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What Are Survival Jobs: Navigating Your Path in Vancouver

Updated: Feb 23



You have an exciting path ahead of you as an international student in Vancouver. However, one issue that many of you might experience is the need for survival jobs to cover your expenses. But what exactly are these jobs, and how can they impact your life in Vancouver?


Survival Jobs Explained


Survival jobs, often known as "survival gigs" or "side hustles," are temporary or part-time employment that pays by the hour and assists you in meeting your basic living costs while studying abroad. These types of jobs provide a safety net for your finances, allowing you to cover expenses like rent, food, transportation, and other needs.


The Impact of  Survival Jobs


Although these job opportunities will not be your dream job, they can help you get better jobs in the future. Here you have three benefits of survival jobs:


  • Financial Independence: Working a survival job might keep you afloat while you study, and while you wait to be able to actually work full-time! Plus, these jobs are usually easier to get than a professional job, so it’s something you could do just while you get that job you truly want. Important: make sure they pay you at least minimum wage. This is currently $16.75 /hour in British Columbia.

  • Skill Development: Even if they aren't directly relevant to your subject of study, many survival occupations offer valuable experiences and abilities that can improve your resume.

  • Cultural immersion (A.K.A Canadian Work Experience): Interacting with Canadians at work or working in local businesses will help you learn more about their ways and improve your language abilities. Therefore, granting you the opportunity to add to your resume the so much needed “Canadian Work Experience” that most Canadian employers ask for.


Now that you are aware of what are survival jobs and the ways they can contribute to your development, let’s look at the 4 most common gigs you can find in Vancouver.




4 Most Common Survival Jobs in Vancouver:


  1. Retail and Hospitality: Jobs in stores, eateries, and hotels are frequently available for students in these fields. The best way to apply for these jobs is to walk into a store and ask for the manager or through websites like 86network.

  2. Labor or Babysitting: The old but reliable labor jobs! You would be surprised by how many students start working in construction or babysitting for at least their first weeks in Vancouver. These jobs are easy to get, and there’s always a lot of demand for them. We’ve seen many jobs like these being offered in Facebook groups and Indeed.

  3. Food Delivery: These might not be fancy, but a flexible alternative is to become a food delivery driver for platforms like Uber Eats or DoorDash. And before you think of getting a vehicle, remember you can register to deliver using a bicycle. Go to the platform’s website to find out how you can apply.

  4. Freelancing: This is a great option as well if you have previous experience. You can always work online as a freelance writer, graphic designer, or web developer, just to name a few examples.

While having a survival job is necessary, it's important to try to find a proper balance between your job and school. We’ve seen many students who end up sacrificing school because they are scared of losing their jobs. So, set your studies as a top priority and share your availability and class calendar with your employer. They are used to it and will be flexible if you ask them.


As an international student in Vancouver, survival jobs are an important first step in your path. They not only help you with financial support but also present chances for personal development. Accept these opportunities, keep working toward your educational objectives, and keep in mind that your perseverance and hard work will pave the route to a better future.


Thrivve will keep giving you advice on how to make the most of your time in Vancouver as you start this adventure. Keep checking back for additional advice and motivation as you prosper in this energetic city! But if you prefer receiving updates via email, join our free membership and we’ll let you know every time there’s a new post on our website 🙂. Sign up now!

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