Not Enought Jobs To Go Around: Opportunities Limited For International Students

You think you have a hard time paying tuition? Try being an international student.

International students pay almost three times the tuition rate of domestic students. This makes finding a well-paying job a must for many international students. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done.

One of the stipulations for student visas is a restriction on working. Specifically, when an international student wants or needs a job, whether to pay for rent, tuition, food or just to save for the future, they can only take school- sponsored, on-campus jobs.

This becomes an issue each year when the on-campus job positions are posted and a thousand international students try to fill the positions. According to SCC’s HR department, there are 100 international students who are currently working at SCC. With so few positions available and so many students competing for them, many international students don’t think they would be qualified over so many other candidates.

“If you’re not good at English and your job is speaking in English at the front desk … (getting the job) is harder,” said Yin Liu, an international student from China. She explained that she wanted to work on campus, but many of the positions require the applicants to be fluent in English, which creates a barrier for non-native English speakers.

Not everyone thinks the campus jobs are unfair. Thania Winanta, an international student from Indonesia said, “The idea that people think that (the jobs are) designated for local students is definitely untrue. … When ASG posts job opportunities, they post (them) in such a public forum where local students and international students can (see them) at the same time.”

Kum Ho Chuen, an international student from Hong Kong, has a different perspective.

“I actually think that we have more employment opportunities (than) the local students on campus because this is a pretty international college,” he said.

Chuen pointed out that the Peer Activity Leaders, International Peer Mentors and the Student Leadership Center workers are mostly international students, which, to him, shows that SCC offers plenty of job opportunities to both international students and local students.

Despite many perspectives regarding the job opportunities for international students, many still see it as an ongoing problem that international students receive so few job opportunities due to their visa requirements. The number of international students working on campus is roughly equal to the number of domestic students, who can also take jobs off campus.

Work-study also extends the number of local students’ chance to work on campus. Most departments on campus prefer to hire work- study because the student salaries don’t come out of their budgets. Meanwhile, international students can’t receive work-study, or any other kind of financial aid.

The barriers that exist for international students are often overlooked because people assume that they are wealthier than they actually are. The truth is, in many cases, international students have to find work to support their lives and education in the States. But for them, it’s much more difficult than it is for domestic students.