I'm back with "Study Abroad Germany" tips! This post is all about money. The cost of studying in Germany is cheaper than in other western European countries because you can study for free and the basic groceries are more affordable than in neighboring countries. I mean, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
That being said, studying in Germany is not “cheap,” and there are smart ways to make some money. In this post, I’ll talk about 5 tips for earning income in Germany as a student.
5 Tips -Making Money While Studying Abroad In Germany
Study Abroad Tip #1: Scholarship
First, even before you move to Germany, you can look into the German government scholarships such as the DAAD scholarship. This requires a little bit of planning because you have to apply a year ahead most of the time and go for an interview. However, it can help a lot since it not only pays monthly allowances but also rent subsidy, language preparation allowances, etc.
*Important: There are also smaller scholarships from political parties and organizations so make sure to check each of them out!
Study Abroad Tip #2: Praktikum
Next, doing an internship (Praktikum) is a great way to make money while gaining some relevant work experience that can set you up for success when you graduate and enter the job market. Internships don’t start at a certain time of the year and the length also depends on what you and your employer need (this is so different from Canada where internships are more structured!!) These are usually full-time, so some students take a break from their school for a semester while others make use of short spring or summer breaks in between semesters.
If you are wondering if the job you’ve been eyeing for is actually worth applying for, you can go to Kununu to check what previous employees are saying about the companies.
If you’re surprised at how little internships are paid in Germany, yes, I’ve been there too. It’s shocking! If an internship is between 1 – 3 months, there is no minimum wage whereas if it's longer than 3 months, the minimum wage applies. There are some special internship opportunities that pay almost little to nothing and these are usually “mandatory internships’(Pflichtpraktikum)” as part of university curricula. Unless your university is asking for this, you should look for non-mandatory internships. Job postings will tell you whether it is a Pflichtpraktikum or not.
Study Abroad Tip #3: Werkstudent
If internships are not something you want to do because of the low wage (per hour), you can look into a working student role (Werkstudent). Working student roles pay better but you work only part-time alongside your studies. You are allowed to work up to 20 hrs (if you go above this, you have to pay for more insurance because you are not covered by the student insurance anymore), but you have to pay very little taxes (somewhere between 50-100 Euros).
But the good thing is that during your spring or summer break, you can work up to 40 hours and still earn the Werkstudent wage (earning almost as double as what a Praktikum would earn working full-time).
Study Abroad Tip #4: Working Part-time at School
I’ve seen some students working at universities helping professors with their teaching and/or research. These jobs are usually quite flexible and are posted on the school website, Facebook, Instagram page, etc. Depending on your field of studies, you can apply to help with the university’s IT services, science labs, teachings (tutorials), and many more.
Study Abroad Tip #5: Teaching languages online
Lastly, you can make money teaching your native language online. The internet has made it so easy for us to reach people all over the world. Although your mother tongue comes so naturally to you, there might be people who are dying to learn the language at an affordable price. I’ve hired an international student from France to help me with my French, and I’ve taught both English and Korean online previously, so I know there is demand for sure!
I hope my 5 tips for making money while studying abroad in Germany was helpful for you. I previously wrote a blog post about general advice (11 things I wish I knew before starting my studies in Germany) so make sure to check it out here.