It is common for students in Germany to work in their free time. Even if it is not that easy, it is possible to at least partly finance your studies with the help of part time or student jobs in Germany. Regularly, students are allowed to work max. 20 hours per week during their studies session, as studies should remain the main purpose of the stay. If you want to work more hours, for example during your holidays, please contact the Federal employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit) for more information. Students who come from non- EU countries are restricted by a total of 120 full or 240 half days of work per year. Work as a research assistant at the University does not count to these days. Work at the University as a research assistant (Studentische Hilfskraft)
It is common practice that a professor at a German university hires a student for e.g. 6-8 hours a week as a research assistant. The tasks may be to design lecture materials or to collect information about a special topic for example. At the web page of your university you will find the information about the current vacancies for sure. You can also simply approach the professor if you want to work under him. The work at the University can be done in addition to the officially allowed days for work per year. So take the hint and try it 😉
Minimum wage in Germany is 8,50 Euros per hour. If you earn under 450 Euros you don’t pay taxes. If you go over 450 Euros then the wage tax (Lohnsteuer) will be deducted, but you will get this money at the end of the year when you apply for tax return (Steuererklärung). The procedure is not complicated. Contact finance office (Finanzamt) of your city for this.
Typical part time jobs include waiters, industrial production assistants, baby sitters, shop assistants etc.
Part time jobs is the best opportunity to learn German and integrate in the German culture. The command over German language improves your chances to find a job. It is important to speak German for the kind of jobs where you have contacts with the people/guests you need to serve. In the IT-field or in big international companies it might be possible to get a student job with good English knowledge only.
Where and how to find a job
Ask your friends for a job possibility. Networking is very important at this point. If you were suggested by your friend for a vacancy, it might be easier for you to get this job. Be active and take initiative. Tell as many people as possible that you are looking for a job. You can go to the stores and ask directly whether they have open vacancies. Be attentive, in the city centre you may find job advertising at the entrances to the shops. Find the companies operating around your place of studying and check on their websites for vacancies. It is always good to find a job in the same field of your studies. It also looks great in your CV and makes job application after your studies easier. Lots of students (not all) get their full time Jobs in the companies where they worked as part time students before.
If you search for a student job please check the following websites:
How to apply
There are different ways to apply. In most cases you need to make a CV, but not longer than two pages and send it mostly via email to the employers. It is impressive if your CV is in German. Ask a German friend for help. It is advisable to call the employer before you apply to the company. Additionally, some employers expect certificates that prove your abilities and skills.
Possibility to learn German before your studies begin
If you plan your stay in Germany and you and you have some time before your course starts you can apply for an Au-Pair programme from your home country. Within this programme you stay for one year with a German family, take care of their children and probably help around in the house. During this time you don’t have any expenditures for accommodation or food as your guest family pays for it and you get some pocket money for your job. This way you get one-year time to look around, better plan your further studies, make contacts and improve your German. Sometimes the family also pays for your German courses in a language school. Google for Au-Pair programmes and agencies for information about where and how to apply. Keep in mind that you would need basic knowledge in German to work as Au-Pair.
Following are the living costs of a student who studied in Bielefeld per month:
- 167 € 9m2 room in a 5- student flat share (cheapest option)
- 85 € Health Insurance (Above 30 yrs of age you pay 170€
- 200€ Food (Aldi-cheaper supermarket)
- 50 € Saving for tuition fees
- 50 € Clothes