by Anthony Bianco
University is finished for the year and you have a couple of months to keep yourself occupied if you’re not planning to go back to your home country for the break.
Summer in Australia provides a number of seasonal work opportunities that you can take advantage of to build up a ‘buffer of funds’ for your next study year. It’s a great opportunity to earn sum extra cash as your student visa allows you to work as much as you want when your course is out of session!
There is always the casual work we talked about in our article about the Best Jobs for International Students in Australia. This included work such as supermarkets, call centres and hospitality jobs.
But let’s look at some other options that you can explore during the Australian summer period at the same time as your study break– which occurs approximately around December to February.
Australia has a well-established temporary and seasonal employment market that provides short term employment opportunities during the summer break for international students.
Throughout the Christmas and New Year period, retailers often require staff to keep up with the increased demand of retail spending. Large shopping centres such as Westfield extend their opening hours in the lead up to Christmas, with some being open for all night shopping on the weekend before the big day.
If you work on one of the public holidays, this pays a higher rate than other days. Department stores and other smaller retailers selling goods advertise for short term casual work over the summer break to help out with the rise in foot traffic – including the Boxing Day sales which occur after Christmas. Make sure you have your resume ready to bring into the store.
Plus there are numerous ‘gig economy’ (temporary contract) roles going in fast food establishments, as well as food delivery jobs.
Once side effect of increased retail spending towards Christmas time is that Australia Post becomes very busy with sorting out all of the letters, Christmas Cards, and presents being sent all around the country and overseas. Australia Post advertise for casual mail sorters and delivery people around this period, so it’s worth looking out for temporary work around the ‘silly season’.
Summer in Australia also means holidays – people from within Australia and overseas are travelling which creates extra opportunities for short term work - especially in regions popular with tourists. Typical work includes bartending, baristas, and customer service roles in hotels, bars and nightclubs.
You may be lucky enough to gain temporary employment with a vacation student program in your chosen field of study. For example, some mining companies hire student engineers and scientists during the break, both in remote areas and in corporate offices.
This is a great opportunity to gain some practical, real life skills during your studies that will support your employment prospects in the future. Programs are advertised on relevant job and company sites and university job boards throughout the year. There is usually a high demand for these vacation student programs, so be quick to apply if you come across an opportunity.
Food production occurs throughout the year in Australia, but there are always summer crops that require seasonal harvesting. For example, there are mangos in northern Australia, cotton in central and southern Queensland, and grapes in Western Australia.
Since Australia covers a range of climates, summer harvest crops vary across the country. Food harvesting gives you an opportunity to explore other parts of Australia that are outside of your university’s town or city.
To find out what’s in season and when, you can find out more at the Australian Government’s National Harvest Guide.
Depending on what is seasonal, seafood such as prawns, crabs and table fish do have limited commercial fishing periods around Australia. You might be able to land work as a deckhand or have the chance to reel in some seafood yourself!
This might literally involve turning up to a wharf at main fishing ports like Cairns in Queensland and asking to see what’s going. The work might be physical and challenging, but most likely unforgettable!
Just remember that your 500 Student visa conditions state that you can work for a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight when your course is in session throughout the semester and examination periods, and unlimited hours when your course is out of session. Which means that during the summer break, you can work as much as you want to!
Just keep an eye on the job search sites to see what work is available out there for you! Do your research on what is available, and your summer break employment might be one of the best things you will experience in Australia.