

If you want even more convenience, you can always tutor online from the comfort of your living room. Sessions can be conducted over Skype or Facetime – all you need is an internet connection and you’re good to go!

Create learning resources

There’s a big demand out there for good quality language learning resources, such as quizzes, worksheets and games.

Schools, companies and interested learners will pay tutors to develop creative learning resources. These could include pretty much anything you can dream up. Grammar notes, vocabulary lists, recorded audio lessons and e-books.

You can sell them from your own website or go directly to the client and see if they’re interested.

Become a tour guide

Once you’ve lived in your adopted city for a while, why not put your local knowledge to good use and share it with your fellow countrymen.

Being a tour guide can be great fun and you’ll get to meet all sorts of people along the way. It’s easy enough to set up yourself; all you need a solid grasp of local sites and history and you’re good to go!

But even easier than that is joining up with a readily-established tour group. Chances are they’ll jump at the chance to work with someone with your language prowess.

You don’t even have to do the ‘guiding’ – you can always just tag along with another guide and act as an interpreter.

Freelance translations

Given the international nature of business these days, the demand for bilingual people to translate material is booming.

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Full book translations are probably a bit too much to take on while you’re studying, but businesses are often looking for people to translate text for websites and marketing material.

Securing work often comes through word of mouth, but It’s worth going directly to companies or signing-up to a temp agency who will be able to find you occasional jobs as they come through.

Remember – clients don’t have to be local. Reach out to people online and see if they require your services.

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