March 1, 2024

Paid and voluntary work during study stays

Paid and voluntary work during study stays
Deni Isic

Study books ... and cold beers, colorful drinks, delicious restaurant visits and wonderful weekend getaways. All of which is something that costs money - and it is not always that the SU is enough. And who does not want to have a little extra fun during their study stay abroad? Therefore, it may be necessary and beneficial to get a job. But how is the legislation around this abroad? And the working conditions? And what about volunteering? All of which you will find answers to in this blog post.

Whether the work abroad is professionally relevant or not, it shows that you have a fair share of guts for future managers . It can also be the start of an international network that gives you even more experiences to take home in your backpack. In most places abroad, you have a few short days at the studio and even often a few days off during the week, which gives you ample opportunity to spend a few hours on either paid or volunteer work.

May I work paid in all countries - and how many hours a week?

There are different laws in this area depending on the country. Most often, the rules are based on the specific rules of the study visa you hold for the country in question. In all EU countries , as a general rule, you must have a work alongside the study, here the same rules apply as in Denmark. As a general rule, there is not a maximum of hours that you may work next to the studio. Please note, however, that if you have to work in your country of study, you must also register with the health insurance in that country, which means that you must have a new EU health insurance card issued by your country of study. Here, it is not enough with the well-known blue EU health insurance card, which only covers if you do not take a paid job in the country of study. However, you are welcome to work voluntarily.

If you are a student in either Australia, New Zealand or Canada and want to work alongside of the study, you must apply for a work permit, which costs between 200-300 DKK. Once you have this approved, you have the opportunity to work up to 20 hours a week and unlimited during the holidays.

Are you moving instead to Asian countries such as Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea it can be a bit more difficult to get a work permit, and most often this is also not recommended due to the low wages and the sometimes poor working conditions.

And what about USA? As a rule, it is not legal to work in the country for international students, although in some states it is allowed to take paid work on campus at the particular university you are studying at in the USA.

NOTE. The rules can change all the time - book a meeting with us or contact the Ministry of Education and Research for updated information.

What about volunteering?

Volunteering is incredibly rewarding - both for you and those you help. There is all kinds of voluntary work that you can get involved with, for example in teaching, organizational work, sports clubs, animals and the environment, health and care and much much more - it is only the imagination that sets limits. Through volunteer work, you also get much closer to the natives, and get to know the culture even better.

There are various Danish sites that can help you in volunteer work, including the ministry's own website Grib Verden  and the European Solidarity Corps . However, these sites are often dedicated to full-time volunteer work (between 30-38 hours per week), which often does not go hand in hand with a study stay. So the best advice from here is to be outreach and take around the different places that you find interesting and offer your help. You are guaranteed to always be greeted with a smile and great gratitude. So just throw yourself into it!

In relation to paid work, the majority of countries do not have the same legislation in this area either. And you can easily start volunteering quickly without various rules and laws, and maybe you can even try a little different? Below you will find some good suggestions for volunteer work in relation to which country you are in.


In Australia there is a good opportunity to get a volunteer job in the service industry, possibly as a bartender by the beach? Many also choose to work on farms, which are very popular in the country. In addition, one possibility could also be to work with beautiful wild dolphins or in zoos, which must seem like a real dream job. Here you get really much closer to the Australian nature and culture.



In Europe, there are also streaks of opportunities for volunteering. You can either take a voluntary job within your field of study or choose based on other interests. Most organizations will be happy to have a foreign employee who can give a fresh breath to the organization.

Costa Rica

If you are a student in Costa Rica, you can during your weekends or holidays take away from the big city, and work as a volunteer with the protection of Costa Rica's unique marine areas and rainforests. In this way, you also get to see both parts of the country, and help to make a big difference for nature and the locals.



In Malaysia, the opportunities for volunteering are also many. You can work in palm plantations, help in organizations for endangered species or lend a hand with the teaching of school children, as they usually always lack English-speaking teachers.

United States

As big as the United States is, there are just as many opportunities for volunteer work. Whether it's on a ranch in Colorado, environmental work in California or a Big Cat Rescue in Florida.

There is thus ample opportunity to also get a good portion of work experience (regardless of whether it is paid or not) with home in the luggage after completing a study stay abroad. And more importantly, you get to know your country of study much better, and get your network expanded significantly.

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