Hardly any student can finance the study or life around without side jobs in Germany. About 68% of the students work alongside their studies. It’s all about financing your own livelihood or being able to afford something – the work experience usually comes second. And, student jobs can pay off! 41% of students earning an average monthly salary between € 250 and € 500. As a student, you have different ways to earn money. Either you work for a company or independently.
Students from the European Union / European Economic Area
Students from the EU/EEA (as well as students from Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland) have the same entitlement as German students and free access to the German job market. You can work up to 20 hours per week while studying. If you exceed this, you’ll be required to pay into the German social security system, and there could be a negative impact on your studies.
Students from outside the EU/EEA
Non-EU/EEA students are also able to work in Germany alongside their studies, for 120 full days or 240 half days per year. If you take a job as a student assistant or research assistant at the university, this is usually not counted in your limit. However, you must notify the Alien Registration Office if you take up this type of work.
If you take an internship during your semester break, this is regarded as normal work, even if it’s unpaid. This means that every day of your internship is subtracted from your 120-day credit balance. However, mandatory internships which are required for your course do not count towards your limit.
An exception is working as an academic assistant. There is no limit to how many days academic assistants may work. They still have to inform the foreigners’ office however. If you are uncertain what category a job falls into, you should seek advice from student services or the International Office.
Benefits of working as a student
The extra cash from part-time work lets you cover the cost of living more comfortably, sometimes even leaving a little aside for fun.
Students who earn their own money tend to spend it wisely. Part-time jobs are often tough, and hard-earned money can be painful to part with. In short, students are more likely to save their money for necessities, such as text books and rent.
Students with jobs have little free time. This predisposes them to become more organised and better planners, learning to weigh their priorities in order to meet deadlines. Effective time management benefits both your studies and life after university. You will have less time to while away the hours. The combination of studying and a job rather handily means that you will have very little time to get bored.
Use your part-time job to get an introduction to a career or area of interest you hope to go into after university. The experience will help you stand out from the crowd at interview; you can begin networking with others in your chosen field. Forming professional relationships at this early stage will help your chances of gaining employment after graduation. A part-time job can provide you with a skill set much in demand by graduate employers. A common complaint from employers is of a lack of commercial awareness in graduates. As well as the time management skills already mentioned, you’ll be exposed to working in a business environment. This experience which will help you stand out from the crowd when you start applying to full-time positions.
You’ll likely have to work as part of a team, equipping you with the skills needed to work with people of varying personality. This will help you work on group projects at university, as well as being of great benefit through life in general.
In the workplace, things will go wrong. How will you react to the unexpected? Keep a note of problems solved and disasters averted – these sorts of stories are priceless when it comes to interviews and such like.
All of the above, combined with the initiative you’ve shown in working whilst studying, will show employers that you’re ambitious and have an excellent work ethic.