A diary study examining how international students juggle university study and part-time work commitments

Mr Jacky Zhang

1Southern Cross University, Bilinga, Australia

Australian universities have experienced a rapid growth in international student numbers since the late 1990s and there are currently more than 300,000 international students enrolled in Australian universities. Education to international students is now the country’s third largest export industry and its leading service export. With increasing tuition fees and living costs and a changing global financial environment, more and more international students are engaging in part-time work while on a student visa. There is a growing body of literature on work-study balance amongst university students, but there is a gap in the literature on the challenges international students face as they attempt to juggle work and study in Australia. This exploratory study employs a 7 day diary method to obtain data from international students at three Australian universities. The method involves two online questionnaires that students are asked to complete at the beginning and end of the study. Students are also required to complete an online daily survey for seven consecutive days leading up to an assignment due date. The aim of the study is to recruit around 200 international students,  identify the challenges they face and the strategies they employ to help manage their work and study and provide recommendations to universities on how best to support international students so they can achieve optimal academic success while engaged in part-time work.


Jacky is the International Student Support Manager at Southern Cross Univesity. He is completing his Psychology Honours research on Managing work-study balance for international students.

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