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Study abroad: How to find a job while you're in Germany

Last updated on: December 16, 2013 09:32 IST

Study abroad: How to find a job while you're in Germany

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Linda Lounder, Careers360

Linda Lounder, a student based in Germany writes about the opportunities international students can explore in the country and offers advice on how it'll help them meet new people, learn new skills and even make some quick money.

The majority of students in Germany, as in any other country, feel the need to work and earn some money on the side.

In order to pursue their studies, which is of course a priority, students tend to hunt for part-time jobs in Germany or mini jobs as they call them in this country.

Living in Germany is orderly and dynamic; the living costs vary depending on the region, yet to survive on your paycheck is definitely not easy.

Terms and Conditions

In order to get a part time job for students in Germany, there are several bureaucratic procedures one needs to follow.

First things first, depending on your home country there are restrictions that impede you from working in the country or ask for a special permission.

While the citizens of the countries of the EU or EEA are prone to work while study in Germany without any allowance from the state, no residency or work permit needed.

The citizens of the underdeveloped countries struggling to get in the EU don't cherish the same fate; they need to get a student visa, the residency permit and a document that allows them to work according to several fixed conditions.

Limitations apply to the working hours as well as the freelance possibility which, no doubt, makes for the best part time work for students in Germany.

As for the salary, in order to avoid pension contributions and health insurance contributions which are half paid by your company and the other half comes out of your pocket, these part time jobs in Germany referred to as mini job mostly pay fewer than 400 Euros monthly. This way, you don't pay any taxes, yet it’s too little to be funding your studies on your own.

Students after getting their first job in Germany are obliged to obtain the Social Security Card that provides the Social Security No.

The social security card should be applied for by the first employer and it is valid for a lifetime.

The labour laws pertaining to international students are very restrictive, and if you break them, you risk being expelled from the country.

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Image: For representational purposes only
Photographs: Reuters

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Apart from earning a few extra Euros to alleviate your financial situation, work while study in Germany is a great way to meet new people and make friends, or it might also be the starting point of a new career.

Language can sometimes be a barrier.

Some jobs require excellent knowledge of German language, some might require the skills to orient yourself and others might just hire you for your English or any other native language you speak.

Remember, with all the international companies in this country the possibilities to use your own language as a benefit is not so ludicrous. Asian languages are particularly desirable.

Classic jobs

The usual part time job for students in Germany are waiting, au-pairing and babysitting.

Working at a bar, cafe or club is more fun than money; it's a great opportunity to socialise and relax after long hours at the university. However, having to work at night means less sleep, which means less productivity the next day.

Tips are worth the while, though, especially if it's during the weekends.

Au pairing is an excellent part time work for students in Germany which provides opportunity to save some money on accommodation since you usually stay with the hosts and maybe even get to have a free meal.

The down side of it is that you will have to work crazy long hours; there is no room for privacy and free time to entertain yourself.

Other part time jobs in Germany include delivery drivers, cycle couriers, hosting at different cultural events and fairs or working at bookshops or music shops. Call centers are also becoming famous in this era of globalisation.

A lot of international students in Germany choose to tutor English in children camps during the summer. Some even make a daily job out of it, during the whole year.

University jobs

If you choose to work in the University where you study, the "statute of limitations" for the citizen of non EU countries smoothens up a bit, by allowing them to work more hours per week and to earn more than 400 Euros and avoid the taxes.

Universities offer a wide range of working opportunities for students in need of extra cash.

The hours are flexible and you will always be near the classes you've signed up for.

It is a perfect first job that will stand out on your resume, and a possibility to be upgraded once you graduate.

Internships jobs

Internships are regarded as regular employment. Therefore whether you choose to spend your legal working days during the summer or along the whole year it’s up to you.

Do not be under the false impression that the internship you've signed up for is a great step up in your career and the university will praise it.

Also, don't assume that once you've completed the number of hours, you can continue working on something else to gain money.

Even if the internship is not paid at all, as many are in Germany, the hours count as a normal employment, therefore days to work while study in Germany are over.

It's not work, if it involves a so-called compulsory internship as specified in your study regulations.


Image: For representational purposes only
Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters

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