German Educare

Working while studying in Germany as a Malaysian student

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Last updated: Feb 2023

TL;DR: Students can work part-time in Germany, however work for the right reasons and not to cover your living expenses while studying in Germany. Do only work at a capacity that would not affect your studies.

Almost everyone who signed up for a one-to-one consultation with our team will ask us “Can students work part-time in Germany?” Since it’s one of the most frequently asked questions, we plan to answer all of your questions related to “working while studying in Germany as a Malaysian student” in this article. Let’s jump right in.

Are Malaysian students allowed to work part-time in Germany?

Yes! Malaysian students are allowed to work in Germany but up to 120 full days or 240 half days each year and that’s even stated in your student visa.

Can I work part-time if I am on a language course visa?

You are only allowed to work in Germany if you have a valid student visa. You cannot work in Germany on a tourist or language course visa. That means  if you are part of our University Preparation Programme, you are not allowed to work part-time yet. Take that time to focus on polishing your German language, to learn more about German culture, and to settle down. As part of the programme, we will guide you to apply for your student visa after you have decided on which university to further your studies.

What is the minimum wage in Germany?

Starting October 2022, the new minimum wage has increased to €12 from €10.45 per hour.

Are internships counted as working part-time?

If your internship is part of the studies, it will not be counted as working part-time. But if the internship is voluntary, then it is considered as a normal job subjected to the 120-days rule.

What are popular student jobs?

The popular student part-time jobs are tutors in universities, professor assistants, research assistants, or Werkstudent/Werkstudentin (Working Student) whereby students mostly work in companies with tasks given related to their studies. Students could also work in cafes, supermarkets, or bakeries! 

Here are some examples of what our students are working as:

Intern

Internships are usually mandatory as it is part of the syllabus in most of the courses in Germany. Although it’s part of their studies in Germany, students are expected to apply for the internships either at the institutions or companies on their own. Companies are likely to offer interns an allowance of 700 monthly or more. That means that during their internship, you as a student will have enough allowance for your living expenses. You can even  intern at a company in a different city so that you can explore different parts of Germany.

One tip, try to intern at a company which you plan to work for after you graduate so that you have the opportunity to leave a good impression and get connected to the team. Second tip, do send out more applications so that your chance of getting an offer is higher. Students may also approach the international office or professors in the universities to seek support in the application. Very common, German universities as well as the professors there are well connected with the industry, especially in the region. They might be able to help link students to some companies they are connected with.

Tutor

If you are exceptionally good at a particular subject, you have  the chance to work as a tutor on campus.

Research assistant

Students who are more passionate about lab work can assist their professors or PhD students with research work. You can be a research assistant on campus or even with a research institute. You might not necessarily find a job offer as a research assistant but do ask your professor if there’s an opportunity.

Working student

A working student is a term for students who work part-time in companies or institutions while they are studying. The term is usually reserved for students who work mid to long term at a company which is related to his/her studies. One way to get a working student job is by interning at a company and then continuing working on the project even after completing  the mandatory duration of your internship or just applying directly to the companies, there are usually positions for Werkstudent being listed on the companies websites.

If I work on campus, does the 120-day rule apply to me?

If you work on-campus, for example as a student assistant, librarian or as a tutor, you can work more than 120-days. However, you will need to inform the Ausländerbehörde (Alien Registration Office) first. Furthermore, you might need to pay tax once you earn above a certain amount.

Can I be self-employed or get a freelance job in Germany?

Non-EU students are unfortunately not allowed to be self-employed or freelance in Germany. You risk losing your study visa so it’s not worth the risk for some allowance.

When are the best times to work in Germany?

We recommend that students focus on their studies when they are new in Germany so that they have more time to settle down and to get used to their new lifestyle. That  means you are recommended to start working during your second or even third semester. By then, you can even apply for part-time jobs which are related to your studies. Not only can you earn more, you can put into practice what you have learnt during your lectures.

Furthermore, you will have a long summer break which can be up to two months! You can look for a summer job, work for a month before travelling back home to visit your family or use the allowance to travel around Europe.

Do you recommend that students work part-time?

Yes, as long as you can continue to do well in your studies, you can work part-time to earn extra allowance.

We also recommend students to work part-time as a motivation for them to practise their German. This also provides opportunities for students to make friends outside of their university circle and learn about the working culture of working in German companies.

If you’re studying engineering, it’s possible to start working part-time at engineering companies from the third semester. Not only will you earn a better allowance working there, you could put into practice the theory which you learnt during  your lectures. You will also get to explore the working culture of that particular company and leave a good impression on your manager. Who knows, he might offer you a job when you graduate.

Last but not least, and this is one of our favourite experiences of studying in Germany, is to have enough money to travel around Europe. International students in Germany with a valid student visa can travel to other Schengen countries without needing to apply for additional visas. You can travel on a shoestring budget if you look out for good deals on flight and accommodation. What more, you can visit some of the tourist attractions for free with your student card.

To recap, do work part-time to:

  • Practise your German language
  • Socialise and network with people from different backgrounds
  • Gain experience in the field you’re studying
  • Explore the company’s working culture
  • Give employers a chance to know you better
  • Earn extra allowance to travel and explore Europe (and even the world)

With so many options available, should I work on or off campus?

There are pros and cons to both working part-time on and off campus. Here are some potential differences to consider:

Location

Working part-time on campus can be convenient if you have classes or other commitments on campus. It can save you time and money on transportation. Working at a company off campus usually means you will need to travel to the workplace, which could involve additional time and cost.

Pay

This is quite straightforward. Different part-time jobs pay differently but the good news is that the minimum wage in Germany is quite reasonable at €12 per hour.

Job Scope

You might be able to have a better relationship with your professor if you work on campus but working part-time at a company will allow you to gain valuable experience which will help you when you are applying for your full-time job.

Experience

Both jobs on campus and at companies can be related to your studies. You will want to find a job which helps your studies or your career, and with decent pay.

Where can you search for a job?

There are numerous ways to search, but the easiest way would be:

Job portals

There are several job portals in Germany that list part-time jobs specifically for students. Some popular ones include:

eBay

University job boards and career centres

Many universities in Germany have their own job boards or career centres where students can find part-time job opportunities. It is worth checking with your university to see what positions are being offered.

Social media

Some students have had success finding part-time jobs by networking and connecting with potential employers on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Xing, and Facebook. Xing is popular in Germany so it’s worth checking out.

Words of mouth and network

If you are part of our student community in Germany, do look out for job opportunities which are posted in the group chat. Even if there are no active offers, you can ask anyway and the community will keep an eye out for you. One good place to start is the German Educare’s community chat groups.

Are there jobs for English-speaking students in Germany?

Yes. If you do not know much German, you will have better luck in bigger cities like Berlin and Munich. English is more commonly spoken there which makes it easier to find English-speaking jobs. We feel that it’s still very limiting and you should consider learning German if you decide to study in Germany.

We hope that we managed to answer all of your questions related to working part-time in Germany. Going back to the original question “Can students work part-time in Germany?”, the answer is yes. Do however work part-time for the right reasons and at a capacity that would not affect your studies. And if you need help looking for a part-time job, internship or full-time jobs in Germany, you can chat with us if you need help.

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