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Sabtu, 16 Februari 2019

Working Part-Time in Germany


Hello everyone!

Before writing about the theme, I'd like to thank you all for reading my blog! I received a lot of emails every month, especially during RWTH registration time. As a person who wrote a blog for fun and only to share experience, I am very touched and happy to know that some people are feeling motivated by reading my posts :) Thank you!!!!

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After posting a poll on Instagram, most people voted that I should write about my study/work experience in Germany, so here it is! This time it'll be in English so everyone can understand it. I apologise in advance for any typo/grammar mistakes.


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I'd say Germany is a pretty affordable country to study since most of the Bundesland don't charge their students for an educational fee, which to be honest, could be pretty expensive in other countries. Instead, at least here in RWTH Aachen, we paid around 260€/semester for our transportation, social fee, and so on. The only financial needed before coming to Germany (for those without any scholarship) is the 8640€ blocked account by one of the banks -- which is a lot compared on Indonesians average income, but any other way would be a little difficult. I knew some people who postponed their study here in Aachen to save up some money, but hey, they are here now!

I came to Germany with #ModalNekat (I don't know how to say in English, but it's kinda I flew here with guts and not put very much details of my financial future), but I already set my mind to try to find work as soon as possible. When I still lived in Königswinter during my first semester, I did apply for a few labour work such as working in a hotel or bakery and got some calls for the interview, little did I know back then that I had to have my residence permit in hand before starting to work (I thought my visa would do) so I had to cancel the interview. Better to have some patient rather than working illegally and being deported back!

And since I only lived for a semester in Königswinter, I thought it would be wise to wait for a little bit to find a job when I already moved to Aachen. So when I moved into the new (well now not so new anymore :p) city and settled it, and by seeing my friends getting jobs as well, I was on fire to find something! With the help of google and linkedIn, the first job I applied for was to help the Admin team of one company (let's named it company A). Although I have my Bachelor in Informatics, honestly I didn't have the confidence to code (haha), that was why I was trying to find other jobs but programmer :) I also applied to be a student worker at company B, and those two were the only job I applied so far!

A rejection letter came from company B about a few weeks after I submitted my application. I was upset and sad, of course, since I thought that job was really for me - but in the other hand, I could also understand since most of the jobs need a very good level of German, and my German level was somewhere in intermediate :)

But then, good news from company A, they invited me to an interview, and they even asked me whether I was interested in another student worker position which was more related to computer science. After setting up a schedule for the interview, I couldn't lie but feel that I was pretty nervous. The only interview I had was shortly before I graduated Bachelor, and I didn't get accepted as well -- what if the same thing happened this time? But then my friends told me that they even applied for 30-40 jobs before they got accepted, and honestly, that gave me a boost of confidence. If this one was a fail, then at least it would be an experience for the next one!

Short story, the interview went pretty well (and the office was really cool ;) at least with the free coffee!!!!) and they said they would give be news in two weeks. I didn't apply for other part-time jobs and patiently (well, sent two follow-up emails) waiting before I got the reply back that I got accepted! I was sooo happy since this would be my first paid part-time job here in Germany! In Indonesia, I worked as a teaching assistant and English-tutor for students in middle/high school, but this time it would be something different because the regulation was also different (and tbh, it's Germany, if you know what I meant ;))

As students in Germany, during Uni-time, we are, by law, allowed to work max 20 hours per week (Germans or non-Germans). But when it's holiday time, working is allowed up to 40 hours a week. And especially for those who hold Student Visa, we are not allowed to work more than 120 full-days or 240 half-days a year, so you really have to count your days not to cross it! Important enough to know, mandatory internship from Internship will not be counted in this limited working days, but not mandatory internship will do! So if your course of study didn't oblige you to take one but you want to do an internship (it's very good for experience), just make sure you plan ahead (financially and timely). My suggestion if you want to take 6 months internship is to do it in the Winter Semester since you'll only use 3 months of one year, and 3 months in the year after :)

I got lucky because the working time for me is flexible. In some company, they have set the weekly working hours, but in the company I am working part-time, I can work up to 19.5 hours per week, and I can set my own schedule. Some people found this as a disadvantage since they want to have a fixed income, but for me who was pretty busy that time after moving to Aachen, this was a good opportunity to measure myself about how I can handle work, especially since this was my first time. And since it was a flexible time, I could take as much holiday as I want, but in the other hand, I wouldn't get paid for not working. In some other companies, e.g. the company my flatmate was working, student workers also got an equal amount of 6 weeks of holidays (e.g, if they work only 2 days/week, then they will get 12 days of holidays!) At the beginning I worked normally 10 hours a week, but starting May last year (after coming back for 6 weeks holiday in Indonesia haha), I decided to work more since I need extra money and I have lots of time (I didn't take any class that time hahaha).

What I like the most in working this particular job was that I could use my ability in speaking different languages ;) I have never thought that being able to speak 4 languages, understand (basic level) 6 and can read/write 8 can be used to do something useful and not only for fun! I still remember some of their reaction, e.g. "Wait, you can speak Korean?" "What, you can read and write Arabic???"

Last day of work as student worker T.T
When exchanging stories with other Indonesian students, I was really amazed that they were working in a factory during the holiday! (Most of them were freshly graduated from high school or bachelor students). I admired their guts and spirit to try to stand on by their own feet at a young age :) (If I remember my self, I was pretty spoiled when I was 18 years old hahaha). I had an Indonesian flatmate who was 5 years younger than me, and she woke up early in the morning to get work at a factory (like, around 3am in the morning), and came back looking pretty tired. So if you were reading this and you did that job, four thumbs up for you!!!!!

I believe everyone has different experiences working part-time here in Germany (or in Aachen), but I still couldn't be grateful of how this job has helped me to start earning money by my own and in the end, stopped asking my parents for emergency money. The wage from each company differs, but after talking with some other students, I could say the average was about 10-11€/hour (brutto), and if you can code, it should start at 12€/hour. The highest wage I have heard for HiWi was 17€/hour and that is not in NRW (seriously, I was surprised). But I'd suggest working something that you like (if you can get one) because I do believe you can do a good job if you like the job and not because how much you earn (but on the other hand, don't get underpaid as well:)). And don't forget to balance your study and working time well!

I probably have something more to write, but I will do it when I remember them.

So far, I hope this "short" story can somewhat be useful to you! I hope more story to come in the future ;)

Best regards and have a nice weekend!

p.s: some pics ;)

Dinner at my place with coworkers who turns to be my best friends! :D

Trip to Paris June 2018

my favourite intern :p 
A girls-evening-out after work :D

First business trip to Stuttgart (plus introductory week of
what I should do, that's why he was also on the trip!)


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