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Part-time job: Earning money during your studies

There are many possibilities to earn money during your studies. You can find job ads on the “Schwarzes Brett” (notice board) on campus or on your university’s website. Knowing German can significantly increase your chances of finding a part-time job. Make sure to comply with the legal regulations stipulating how much you’re allowed to work.

by the Editors

Student drawing beer © Wenzel/DAAD
Student drawing beer . © Wenzel/DAAD

An ideal way to supplement your studies is to take a job at an institute, library or other facility at your university. Waiting on tables in cafés and pubs is a typical student job. Other students accompany visitors at trade fairs, work as delivery drivers or cycle couriers, or take on odd jobs cleaning, babysitting, working in copy shops, etc. Your chances at finding a job will increase significantly if you know how to speak German.

As you begin looking for a job, check out the “Schwarze Bretter” which are large notice boards with lots of information, centrally located at the university, libraries or supermarkets. There are job-finding services for students at many universities as well. For more information, contact your Studentenwerk or the Federal Employment Agency in your city.

Student at a copier © DAAD
Student at a copier . © DAAD

How much you earn in a part-time job largely depends on your prior knowledge, the region and the branch, in which you’d like to work. In larger, more expensive cities like Munich, Hamburg or Cologne, you can earn more money, but you also have to pay more for rent and food. While cashiers in the supermarket or at fast-food restaurants earn around six euros per hour, you can make up to ten euros per hour working in an office or as promoter. Whatever you decide to do, remember that it’s almost impossible to earn your living with a part-time job during your studies!

Legal regulations

There are legal regulations which stipulate how long international students like yourself are allowed to work. The rules vary depending on your country of origin.

1. If you come from one of the following countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain or the United Kingdom

►You are allowed to work as much as you wish without a work permit. However, like German students, the amount may not exceed 20 hours per week. Otherwise, you are required to pay into the German social security system.

Student is refilling beverages © DAAD
Student is refilling beverages . © DAAD

2. If you come from a different country

►Then you may work 120 full days or 240 half days per year. If you take a job as a student assistant or research assistant at the university, it’s usually no problem to exceed the 120-day limit. However, you are obliged to inform the Alien Registration Office if you do.

The employment laws pertaining to international students are very stringent. If you violate them, you could be expelled from the country!

Mandatory internships

If you complete an internship during the semester break, it’s considered “normal” work – even if it’s unpaid. Every day of your internship is subtracted from your 120-day credit balance. However, an internship is not regarded as regular employment if it is required by your degree programme (mandatory internship).